Odile Marie February 19, 2019 worksheets
If you are looking for printable worksheets for your preschool child, the array of choices can be a little intimidating. You may just be looking for a few pages to keep your child occupied with something more constructive than yet another half hour in front of the TV, or you may feel it’s time you started helping your child learn the basic skills she or he will need for school. Whatever your motivation for looking for worksheets for preschool, there are a few points to consider before you decide which ones you want. 1. Education vs Time Filler. If your goal is to provide learning opportunities for your child, you will want more than a few pictures to color in, although this is an important skill to practice. Between the ages of 3 and 7, the so-called formative years, your child is ready and willing to learn. This is a great time to start introducing the basic skills that your child will use for the rest of their lives such as counting, reading and writing. With your help and supervision, your child can do math worksheets, alphabet worksheets and much more. If education is your goal, you may want a set of worksheets designed to teach your child all of the basic skills they will need for school.
Quality may be a little more expensive, but good worksheets will motivate your child to produce neat work that they can be proud of. If you want to start preparing your child for preschool, kindergarten or even junior school, you need to find preschool worksheets that provide a variety of activities. Literacy, numeracy, reading, writing, drawing, social and natural sciences are some of the areas that children between the ages of 3 and 7 can and should start learning about. Look for variety in the worksheets, as repeating the same exercise over and over will bore your child. Lots of pictures, fun activities and clearly laid out worksheets are what you are looking for. If you’re just looking for a few fun pages to keep the kids busy while you cook dinner, then many of the free printable worksheets available will be suitable.
There are other sources for worksheets also. You can find many public schools and private schools which will provide free worksheets for you if you buy textbooks from the school. Or you can usually find textbooks and workbooks at the public library, where you can also copy any worksheets that you want to use. So what kinds of worksheets should you get? Anything where you feel that your child needs further drill. We often have this notion that worksheets are just for math. This, of course, is not true. While they are excellent tools for reviewing math facts such as the multiplication tables and division facts, they are just as useful for reviewing parts of speech or the states in the union. When you’re teaching your student to write, there are a whole host of worksheets online that you can use. Many of these include clipart that will help the students learn the sounds of letters and letter combinations. There are other sheets that help the student learn to write his or her numbers. It’s helpful having printable worksheets for something like this, because parents often go through quite a few of these before the child masters writing the numbers or letters correctly.
2. Math worksheets don’t promote critical thinking. Math worksheets rarely ask students to think critically or creatively. They usually present multiple examples of the same problem type with the hope of reinforcing a skill or procedure. They do not challenge students to use higher order thinking skills such as comparing, analyzing, deducing, and synthesizing. These skills are built through activities in which students discover concepts, explore ideas, test a hypothesis, solve a problem, and discuss their thinking with their peers. Exploring concepts and problems in many different ways builds interest and promotes critical thinking. 3. Math worksheets don’t promote communication and collaboration. Math worksheets are often assigned as an independent activity, however research indicates that communication and discourse are needed to build a deep understanding of math topics. Students need opportunities to explore mathematical ideas in different ways and to build their own connections. This involves communicating their ideas, listening to the ideas of others, arguing a viewpoint, describing, and explaining. Math worksheets are rarely used as a catalyst for conversation. Instead of assigning worksheets, find activities that encourage discourse, such as ”number talks,” or collaborative group work. During the session, be sure to require students to explain their thinking and listen to the strategies and thinking of their peers. If you are fortunate enough to have an interactive whiteboard in your classroom, using it with interactive math software creates many opportunities for group discussion and student participation. Teachers can can begin by posing problems and modeling approaches, and then ask students to work together to find solutions. Then have them come to the board to demonstrate their solutions in front of the class. These days, many examples of how to teach math concepts on an interactive whiteboard can be found online in the various whiteboard community sites, educational sites, YouTube, etc.
Tip #1 – Age Appropriateness. Multiplication worksheets are easy to find on the internet but before you start printing everything you find, you need to consult your child’s grade level math book or purchase a good scope and sequence book. A scope and sequence book will tell you what your child should be doing in math according to age and grade level. This book is a handy reference to always have on hand so you can be sure your child is staying on track. A good scope and sequence book will break down math into each area and you’ll know what your child needs to accomplish for that school year. Use this book as a guide as to which multiplication worksheets you should print off. If your child is just beginning to multiply multi-digit problems without carrying, don’t make the mistake of giving her worksheets that have carrying. It will most likely throw your child for a loop and she will become upset.
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.
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