Math requires practice. No way around it, but do I have to work another worksheet? I’m sure some students and teachers search for ways around worksheets. Just the sight of math worksheets spook some people and can cause some anxiety especially if the worksheet is long or multiple pages. Instead of another worksheet, enable the class to enjoy practice, avoid another worksheet, and get the bonus of talking and moving with your blessings.
Simply, allow them to work in groups solving problems from cards on their own paper and checking with their partners for assistance and accuracy. After a designated amount of time, tell them to move to the next station. Place a special treat at each station. If your class is small or you home school, they can move to another station at will. This means you must have more stations than groups. The teacher is walking around monitoring and helping as needed, but the student must first seek help from their group or their class notes. Also, I walk around and stamp some problems I see worked properly with a motivating stamp such as “smart thinking” or “wonderful”. I have many of them which most were purchased from a dollar store. And yes, all grade levels love the stamps. In fact, they ask for it. If the majority of the class seems to have a challenge with a particular problem, the class can work the problem together. In my classes, we take it to Mackie’s Math Court which I’ll share with you in a future article.
A few suggestions about students’ papers and making the cards are necessary. A clever way to help the students neatly work their problems on copy or notebook paper is to have them fold their paper into eighths. Then, work one problem in each square using the front and back of the paper. Next, let’s focus on making the problem cards. First, copy your worksheets onto colored paper preferably card stock. Cut out each problem and laminate. Index cards work well too. If you use index cards, then use regular colored paper. In fact, I glue the smaller problems on index cards for uniformity. Since, the students will work in groups, make about three or four sets. A few tips to consider: Tip 1: write on the back of the card to indicate the type of problem, grade level, set one, etc. before you laminate the cards. Store them in an index box or another storage container. Tip 2: If you are making cards for more than one grade level, use a different color paper for each grade. For example, I used orange for 6th grade, fuchsia for 7th grade, and green for 8th grade.