Ila Leïna February 26, 2021 worksheets
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.
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.
Tip #2 – Neat & Professional. Because there are so many sources of worksheets on the internet, you’re never sure what you’re going to find at a particular site. Choose worksheets that are neat and organized without too many problems jumbled on to each page. The concept of neatness needs to be taught to your child as they do math. If your child doesn’t learn this, be prepared for many careless mistakes later on in his math work. Boys in particular don’t take the time to be neat and careful. If you give him multiplication worksheets that are crowded on to each page without room to write the answers, this in encouraging messiness. Crowded problems also confuse kids. When a child is first learning a new concept in math and they lack confidence, being faced with an overcrowded worksheet can cause instant panic. Avoid this with neat and professional worksheets.
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.
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.
If you have read my article ”Helping Your Child With Basic Arithmetic? Stay Away From Worksheets” then you know that I am not a fan of traditional worksheets. After writing that article, I found another credible teacher who has written many ezine articles expounding on the benefits of worksheets. I decided some clarification of position is in order. The primary problem with most math worksheets is that the problems are already written out and the child need only write the answers. For learning and practicing the basic skills of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, it is much more beneficial for the child to write out the entire fact and say the entire fact out loud. A child will learn a multiplication fact much faster if they are writing out 6 x 8 = 48 at the same time they are saying ”six times eight is forty-eight” than if they just see 6 x 8 = ___ and only have to supply the 48.
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