Isabeau Elyne July 24, 2020 worksheets
1. Education vs Time Filler
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!
In 1986, mimeograph machines were (for the most part) replaced by digital copiers in elementary schools. Those of us teachers who experienced using mimeograph machines will forever remember the distinct smell of the still-damp, purple-ink worksheets that we handed out to our students – by the ream full. (If you’re like me, you can remember that smell right now!)
3. If the materials do not specifically indicate ”brain-based,” determine if they are at least ”brain-friendly.” This would mean that you are looking for lots of color, material interesting to the child, many varied activities-especially involving movement, and using several of the senses. I saw one company whose worksheets included the instruction to ”say the number out loud as you…” This is very good! Speaking out loud is very important for learning to occur. Ideally, all worksheets should include this instruction. If you can’t find any that do, then you need to add that instruction yourself.
3. Quality vs Quantity
2. Know the author’s background. This person needs to have a background in education and, ideally, should be trained in the latest educational methods, like brain-based teaching/learning. I personally would never use any materials with my child that didn’t specifically mention being ”brain-based.” I am not talking about just ”research-based.” I see more and more sites claiming to have research-based materials, but what I find is definitely NOT based on how the brains actually learns. Brain-based learning is relatively new in the educational world, but most worksheet sites and materials are using old science or, more often, no science at all.
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