Chauntel Lia February 27, 2021 worksheets
Keeping your kids busy in the winter can be a magic act. There’s only so many times that you can take them to the mall playground before they get a serious attack of the flu because of the coughing kids. So how do you keep them busy while staying in the safety of your own home? Well, if you go into the Online Games section of the Fisher Price websites, they have tons of printable worksheets for you to get your kids and entertain them. The key is to get tons of crayons, and sit with your kids while they color the shapes and talk to them about what it is that they are dong. Talk to them about the colors that they are using, how many sides each shape has, how do you spell the name of the shape, how you spell the name of the color that they are using, etc. The object of the activity is for you to really interact with your child for them to learn their shapes.
Have you ever noticed how many K-12 math content websites are devoted to math worksheets? There seems to be an increase in websites that cater to desperate teachers and parents by offering fast, free ”worksheet generation”, ”10 free fractions worksheets,” etc. Now, as a former teacher I am not saying that one should never use math worksheets; however, I do believe that many teachers are using a very superficial method of instruction that relies too much on low-level math worksheets and hands-off instructional approaches. Worksheet lessons move from reading the directions aloud, to doing sample problems as a group, to completing the worksheet independently (or at home with parents), day in and day out. Teaching needs to be more than passing out worksheets. Whether you are the classroom teacher, instructional specialist, or parent, the methods you use greatly impact the level of understanding achieved by your students.
To summarize: math worksheets don’t teach, teachers teach. Of course, there is a place for math worksheets. After some instruction has occurred, math worksheets can provide extended practice and support development in fluency, provided the teacher is engaged with students as they work. Teachers who are effective at grouping students can use math worksheets as a springboard for discussions, discovery, and communication. So the next time you do a search for curriculum materials, skip the worksheets. Instead, consider resources that provide interactive experiences or consider sites that provide students with challenging problems. These sites will more likely engage students, foster discussion, and build a true understanding of the purpose and joy of learning math. Lauri Susi has over 20 years experience as a classroom teacher in grades pre-k through high school. Throughout most of those years, she taught at the university level as well, and she continues to hold a university post today. Lauri has a masters degree in special education and educational technology. She is an expert in matters involving students with special needs, students who struggle, and the strategic use of technology within school districts. She has co-directed a research project on fractions software for upper-elementary students, and has co-directed the implementation of a large-scale research project on technology to teach math to second grade students. Lauri is an excellent teacher-trainer and consultant to district administrators. She lives in Orlando, Florida.
Another problem with almost all worksheets is that they don’t prevent incorrect answers. Self-checking worksheets just let the student know they did something wrong–after the fact. I am a firm believer in the concept that, if at all possible, learning should be structured in small chunks in such a way that there is very little possibility for error. Worksheets often allow for mistakes to be made and then to be repeated many times. A mistake that gets practiced is extremely difficult to correct. This especially happens when worksheets are used as time fillers or baby sitters and the work isn’t really being supervised. There are some new materials being developed now based on what we are learning about how the brain learns. These brain-friendly materials should be an improvement over what has existed. I recently bought a book by Marcia L. Tate titled ”Mathematics Worksheets Don’t Grow Dendrites.” I highly recommend her book. She gives a great deal of information on alternative activities that are better for your child’s brain development and for learning.
4. Math worksheets are not accessible. Some students are unable to access tools that many of us take for granted when they try to complete worksheets. They may be unable to grasp pencils, control their movements within the limited spaces provided on the sheet, or be able to simply stabilize their paper while writing. Other students, including those for whom English is not their primary language or who struggle with reading, have difficulty reading the directions, words, and math terminology on the worksheets. Still other students require different visual representations or methods of engagement in order acquire an understanding the content. Most math worksheets do not provide information in multiple formats so they are inaccessible to students with a wide variety of learning styles and abilities. Well-designed technology can provide these students with access to excellent content. For example, these fractions tools and supplemental curriculum allow students with physical disabilities to access fractions content using a variety of assistive technology devices. Instructions, prompts and feedback can be read aloud, while visual models, cues combined with sounds support a wide range of learning styles and abilities.
Although preschool workbooks are popular, many parents like the convenience that is associated with printable preschool worksheets. The only problem with printable preschool worksheets is that they can use up a lot ink, especially if the selected preschool worksheets are in colored ink. To save yourself money and printer ink, you may want to search for preschool worksheets that are in black and white. If you are unable to find black and white preschool worksheets that you like, you can still go for the colored ones; however, you may want to consider adjusting your printer settings. Instead of having them print off in colored ink, you may want to adjust your settings to gray scale. This will save you a considerable amount of money and printer ink, especially in the long run. Doing this can also create an additional activity for your child, as you can have them color all the pictures themselves.
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