By Amy Ostendorf at April 30 2019 22:46:42
Both lower_level_thinking worksheets and too many (even high quality) worksheets can hold students back by not providing stimulus and challenge. Studies have shown for years (just do a Google search!) that children learn best through active involvement and real_life experiences. Virtually every teacher knows that children learn to read by being exposed to books and by being read to, NOT by completing worksheets. The same applies to all areas of learning. As far as using worksheets for busy work, the verdict is in. It is destructive to classroom learning to assign worksheets to simply keep students occupied. Busy work creates monotony, causes boredom and increases the likelihood of behavior problems. Period.
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. 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.