Engagement entails much more than rote repetition of a procedure. Math worksheets tend to present very similar problem types over and over, leading to mundane practice of disassociated skills. For students who understand the material and successfully complete an assignment, another worksheet becomes meaningless. On the other hand, for the students who don't understand the material, an alternative method of instruction is what's needed. Another worksheet simply adds to the student's frustration, or worse, contributes to a belief that "I'll never understand math." A cute image or a "fill_in_the_blanks" riddle does nothing to increase engagement or learning (and let's face it, those riddles are not funny!). Instead, teachers need to increase engagement by providing students with exercises in which they discover patterns and relationships, solve problems, or think creatively about math relationships.

If you do want to produce your own worksheets and don't have the Microsoft software, you can download free tools like OpenOffice or use an online word processor or spreadsheet such as the free Google Docs which help you do similar tasks. You just need to create a table with as many rows and columns as you need and then type in some numbers before printing it off for your children to practice _ depending on the level of complexity choose single digits or multiple digits. If you're not sure what level to start at, aim low, start with easy numbers and see how your child goes, the self_esteem boost they'll get from acing the first worksheet will give them confidence for more difficult math problems.

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