Adding on fingers

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Bored of Ed, Oct 16, 2007.

  1. Bored of Ed

    Bored of Ed Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2006
    Messages:
    2,230
    Likes Received:
    1

    Oct 16, 2007

    How do I wean them off of it?

    They're kind of delicate, anxiety-wise, so I wouldn't go cold turkey and give them timed drills. Besides, they're LD and probably won't be able to process so quickly. I just want them to try more to calculate in their heads and not start counting fingers the second I ask them anything. (I've tried simply suggesting that they try doing it mentally and requested that they not use their fingers/tally marks/count out loud, giving them easy examples to start with, but it didn't really work).

    My next idea is to start teaching them strategies, but I'm not sure exactly how to make it work. In a regular ed class I'd give them, say, all the examples with adding 10 and ask them to find the pattern after writing the answers (with fingers). Then they should be able to memorize the rule and come up with the answers more quickly/without counting. But I'm not confident enough in my kids' ability to pick up patterns like that.
     
  2.  
  3. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

    Joined:
    May 18, 2007
    Messages:
    6,291
    Likes Received:
    282

    Oct 17, 2007

    Uh, Board...I hate to tell you this, but I still count on my fingers. and I saw some guy count on his knuckles to figure out the months in the year! :confused:

    I think it just never sunk in, and as I grew older. then ..perimenopause does not help either. So I need tactile stimuli. I can count large objects, but I can't guestimate mulitplication, three digit addition, or subtract anything in my head. I guess I am dsylexic when it comes to math. 6 times 4 is 24 but I may write 42, and never catch it until I back track.

    maybe somebody else can help...I am just feeling their pain! :unsure:
     
  4. Bored of Ed

    Bored of Ed Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2006
    Messages:
    2,230
    Likes Received:
    1

    Oct 17, 2007

    That is really not good news. I can't imagine counting on my fingers all the time... people must hate being behind you when you pay in cash.

    There is actually a LD called dyscalculia.

    Personally, I recommend a small calculator. I hope my kids will know enough to use one effectively in their independent futures. I still think it's important for them to at least try to get their 1-digit addition facts down. They should not have to take out a calculator nor count aloud to add, for instance, 4+5.
     
  5. Victoriateacher

    Victoriateacher Rookie

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2007
    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    0

    Oct 17, 2007

    what kind of visual and manipulative tools have you had them use? I use ten frame cards a lot to practise basic facts to 10. They are the size of a regular set of cards (although longer and narrower) so the kids take them at their desk and play a match up game to practise. They flip one over that shows a number filled in (eg. 6) which is just six of the 10 squares coloured in. They have to flip over the "friend" of 6 next. For the next card they flip over they have to see whether or not it fills in the blank squares on their first card without any leftovers.

    We also practise visualizing techniques- looking at large base ten cards every day as a class for quick visual identification of the number. I don't focus a lot on the numeral because I don't think it's concrete enough for them (I teach first grade though, so many of them don't yet know all their numerals). I might show them the base ten card for 7 and then ask them to show me with their fingers who the friend of 7 is... it generates a lot of participation, and rarely do kids look at eachother. Because it is a quiet focus activity they are normally staring at the picture card or concentrating on their own to get the answer. The quiet response also gives me a chance to quickly assess the kids without them knowing it, and to give positive feedback to almost every kid for every question.

    I generally do a ton of different games to practise math facts.
     
  6. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2007
    Messages:
    2,051
    Likes Received:
    216

    Oct 17, 2007

    Try an abacus? In some Asian countries the ability to effectively use an abacus is a revered skill.
     
  7. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2005
    Messages:
    14,047
    Likes Received:
    1,864

    Oct 17, 2007

    I'll give some bad news as well, Bored--they may never stop using their fingers; I know that some of my grade 7 and 8 boys last year still did it a lot. For the 1-digit facts, I did have them try to visualize a number line and the "jumps" they needed (for example, start at 3, then "jump" 4 to end at 7). I modelled this on the board, with small and larger numbers, and many started to use this. I put a number line up on the wall and encouraged them to use it. For many kids with LDs, though, the rote memory of facts may never come and they'll need to develop strategies they can use.
     
