Featured Website of the Month (March) - SoftSchools
I know that there is a big push right now to move away from worksheets and get students using manipulatives, whiteboards, smartboards, iPads….anything but paper. I think this is great but, I still find value in the concreteness of a worksheet from time to time. Some students need extra practice or are easily distracted by the digital. Math is one area where repetition is important to memorize facts and a worksheet may help provide some extra practice.
This month’s website feature is a website that generates free worksheets! This wonderful website is branded as a website that “provides free math worksheets, free math games, grammar quizzes, free phonics worksheets, and games”. Notice how many times they used the word ‘free’? Isn’t that such a nice sounding word!
A friend of mine told me about this website. She was searching around the internet for a worksheet for her students. She had noticed that some of her students were struggling with specific addition facts. She could find worksheets with +0, +1, and +3. But she was specifically wanting the kids to practice +3, +4 and +5. She couldn’t quite find what she was looking for until she stumbled across SoftSchools. This website has the ability to auto-generate worksheets based on some specifications that you give it.
But before we get to creating worksheets, let’s talk a little bit about navigating the website. When you first get to the homepage of SoftSchools, it looks a little intimidating. There are links EVERYWHERE! There is a menu bar across the top where you can select a Grade level. There are links on the Homepage with common topics. Links, links, links! But this is a good thing because each link is clearly labeled so you know what you are getting.
The links are all organized into various topics. Let’s say you are looking for something math-related. You could choose from Math quizzes, Math Games, Fractions, Addition, Geometry, etc. Click on the link that is most applicable to your needs. This will bring you to, yet another, page of links that are more specific. For example, if you pick addition, there are options like “Mad Minute Math”, “Addition Practice”, “Addition Games”, etc. Click on the activity that piques your interest. If you are looking for games, there are some plugins required. Adobe and Flash seem to be the common plugins required on your computer, but some other games might require different plugins.
Creating worksheets, however, does not require plugins (as far as I can tell). So let’s talk about how to create a worksheet. If you are looking to create an ‘addition practice’ worksheet, click on the appropriate link. It will bring you to a page where you can fill in some specifics. You can fill in the title, the font you would like used, and the number of problems. You can pick the maximum and minimum addends and you can choose whether or not you would like decimals used. The last step is to click the ‘generate’ button and print your worksheet.
This website also has the ability to generate phonics practice sheets, handwriting practice, spelling practice, and many more things. And at the bottom of each activity page, there is also a code that you can use to embed the activity into your school's website. This is a great feature! You can share activities with your students and families. Have students practice the activity at home or during free time. It's also a great way to share activities with other teachers.
I haven’t even hit the tip of the iceberg in describing all the things on SoftSchools.com. I do think it is worth some time to explore. Maybe you’re going to find a hidden gem among all the links like my friend did. If you discover something awesome about this website, feel free to comment below. That way other reads can put your discovery to use!
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