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Mental Maths Worksheets

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Aubry Sixtine May 22, 2018 worksheets

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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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.

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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.

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Worksheets are slowly becoming an important tool of learning for little children. Nowadays, worksheets are planned and created by many companies, publishers and schools. Some sell these worksheets both online and offline and others let people download them from the internet. Since there are so many worksheets available in the market, it may be difficult for parents to know which the appropriate and right worksheet is for their child. This article will take you through the basic elements of a good worksheet for children. Creating a worksheet requires a lot of planning and research. Things like the purpose of the worksheet, the age group for which it is being created and the resources available to solve the worksheets should be considered.

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No matter what materials you choose, it is most important that you supervise your child constantly so that mistakes get caught rather than practiced. I learned this particular lesson the hard way. When my daughter was young, she did something that needed ”attention.” I no longer remember what it was that she did, but I told her to write the sentence ”I will not disobey my parents again” 50 times. I should have known better, but I didn’t check on her at the beginning and then I got busy. So, sometime later, she brought me 50 sentences of ”I will not disobey my parents agen.” She had just practiced misspelling ”again” as ”agen” — 50 times! I’m not certain that we ever really got that fixed. This issue of NOT practicing mistakes is extremely important. Parents shouldn’t give worksheets as busy work and teachers should only use them if you are going to have a non-math teacher substitute. White boards with supervision are always a better way to practice skills. If you need some time to do chores, your child will get much more benefit by helping you with the chores. And maybe you can work in a little discussion of numbers or counting while you do chores together.

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Planning Worksheets for Kids. Before creating the worksheet for children, it is important to understand why the worksheet is being made. Is there a message to be conveyed? Can students record information that can be understood later? Is it being created to just teach a basic concept to little children? A well designed worksheet will make its objective clear. The different aspects that should influence the design of the worksheet are the age, ability and motivation of the students. A young child may not be able to write or read more than a few words. Worksheets should be created keeping these factors in mind. When you buy worksheets for your children, look for how the concept is explained. Is it pictorial or is it just a collection of words? A pictorial worksheet will hold the attention of a child more than just a combination of words. Another thing to look out for is what the pupil will need to solve the worksheets? Does the worksheet require the use of crayons? Does it require other things like a pair of scissors, glue and so on? Before you buy worksheets, make sure to check if they have been created to suit the geographical location that you reside in. The language and usage of words differs from country to country. It is no point buying a worksheet which is designed for children in the US for children residing in India. Also see if the worksheets involve just one way of teaching or multiple ways. Do the worksheets involve short assessments? Does it have some activity built in; does it involve elements from the child’s surroundings?

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