  8. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

    Joined:
    May 18, 2007
    Messages:
    6,291
    Likes Received:
    282

    Oct 17, 2007

    when my daughter was in hs, she needed a $100 graphing calculator. i found out it did fractions, and I was estatic. in fact, I took it with me for my college entrance exam, (that I failed twice before) and I did great.

    she says, calculators cripple you because you don't know what you are doing. I say, you need to know the right steps in order to get the right answer. I just get caught up in all the layers and layers of steps. put it in a caluclator, and bam! it's done.

    but...math keeps rearing it's ugly head...got a online exam in a 1/2 hr. statistics, for research...coefficients, probablity....ugh...I just want to guess on all ten questions! :help:
     
  9. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

    Joined:
    May 18, 2007
    Messages:
    6,291
    Likes Received:
    282

    Oct 17, 2007

    I wish we had maniplitives when we were kids. I need hands on stuff to conceptualize what it means. no, I don't make too many people made in the store...unless I want to pay part with cash and the rest on my debit card. that ticks them off, because they can't figure it out!

    I may guess, estimate, and even figure it out in my head.

    but I still check mywork by hand.

    and a calculator.
     
  10. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

    Joined:
    May 18, 2007
    Messages:
    6,291
    Likes Received:
    282

    Oct 17, 2007

    Yes! The folks in the dry cleaners have them! I used to think that was only something in the history books.

    It was so cool, and yet strange to see a lady actually use one to figure out my bill!
     
  11. lcluigs03

    lcluigs03 Cohort

    Joined:
    May 31, 2005
    Messages:
    541
    Likes Received:
    0

    Oct 17, 2007

    i'm sorry, but i tell them to use whatever means possible to figure out the answer. if they know it by heart, GREAT! if not, whip those fingers out! it doesn't take long to use your fingers if you're used to doing it. would i like them to be able to subtract 11-5 without having to count five fingers? YES! that drives me nuts. you know you have five fingers...you don't have to count them. sheesh. other than that...if it alleviates anxiety and helps them, why make them stop?

    just my opinion
    LC
     
  12. eydie

    eydie Companion

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2007
    Messages:
    124
    Likes Received:
    0

    Oct 17, 2007

    Have you ever tried Touch Math? Some children need the tactile and will always want to use their fingers! Touch Math gives the children something to touch instead of using their fingers.
    Each number gets touch point dots.. at first they draw them on the numbers but as they get use to where they dots are they no longer have to draw them, they just touch their point of their pencil where the dots would be, and eventually can just visualize them without touching at all. Our special Ed teachers use this method and I teach it to my students as one of the stratagies for adddition, subtraction, counting money and telling time. Touch Math can also be used for multiplication and division
     
  13. kabd54

    kabd54 Cohort

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2005
    Messages:
    520
    Likes Received:
    0

    Oct 17, 2007

    I teach my students to use a ruler as a number line. It's faster and with a centimetre ruler (yay, metric!!) the numbers go up to 30!! Even my first grade students are quite capable of using the ruler to add and subtract by the end of the year. Beats using fingers - especially since there are only 10 of those!!
     
  14. Miss Starr

    Miss Starr Companion

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2005
    Messages:
    161
    Likes Received:
    0

    Oct 17, 2007

    I had a dyslexic student last year who's tutor gave her this strategy. She would still count on her fingers, but she would put her fingers to her temple and count by tapping her fingers to the side of her head. This helped her move from counting "on finger" to counting "on head" to counting "in head." By the end of the year her facts where pretty solid, but it was with a lot of support from school and a great tutor at home. I liked this strategy though and may use it again if I ever run across another kid like that.
     
  15. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

    Joined:
    May 18, 2007
    Messages:
    6,291
    Likes Received:
    282

    Oct 17, 2007

    hmmm I have a hijack for that...

    somebody showed me a way to help kids remember b vs d

    this is your bed, and they made a fist with thumb pointing up with left hand and said, A-B, and then a fist with right and thumb up, C-D

    remember, you sleep at the head of your bed, and she made them run their fingers along the outside of her fist.

    just like tracing fingers in sand..or sandpaper..

    I think we are winning this battle... :rolleyes:

    tactile learners unite!
     
  16. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2006
    Messages:
    3,729
    Likes Received:
    0

    Oct 17, 2007

    I don't have the touch math program, but I made number strips for my kids with the touch math dots on each number. I used the numbers from my alphabet strip and added dots to those as well. We did one lesson on how to add and subtract with them, and they have been so helpful! I keep them in a cup and they grab them whenever they need them. I am trying to wean my kids off fingers as well. The touch math eventually leads to tapping with a pencil tip, which is a sort of discreet way of counting up or down.
     
