Bernice Amy July 29, 2020 Worksheets
If you must use worksheets, then be sure you do the following 6 things:1. Know what you are buying. If you can’t see it (there is no sample shown), then do not buy it. There are many people out there trying to make a buck off the current popularity of worksheets. Many, if not most, of these people know nothing about mathematics, teaching, or how the brain learns. Anyone can type columns of addition, subtraction, multiplication, etc. problems; but these worksheets will be bad for your child. Don’t trust what you can’t see.
As far as using worksheets for busy work, the verdict is in. It is destructive to classroom learning to assign worksheets to simply keep students occupied. Busy work creates monotony, causes boredom and increases the likelihood of behavior problems. Period.
We have come a long way as teachers since those purple-ink mimeograph machines introduced us to worksheets, so let’s be vigilant! Avoid lower-level-thinking worksheets, do not use too many worksheets (even good ones) and NEVER use worksheets as busy work.Instead, let’s fill our classrooms with meaningful, thoughtful lessons and activities that peak student interest and promote higher-level learning. And that is a message worth copying and handing out!
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?
I have said ”Don’t Use Worksheets” about every way there is to say it, and each time I have included solid brain-based, researched reasons for this statement; and yet, I know that many people will ignore the science in favor of the convenience. It is very difficult to fight the tide when there are so many internet sites pushing worksheets at parents, and so many reputable textbook companies doing likewise. It is difficult to remember the reasons to avoid them when one has very little time to devote to working with math. Worksheets just seem so much easier than doing things any other way. Can they really cause harm?
Then along came digital copiers and the purple-ink mimeograph machine disappeared. But the teaching tool that the mimeograph machine spawned – the worksheet – has lived on… and on… and on. For decades – literally decades – teachers have been enamored with worksheets. So what is the bottom line? Are worksheets a serious teaching tool or an over-used form of busy work? The answer, of course, is both.
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