I love, love, love TouchMath!! Over the years, many of my students with special needs have benefited from extra practice to master concepts of simple addition, subtraction, problem-solving, etc. I like how TouchMath breaks it all down into steps. However, every year I’d have a few students who couldn’t make the jump from counting objects to counting the touch points. So over the years, I’ve worked on ways to help bridge those skills. This blog post will be an introduction to them. Below are some introduction activities you might try with your students. (Get more info from this podcast episode I did on the same subject.)
- First, put objects on large TouchMath numbers (provided in kits). Or just make them yourself. One number per piece of paper. You could also write a number on a magnetic whiteboard, then use circle magnets on the touchpoints.
- Put big posters on the floor, then you could use large objects on the touch points, such as books, school supplies, or get creative and use shoes, or actual kids (I see a total body PE/math activity!).
- When counting the objects, have the student make one mark on the touch point on the paper to show it was counted. Make sure they only make one mark…if they make an X- they might count it twice since it has two marks.
- Usually, kids learn numbers 1-5 easier than numbers 6-9 (since those have a dot and a circle sometimes). I have found that kids have trouble counting the dot and the circle around it as two. Put two objects on those numbers. Again work on crossing out each part.
From there the TouchMath program I’ve had in my class moves to worksheets with simple addition problems. To start off we still use small manipulatives on the numbers on the worksheet. When counting, I have them make a line across the dot while counting out loud (so they know they counted it). After they get used to it, they don’t need to mark it out. Just remember, they should only mark it with one line (do not make an X – because that is made with two lines and they might count it twice by accident). After a bit, most kids figure out counting the dots for numbers 1-5.
I follow the same procedure described above when introducing numbers 6-9, however, some kids keep struggling and just can’t get the concept. This is because the idea of a dot and a circle might be too abstract a concept. So I have started using my Counting Pictures and Dots packets to give student more practice with counting pictures before moving all the way to counting dots and circles. Every one of my students (mild/moderate learning disabilities, intellectual disabilities and/or autism) has gotten it.
Some need the supports longer than others, however, they have all been successful. If you’re interested in see my Counting Pictures and Dots packets – there are two – Part 1 and Part 2. I also have addition, subtraction, and multiplication flashcards using my counting dots font, as well as digital/no prep online task cards/activities you can check out here.
Resources In My TpT Store to Support TouchMath:
PRINTABLES (Can be used on TpT Easel or assigned on an LMS):
BOOM CARDS (No Prep, Digital Task Cards – Automatic Grading):