By Eve Burke at April 14 2019 21:01:23
There are many types of writing worksheets. There is the cursive writing worksheets and the kindergarten worksheets. The latter is more on letter writing and number writing. This is typically given to kids of aged four to seven to first teach them how to write. Through these worksheets, they learn muscle control in their fingers and wrist by repeatedly following the strokes of writing each letter. These writing worksheets have traceable patterns of the different strokes of writing letters. By tracing these patterns, kids slowly learn how a letter is structured.
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!)
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.
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?