Q&A #4274

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Math in everyday living

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From: Lisa <lehnegil@yahoo.com>
To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2003040200:27:31
Subject: Re: money math touch point system or program

     I am a special-ed teacher(elementary)and a parent of a 17 year
son, Abe, who has Down syndrome. Twenty years ago I worked in a group
home and attempted to teach money skills to adult women with mental
retardation. Teaching money skills has been on my mind for many years!
     I found you because I am looking for some ideas I can embrace
about teaching money. I have been a long time follower of Lou Brown, U
of Wisc., who often says "Don't waste my kid's time!" Abe will learn
fewer things than most of the population so the things he is taught
must be the most important things in hs life! 
     Counting coins is quite difficult, teaching Abe to count coins
and make change would take an emormous amount of time, time which
could be better used,on top od that - he may never be successful -
heck - Abe NEVER will be successful - at 17 he still can't count by
5s! So..."Don't waste his time!!"  I believe firmly in the "Plus-One
theory" or "One more" for Abe. Functional, functional, functional!
unfortunately I have never gotten any of Abe's teachers to buy into
the idea. As a sophomore at the regular high school, Abe's math
continues to consist of asking him how much change would he get back
     I do not care for the touch math point system. I think it works
OK for children with average intelligence who are having trouble
grasping coin counting. However, I believe it is even a further
abstaction to students with less than average math intellegence. I
also believe it is functionally ridiculous! 
     At some point in a child's education we have to think
functionally -  a person is at checkout - are we going to expect them
to touch count? "Plus One is still the best functional system I can
     What I am in search of is something, magical maybe, that will
help the students who, just, may be able to get it someday. I am also
looking for some indication of when we decide to stop wasting their
precious time?
     I feel as if I'm babbling. I hope this makes sense. I want so
much to figure this out and I think you do too!  Lisa

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