Francine Eugénie July 30, 2020 worksheets
Students can certainly benefit from practicing new skills and concepts on paper. From letters and numbers to report summary formats, worksheets can provide students with a framework for practice – an avenue for synthesizing new information in their brains. Well designed worksheets can also give students a platform for expressing creative ideas and reaching towards higher levels of thinking.
6. Never allow your child to use a worksheet unsupervised. Some parents use worksheets to provide time to fix supper or add another load of laundry. Unfortunately, while you aren’t looking, your child just might have practiced a mistake several times. The time you thought you saved isn’t nearly as much time as it will take to fix that mistake.If you consistently do these 6 things, you might be able to successfully use worksheets; but, seriously, a few minutes of your personal time will provide better learning for your child than a truckload of 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.
– Do my students groan when I hand out a worksheet? (The answer should be no.)
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!
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