By Zdenek Pouliotte at April 14 2019 20:55:16
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!
Engagement entails much more than rote repetition of a procedure. Math worksheets tend to present very similar problem types over and over, leading to mundane practice of disassociated skills. For students who understand the material and successfully complete an assignment, another worksheet becomes meaningless. On the other hand, for the students who don't understand the material, an alternative method of instruction is what's needed. Another worksheet simply adds to the student's frustration, or worse, contributes to a belief that "I'll never understand math." A cute image or a "fill_in_the_blanks" riddle does nothing to increase engagement or learning (and let's face it, those riddles are not funny!). Instead, teachers need to increase engagement by providing students with exercises in which they discover patterns and relationships, solve problems, or think creatively about math relationships.