Kennedi Harper July 31, 2020 Worksheets
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.
4. NEVER use ”skill and drill” worksheets. These are the worksheets just made up of columns of problems. There are better materials out there, so don’t resort to skill and drill. The very worst problem of skill and drill worksheets is the greatly increased chance of a practiced mistake. The same problem will likely appear several times on the same sheet. A wrong answer once means a wrong answer several times; and a practiced mistake takes hundreds of correct repetitions to fix. This danger alone is important enough to never use any worksheet. I am quite serious about how difficult it is to repair a practiced mistake. Learning is hard enough. Re-learning is much more difficult.
5. Never allow boredom to set in. We know now that when learning is fun and exciting, the brain is actually growing many new dendrites that make connections with many other dendrites. The more connections the better. We also know now that boredom destroys dendrites. Small children quickly become bored with worksheets, especially skill and drill worksheets. Yet another reason to avoid skill and drill worksheets like the plague.
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?
Teachers and parents basically are the primary users of worksheets. It is an effective tool in helping children learn how to write.
If you want to start preparing your child for preschool, kindergarten or even junior school, you need to find preschool worksheets that provide a variety of activities. Literacy, numeracy, reading, writing, drawing, social and natural sciences are some of the areas that children between the ages of 3 and 7 can and should start learning about. Look for variety in the worksheets, as repeating the same exercise over and over will bore your child. Lots of pictures, fun activities and clearly laid out worksheets are what you are looking for. If you’re just looking for a few fun pages to keep the kids busy while you cook dinner, then many of the free printable worksheets available will be suitable.
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