Letya Maud 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.
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.
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?
Tip #3 – Use Worksheets Sparingly. Since free multiplication worksheets are so easy to find, it’s tempting to give your child too many. You mean well, but it just seems like a good idea to have them do several at a time. Little brains can only take so much. Keep learning fun by sprinkling worksheets into their curriculum as a fun break from their usual textbook. Tip #4 – Keep it Fun. If you happen to have a competitive child, chances are he will love worksheets always trying to beat his last time. This is great and if this is the case, let him work all of the worksheets he wants. Just be sure that it is ”child-driven” not ”parent-driven” meaning – let it be his idea. As long as he is having fun and asking for more, let him have all he wants.
5. Math worksheets don’t provide immediate feedback. Most teachers are familiar with the long delay between when students complete a worksheet, and when they get their correct page. Most don’t get anything back until the next day or the next week. In the meantime, the students continue to practice incorrectly. It’s no surprise that immediate feedback has been shown to increase student performance and diligence. Unfortunately, math worksheets have no mechanism for keeping a student from moving to the next problem until after they demonstrate understanding. Good curriculum software can address this issue by giving students instant responses and strategic feedback. The use of visual cues and auditory feedback helps students quickly recognize their fraction errors and self-correct. This just-in-time feedback system eliminates practicing incorrectly, while promoting self-correction and independence.
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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