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Q&A #17459

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

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From: LT <ljt137@psu.edu>
To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2009091521:20:05
Subject: Touch Math

	I couldn't help but add to the messages regarding the potential
dangers of Touch Math.  I am a special education teacher(upper
elementary grades) and Touch Math has the potential to go so wrong,
and take so long to correct.  Like others who have had troubles with
this method, I have spent the three years a child is with me trying to
reteach place value, quantity and multiplication for those students
that come to me only knowing touch math. For my students who learn
differently, they cannot get past the only strategy they know,
counting dots on a number.  They also are unable to self correct
themselves on errors i.e. a child who says 7 + 2 = 8 and who knows
their math facts, will say "oops, I mean 9.  a child who counts the
dots incorrectly will insist that they are right.  Why? because they
counted the dots!  If you show them using manipulatives, they still
believe they are correct. Self correction is virtually impossible. 
For a child who is able to move on to multiplication (even if they do
it several years behind their grade level), Touch Math is a nightmare.
They tend tp expend much of their precious brain power on touching the
notes, and often forget what they are suppose to be doing once they
have readhed their dot counting destination. I now have students
coming to be who have been trained only on Touch Money.  Wow . . .
their previous teacher was able to say to me that "they don't know the
valuse f the coins, they don't need to know the values of the coins,
all they have to do is count the dots".  For the life of me I can't
see the value of teaching a child that money has no value - it's just
a collection of dots. 

 Please, please please parents - if your children MUST have Touch Math
as part of the school curriculum, ask for a plan of action on how your
child will and (and when) transition from the system.  Find out how
they transition will be taught (don't be surprised if they have no
instructional method of transitioning - I've always have been told
that they will just do it naturally - hard to believe that they will
transition naturally from such an unnatural system).  

If you have a choice (and you can only find out if you actually ASK
for a choice), try any and everything else first.  As a matter of
fact, I prefer my fast finger addition, subtraction and multiplication
kids ( and some of these kids can move their fingers REALLY fast) to
Touch Math kids. For those students who have sever cognitive dlays
(for whom Touch Math was initially created) take a look at technology
and the use of computers and calculators as an options. Students can
still be taught the matmatical concepts, yet the calculator/computer
will relieve thepressure of rote memorization (not to mention, the
added functionality to their lifes)

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