Daveney Castille October 17, 2020 Math Worksheet
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.
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.
However, caution must be taken into account when review is repeatedly covered in your classroom. You do not want your students to become bored or frustrated with the repetition. Another important point I keep in mind is that I never want this regular math review time to take up and hour of class time. I want it to be quick but effective. This is not instructional time, but time for the students to review material they have already learned.
A lot of the websites charge high dollar amount for these math worksheets. Considering your willingness to spend the high dollar, you run in to a new problem – the uniqueness of the material, a lot of websites offer sheets packed with identical problems leading the child to almost rote memorization of the problems and solution. This leads to deprivation of student and his/her ability to solve the problems logically. And some websites offer sheets in portable document format. And to open such sheets you are forced to download special software.
A lot of you send your children to tutoring centers like Kumon, Huntington, Sylvan, Score and others. But do you really know what exactly do these tutoring centers provide your children? Resources – resources to practice via lots and lots of homework when it comes to Math. And lots and lots of math worksheets. So a lot of parents today end up spending hundreds of dollars every month for nothing but math worksheets. The math practice books and other practice materials can cost you arm and a leg. So where do you turn to find a cheaper alternative? Immediately you might think of the internet. If you search the internet, you will find hundreds and hundreds of websites that offer practice worksheets. But you will run in the same problem, cost-efficient and affordable worksheets.
Rather than using worksheets, a better method is to use individual size white boards and have the child writing entire facts many times. Having a child writing 9 x 7 = 7 x 9 = 63 while saying ”nine times seven is the same as seven times nine and is equal to sixty-three” is many times more successful than a worksheet with 9 x 7 = ___ and the student just thinks the answer once and then writes that answer on the duplicate problems. I will admit that there is one type of worksheet that I used in the past and found relatively beneficial, although it had a different kind of flaw. For my Basic Math, Pre-Algebra, and Algebra classes, I had several books of ”self-checking” worksheets. These worksheets had puns or puzzle questions at the top, and as the students worked the problems they were given some kind of code for choosing a letter to match that answer. If they worked the problems correctly, the letters eventually answered the pun or riddle. Students enjoyed these worksheets, but there are a couple problem areas even with these worksheets. Some students would get the answer to the riddle early and then work backward from letter to problem answer, so they weren’t learning or practicing anything.