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Q&A #4274

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Math in everyday living

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From: Dorothy Smith <smithd@hartfordsd.com>
To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2002111121:17:39
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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