Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Summer School - Day Two - Worksheets

The Summer School train is chugging along. Spoon feed them some mathematical procedures, do a few examples and hand out the worksheets. Quality teaching at its finest! Choo choo!

My first year teaching was spent largely in creating more worksheets. I was teaching a two semester math course for grade 8's who struggled with math. The teacher across the hall (since replaced by my stellar colleague, Blair Miller) was an advocate for creating worksheets in Excel using a random number generator. Need a new worksheet? Just hit F9!

I have a colleague who argues convincingly of the need for worksheets and drills to build basic skills. Students can't be expected to solve problems without basic mathematical fluency. Or can they? Which comes first, problem-solving or math skills? Manipulatives or worksheets? Does problem-solving help develop mathematical thinking and ability? Or do worksheets develop the procedural fluency needed to tackle problems?

I plan to give a homework quiz tomorrow. A problem framed in the context of our topic from today... unit price and markup. I guess I will find out if the worksheets prepared them to solve a problem. If not, what is the next step? More worksheets? Or a completely new approach?

One thing is for sure, lots of worksheets gives me more time to blog.


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