Teacher2Teacher Q&A #4274

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Math in everyday living

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From: Dorothy Smith

To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2002111120:17:39
Subject: Re: money math touch point system or program

I have worked with high school aged students who are mentally retarded for 23 years. I have tried various approaches and have found that many students enter high school and still do not have the skills needed to count using coins. My goal is for students to be as independent as they possibly can out in the community, so I devised a plan to teach students to round dollars to the next dollar. So if something cost \$3.45, students would count out \$3.00 one dollar bills and then say out loud "and one more for the cents". I use games as a way to teach this approach to counting money and then we practice out in the community. This method works and students are independent. They realize they will get change back but independence using money is the key. After students really get the concept rounding bills less than \$5.00, we move up to more than \$5.00, expecting students to use the least amount of bills. I had one student who was never able to move beyond the use of \$1.00 bills so his mother always requested his paycheck be cashed with all ones. I have several students who are now learning how to round the cents to the closest quarter. I feel that by the time a student reaches me in high school and have worked on coin identification and counting skills since elementary school and it still doesn't work for them, that it is time to come up with something else that allows them to be successful. This method has been the best I have come up with and parents have been very pleased. I would be interested in your thoughts about this approach and if you have heard anyone else using any similar approaches. Dorothy Smith Hartford High School White River Jct., Vermont

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