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# Touch Point Math

Submitted by Martha Silk on Sat, 02/21/2009

Parents and educators who have tried desperately to help students memorize their math facts AND for anyone who is afraid of math, there is help out there: help is just waiting to point and show you the way!! ARH! ARH! No student will have to count on their fingers and toes any more. Yeah!

Students that have been diagnosed with dyscalculia will find some comfort. This math tool is called "TOUCH POINT MATH" or the more recent name "TOUCH MATH". If you go to the internet, you will find information on touch math and products to purchase. Better yet, you can make your own digit and dots strip. This math tool is literally found at the point of a pencil. No more having to memorize math facts. For a student with LD, memorizing is often only for the moment, that day or that evening. What happens to that memorized math information the next day? Is all that hard work forgotten?

Here's the HELP: Teach the student how to touch certain points on each one of the nine digits and practice where the dots and circles belong (mapping or imaging) and instantly, it becomes very clear how to manage addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Division is performed a little differently than the other three operations, but it is still very effective and students are successful using it.

Remember the most effective and successful way to each anyone a new method is to be very patient with the person and teach by using the auditory, visual and kinesthetic combination approach. The words that a student hears (auditory) should make a picture in his/her mind (visual) and the words and numbers he/she reads should make a movie in his/her mind (auditory and visual combined). Add to this movement of the hand and touching pencil points on digits and you have included a kinesthetic involvement. This is the key to attaining working memory.

When the instructor is presenting this concept she needs to demonstrate by touching the numbers in certain places with the pencil tip, saying the direction the pencil is moving. Remind the student to use this same mapping or touching pattern every time. Be aware that different companies have varying placements of dots on the numbers. I observed TOUCH POINT MATH from my son over 15 years ago, whom he learned from his very dear and giving resource teacher, Mrs. Jennifer Hightower from St. Bernadette School . So, time and patterns have changed, but the concept has stood the test of time. See the chart above to see the placement of the dots and circles. Also, using "tic" or "check" marks is more beneficial to some; keep your options open.

Below, you will find a step-by-step explanation of how to verbalize and apply the touch point system to math operations.

1 Make one dot on the center of the one digit with your pencil tip: say, "ONE"

2 Make two dots on the two; at the top, beginning tip and at the end tip: say, "ONE, TWO"

3 Make three dots on the three; at the top, beginning tip, at the middle tip and at the

end tip: say, "ONE, TWO, THREE"

• Make four dots on the four; at the top left beginning, at the left corner, top right tip and at the joint: say, "ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR"

• Make five dots on the five; at the top right beginning, top left corner, middle left corner, on the middle of the belly, and bottom left tip end: say, "ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR, FIVE"

When you reach the 6, 7, and 8, you say pointing out the rhythm and with a kind of bounce with your head: say, "Now, we are going to write a dot and then a circle around it."

6 Make three dots and three circles on the six; at the top tip, dot and circle, at the crossover on the left, dot and circle, on the middle right belly, dot and circle: say in rhythm, "ONE, TWO THREE, FOUR FIVE, SIX"

7 Make four dots and three circles on the seven; at the top tip left, dot and circle, at the right top corner, dot and circle, on the middle line, dot and circle, and at the end bottom tip, dot: say in rhythm, "ONE, TWO THREE, FOUR FIVE, SIX SEVEN"

8 Make four dots and four circles on the eight; on the left top belly middle, dot and circle, on the right top belly middle, dot and circle, on the left bottom belly middle, dot and circle, and on the right bottom belly middle: say in rhythm, "ONE, TWO THREE, FOUR FIVE, SIX SEVEN, EIGHT"

When you reach nine explain that the pattern has changed; it is now dot, circle, and circle.

9 Make three dots and three circles and then three circles, on the left middle of the belly, dot, circle and circle, right at crossover, dot, circle and circle, and at the bottom tip, dot, circle, and circle: say with rhythm, "ONE, TWO, THREE FOUR, FIVE, SIX SEVEN, EIGHT, NINE"

Instruct the student to practice dotting and to memorize the mapping of the dots and circles, with saying the numbers counting many times. This memorization will help facilitate the math computations which is the next step.

In order to do **ADDITION **, **Example: 4 (note vertical math is best for, now) **

**+ 3 **say: "LOOK AT THE FOUR and say, "FOUR", now touch the three at the three spots and touch and say, "FIVE, SIX, SEVEN", the **answer is 7 **, with no memorization of a math fact or math family.

In order to do **SUBTRACTION **, (WARNING-assume nothing> have the student say out loud counting backwards: 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1)

**Example: 9 **

**-5 **

Have the student point to the nine and say, "NINE", now have them touch the five at the five spots counting down the number line, (count backwards), say: "8, 7, 6, 5, 4" the **answer is 4 **, again there are no math facts to memorize.

In order to do ** MULTIPLICATION **, it is best to choose the 2's and the 5's for working out examples because most students, (again, WARNING not all students) can count by 2's and by 5's.

**Example: 5 **

**x 5 **Have the student touch the lower five on the five spots and say: "5, 10, 15, 20, 25" the **answer is 25 **.

Making or purchasing a multiplication chart is a great tool to keep on hand. It is very helpful to look at the multiplication chart and to simply say and show that division is literally the opposite movement of multiplication.

In order to do **DIVISION, ___ **counting by 2's and 5's is probably the easiest way to begin teaching. **Example: 2 ) 8 **Have the student begin counting by 2's and make(draw) check marks , "tic" marks or draw dots each time they count a two number. Have the student say, "2, 4, 6, 8" and make a mark for each number- then count the number of dots or "tic" marks they made: "1, 2, 3, 4", and the **answer is 4 **.

In order for the student to be successful in math computation by touch point they will need to practice quite a bit.

One last thought, zero is not used because it is not counted. Zero should be considered to be a place saver, just like the shopping cart at the grocery store check-out line. Tell the student that the"0" is like a shopping cart, it holds a place for you while you jump out of line to go get the bread you for got to put in your cart. The zero holds your place in line.

When the student really practices and feels the touch point math in +, -, x and division they really start to gain an understanding of the substance, quantitative-ness or depth of mathematics. When a student is using touch point math with word problems; it's a fun and great visual effect to place the picture of the item mentioned in the word problem on the spots where the student would usually place the dots on the numerals. An example would be to add four apples to a bag of six apples. The student would write the numerals "6 + 4 =", into a number sentence in large print. Now, have the student take apple pictures and place an apple on the four spots of the numeral (digit) 4. This picture placement visually and kinesthetically enables a student to experience the math concept; it brings math into another dimension. Eventually, the student will be able to transition into abstract math concepts.

## Articles, Lesson Plans and Blog Posts

## About *Martha Silk*

**Personal Bio:**

**Martha Silk**: is a tutor for learning disabilities. She holds a BS degree in Mathematics which she earned at Spring Hill College in Mobile , Alabama . She has attended training classes, seminars and courses taught by Phyllis Lindamood, Nanci Bell, Kim Tulley, Therese Kelly, Atlantic Seaboard Dyslexia Center , and Dr. William Strixrud and Associates in the past 11 years. She has been tutoring individuals who suffer with ADHD, reading comprehension weakness, dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia and non-verbal LD for 10 years. The ages of her students range from 5 ½ years old through adults. She also teaches at Montgomery College , Rockville Campus for the Challenge Program and the course name is Phonemic Awareness.

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