Q&A #17459

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Who "invented" touch point math?

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From: Jennifer Stinchcomb

To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2010092711:13:25
Subject: Re: the dangers of Teaching Touch Math- refuted

I am sure that some of your statements may be well founded for some people. But choosing not to teach Touch Point Math- or something like it- is not saddling children with anything. If we, as teachers and/or parents, do not give all of the possible strategies to our children that is when we saddle them with things. Different strategies work for different people and children will use what works for THEM- when given the options. I was never taught formal Touch Math- it may have existed at the time, I do not know. BUT I distinctly remember teaching myself touch point math as a first grader (1975-1976)- when I would get in HUGE trouble for counting on my fingers inside my desk. I used it all through high school and sometimes find myself falling back on it when tired or distracted- BUT I was able to complete all math at the top of my class and proceeded through Calculus as a Junior in high school. I have discovered that I am a visual person and that memorization of unsupported numbers (numbers without visual meaning) is difficult for me. I never enjoyed math- I suspect because it was so difficult with out visuals- but I always did well. Because I was able to create a visual system for myself for numbers I was able to do math and as an adult and a primary elementary school teacher (I went back to school to get my license when I was 33) I LOVE math- it is exciting to me. I survived it and when I was ready the 'manipulative' went away and is no longer necessary! I would encourage anyone to try touch point math with their children. You never know what it is that is making that math difficult for them. And it is our JOB as adults to show them ALL the options! If it doesn't work for them- it will fade away, if it does 'more power to them!'

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