Friday, March 15, 2013

How TouchPoints Work: TouchMath {A Review}

When I taught first grade, I was very briefly introduced to TouchMath. A teacher had left some worksheets behind in a folder, but I never fully knew how TouchPoints worked. So when I was given the opportunity to review the homeschool version for First Grade, I was really excited.

There are 4 downloadable units for $59.95 each or all 4 are $199.95. Each packet contains an overview, the utilized standards (common core), objectives, prerequisites, vocabulary, materials required, activity sheets, and a post-test. Each unit has 6 modules within it. I would recommend the first grade for advanced kindergarteners up to struggling 3rd graders.

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With my girls, I started by explaining the system for using dots. We wrote out the numbers with dots and then practiced counting them with the software.

Jo-Jo is advanced in math and very logical minded, so she picks up on new concepts very quickly.  The only thing she seems to get somewhat hung up on is subtraction.

Although Ceesa is much older, I decided we'd also use the program to review and to improve her speed and accuracy. She was still generally using her fingers and they slowed her down. Ceesa is creative and the fact that there is only one right answer irritates her. 

While we used lots of the worksheets and suggestions, we worked in Unit D just as the program indicates. It developed the concepts of time, measurement, shapes, graphing data, and fractions of shapes.

The instructions were clearly laid out and detailed. I especially liked how things were discussed in a way that was relevant to the children and made sense (the explanation of why we say quarter till or half-past was a great example).

A worksheet from the time module.

Ceesa and Jo-Jo making graphs.
The additional materials were simple and easy to locate. For the entire unit D, we needed crayons or markers, analog clock with moveable hands, whiteboard, copies of blank analog clocks, and index cards.
Our analog clock with movable hands.
An old toy of mine.

There are lots of manipulatives that you can purchase to work alongside the program that we were given to use as well. 

Desktop touch lines are both horizontal and vertical. Numbered 1-9 with the order of the touch points listed. They come in a set of 24 lines ($19). These would work perfectly on desks, so children can have them as needed.

Using student number cards to set up problems.

Student number cards come in a set of 10 with the numerals and touch points. One side has the order of counting dots and the other does not. There are cards for 0-9. We used them to set problems up.

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Little Man breaking into the box he found on the counter.
The 3-D Numerals ($79) are a favorite of Little Man. 3-D Numerals are plastic numbers (about 5 inches) 0-9 with the touch points on them. They come with a cd-rom that includes a teacher guide with worksheets and activities. 

TouchMath Tutor First Grade Software

Jo-Jo working on the software.

All my guys checking out the software.
Notice Little Man is matching the 3-d numeral
to the number on the screen?

The software is $99. To use the software, you will need the system requirements: Windows 7/Vista/XP/2000; Mac OS X 10.4.11, 10.5.4, 10.5.5, or 10.6.1. Jo-Jo especially liked using the software.

If your child is not able to use the mouse easily, you may wish to do the clicking in the first section. Jo-Jo did not pass it after her first two attempts because it is difficult for her to grasp the mouse and keep hold of the dots. Everytime she picked one up and "dropped" it, it was counted as an attempt against her. So I had her show me where the touchpoints would go using the 3-d numerals. She knew them, so I did the clicking for her.

The touchpoint posters are numbered 0-9 with touchpoints on 1 side with the touch number and the other side with just dots. One set is purchased for $43.

These are large and can be used to hang up in your school room.

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Ceesa putting touchpoints on numeral.

Solving a problem using the touchpoints.

Problems completed.

Using the base ten trays to represent problems.

Working on place value.

Jo-Jo solving problems using the base ten trays.

Touch numerals with base ten are $99. There are 6” foam numbers, foam operation signs, foam touch points, base 10 trays, and a manual. These may just be my favorite manipulatives. We used them to show addition and subtraction with and without regrouping. I plan to use them to work with Ceesa on division soon, too.


Math fans ($239) have a teacher guide on a cd-rom to print worksheets and activities. These are very interesting manipulatives. I've never seen anything quite like them. We are still in the process of working with all they can do. One side has shapes broken into fractions and the other side has pennies. There are groups of 10, a large connected group of 100, and 2 sets of numbers 1-9. They fan out for tactile counting. We've used them in connection with the worksheets provided and in the next few weeks will be working on the suggested activities.

Ceesa and Jo-Jo working on the flip cards together.
There are FlipCards($19 for each box and 12 boxes total)for each unit. Each unit has 3 boxes of cards with activity suggestions. Unit 1 has counting cards 1-120, addition and subtraction 0-9 with touch points, and comparing numbers with multiple representations. Unit 2 covers place value 10-20, addition fact families 10-18, and subtraction 10-18. Unit 3 includes plus and minus 10, plus and minus 2 digits no regrouping, and place value 10-60. And unit 4 has flip cards for measuring using objects, defining geometric shapes 2-d and 3-d, and fractions in geometric shapes halves through sixths.

Ceesa made Little Man number pages.

Now at the end of the review period, Jo-Jo's understanding of time and shapes has grown.

There were several gaps filled in Ceesa's understanding. Her speed at solving addition and subtraction problems improved and her understanding of the concept of place value took a stronger foothold. This allowed her to begin to solve 3 and 4 digit addition and subtraction problems much more quickly.

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Wishing you homeschool blessings,

Disclaimer:  I received the curriculum and manipulatives through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

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