Eleonore Zeynep January 26, 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.
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.
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.
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.
Kindergarten ABC worksheets should have different activities to help children identify the various letters of the alphabet. The activities may involve very simple things like colouring, ticking, drawing a line to match items etc. Using attractive illustrations and cartoon characters would make it more fun for children. The activities should be graded, i.e initial activities should be very simple and easy (but should be fun with good pictures etc, so as to interest the child); later worksheets may involve a little bit more work. Care should be taken to give children worksheets that they are capable of doing. This involves understanding and monitoring the child continually, since the level of attainment of different children would often be quite different. The worksheet should challenge the child but not overwhelm her. If the worksheet is too easy or too repetitive, it may bore the child and she would not be happy. If the activity is too difficult it would frustrate her and she would not like to take up more sheets.
The children should love to do the worksheets; they should not be thrust upon them. Also doing only worksheets alone repeatedly would not be very productive. You should have a range of physical games and activities as well that would reinforce the concepts learnt. Here are a few ideas for such activities: The alphabet song: This remains a lovely way to practise the alphabet. Sing it slowly and sing it often. If you have a large alphabet chart and point out to each letter while you sing, it will be of great value. You can give all children letter cards in order (alphabet flashcards); they can hold up each letter as it is sung. Show a magazine or picture book to children. Ask them to identify all instances of the given letter in any page. Hand out letter cards to all children. Call out a letter. The child with that card has to come in front of the class and display the letter. Divide the class into two groups. Give one group letter cards. Give other group various objects. The first group will hold up a letter. The second group should hold up an object that starts with that letter. Where can we get kindergarten abc worksheets? You can design them yourself and print them out. Many printed workbooks are available. A good alternative is to download printable kindergarten abc worksheets. This is advantageous because you can then usually print out any sheet any number of times.
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