The Hidden Magic in Using Math Workbooks
By: edHelper Staff
Updated: Aug 23, 2020
Congratulations! You are a teacher! You've chosen a most honorable career where you are entrusted with the awesome responsibility of shaping young minds each and every day. Some of this will feel easy. You will naturally be inclined to create engaging learning experiences for your students in the subjects that you are passionate about. But there will be challenges too. How do you find developmentally appropriate resources for varied ability levels? How on Earth do you find the time to do all that needs to be done and all that needs to be read and all that needs to be created and all that needs to be graded? How do you tackle and teach those difficult subjects?
Math has been known as one of those notoriously challenging subjects. It is a subject that students struggle to learn and teachers struggle to teach. But why is teaching math hard?
Teaching math takes considerable effort and energy.
Creating engaging math lessons that not only captivate students but effectively communicate content and strategies is not an easy task. It is much more complex than simply putting a post-it note on the page of a teacher's edition from a math textbook and assuming your students will understand all that you say. While covering the curriculum, teachers also need to find ways to inspire students who are reluctant to learn.
Teaching math takes time.
Time is often a luxury most teachers don't feel they have. When peeking at yearly pacing guides and upcoming high-stake tests, teachers don't feel like they can stay on certain chapters, standards, or concepts as long as they'd like. When forced to move on, teachers are often forced to inadvertently leave struggling students with a shaky foundation. Without a strong math foundation, many students are ill-prepared for more complex upcoming topics. When the calendar dictates it's time to advance to the next chapter, but before students are ready, that insecure math foundation is bound to collapse under the weight of future expectations.
Realistically, there may not be enough hours in the day to work one-on-one with every single student and ensure that each is ready to move on to the next math chapter. Formal and informal assessments can provide teachers with the insight they need to see what students still need to work on, but they won't provide them the time to help individually assist them in understanding. What if there were a magic resource, a hidden and often overlooked gem that could not only help your students learn but help ease some of your teacher burden as well?
Well-designed math workbooks may be able to do all that and more!
There are many benefits of using math workbooks in your classroom .
Math workbooks are easy to use.
A well-crafted math workbook can be used with any math program. Regardless of the curriculum your district or school has opted to use, you can easily supplement your instruction and student practice using downloadable math workbooks. Review books like these offer students a chance to review a variety of creatively addressed, developmentally appropriate skills, provide fun and interesting illustrations, and offer endless variety as a new book is created each time you click on the workbook options. You, as the educator, don't have to scramble to create new problems, design new worksheets, or invent new word problems.
Math workbooks allow students to work at their own pace.
Students are able to use math workbooks to help them succeed on their own. Early finishers and advanced students can breeze through their daily lessons and use the workbooks to extend their learning. Struggling students can use the workbooks to review key skills or reinforce recently learned lessons. Rather than being rushed, the workbooks give those students the opportunity to complete tasks as they are able. This not only builds on their skillset but builds their confidence as well.
Math workbooks provide choices and build confidence.
Rather than work from beginning to end, students working through a math workbook can pick and choose what they want to work on and the order in which they wish to complete it. Choice empowers students. It helps build confidence as students successfully tackle the practice sheets they perceive to be easier and then work through more challenging options on days when they are better equipped to persevere.
Math workbooks fill in missing gaps.
While teachers may not have the opportunity to spend unlimited one-on-one time with each struggling student, math workbooks can help differentiate that instruction and fill in missing gaps in content understanding. They can help build that critical math foundation, which will help lead to future math success.
Math workbooks are entertaining and educational.
Let's face it: students are more willing to engage with the content and give their best effort when they find the task to be enjoyable. As adults, we feel the same way! Using math workbooks with fun illustrations, creative puzzles, and unique problems disguises learning as play!
Teachers want their students to succeed! It's why you've chosen this profession. You know you can make a difference in the life of each child who sits in your classroom. While differentiating math instruction may be one of your greatest challenges, the good news is that being "good at math" is not genetic. While some students do seem to struggle more with math than others, as the teacher, you have the power to provide purposeful and intentional practice opportunities your students need to succeed. Well-created math workbooks may just be the magic you've been missing!