  17. mom&teacher

    mom&teacher Companion

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2007
    Messages:
    155
    Likes Received:
    0
  18. Bored of Ed

    Bored of Ed Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2006
    Messages:
    2,230
    Likes Received:
    1

    Oct 18, 2007

    Hm, I've seen the touch math program before but now I think I should really look into it some more. Thanks.

    BTW, to those who think it's not so important to know math facts by heart:
    -I have nothing against calculators. They're a great tool. It's much more important for kids to learn math concepts and operations so that they can use a calculator effectively than to waste tons of time on memorization when it's likely to never come naturally to him anyway.
    - That said, if there is a person who seems capable of learning to be fluent but is stuck on using his fingers as a crutch so he doesn't even try to think or remember, I believe it is worth helping that kid expand his abilities. It will make his life easier and he will feel smarter.

    I started yesterday with the strategies for adding 0 and 10, and the two kids I was most aiming for really got it and they were thrilled that they were able to answer the problems so quickly. Today they still remembered that they were able to do that and thought of the rule instead of looking at their fingers. Next I'll try the harder strategies like skip counting, maybe, or adding 9, and see how they do with those.

    My main issue at hand is breaking their concept that THE way to do math is on their fingers.
     
  19. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

    Joined:
    May 18, 2007
    Messages:
    6,291
    Likes Received:
    282

    Oct 18, 2007

    I guess I am looking at the angle of Gardner's theories of multiple intellgence...some people just are tactile learners.

    one approach would be to transfer the finger counting to maniplitative counting. I think that was my problem. we didn't have those when I was a kid.

    if you can show 10 unifix cubes as tens, and then add 1 to show 11, that is something visual and tactile. eventually, they will get it.

    and it does get tiresome trying to count beyond 10!

    I subbed for a 1st grade, and gave out some math sheets. I saw them run over to a tub for baggie bags with tops and caps inside. I thought, this is interesting. I came over to their desks to investigate. The teacher collected all types of caps and tops, laundry soap, pickle jars, etc. they kids used these as maniplitives. okay, afterawhile, they played with them too!

    again...I guess I am just stuck on using what works...

    just like mirror letters...at what point are they wrong?
    and phonetic spelling...are you looking for process of writing or complete package - grammar and punctuation.

    having a crutch is bad
    constantly telling a kid to take his thumb out of his mouth is bad too
    waiting until he needs braces is a bit too late
    if he does it when he's three...it's too early

    just my opinion

    maybe let them have this last year, like we had recess..well, I didn't because I was in a 5/6 split..to be a kid. next year is 6th grade, middle school...HORMONES...more incentive to be grown up.

    why not start weaning them off after Christmas break??
     
  20. Here2Learn

    Here2Learn Companion

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2007
    Messages:
    143
    Likes Received:
    2

    Oct 24, 2007

    there's nothing wrong with using your fingers. i know other people said they still count on their fingers, and so do i! not all the time...like at the check out line as you said, but there are times when i count with my fingers. i don't have to hold them up in the air and count them individually using my pointer but i still use my fingers. it has nothing to do with not being smart. you are taught to use your fingers when counting for SO long it becomes a habit. even when they can do math without using their fingers they are still going to use them so why fight it?
     
  21. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Messages:
    29,808
    Likes Received:
    1,164

    Oct 25, 2007

    Fingers are the original manipulatives (manus is Latin for 'hand')...
     
  22. TulipsGirl

    TulipsGirl Cohort

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Messages:
    576
    Likes Received:
    1

    Oct 25, 2007

    I heard of an idea that I thought was pretty cute (If you believe that your students need the visual cues to help memorization).

    The teacher made cards of addition facts up until 10, one for each student and herself. She tied strings at the top, and wrote "Hi, my name is:" above the addition fact (kind of like a real name tag!) For that day, everyone's new name was their math fact! Instead of calling on Johnny "Yes, Jonny" she said "yes, 2+3 = 5?" Students called each other by these names during recess etc... Even the principal got in on it! there was lots of giggling, lots of fun, and the pairing of constant visual, auditory stimuli got kids better at their facts... Think about it - You start off memorizing your own "name" so you know when someone's calling you, then the teacher's, yourb best friend's...
     
  23. kburen

    kburen Cohort

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2005
    Messages:
    584
    Likes Received:
    0

    Oct 25, 2007

    I've used touch points since I learned how to count in Kindergarten.....I'm now 24 and STILL use them. I don't think it's a horrible thing for the kids to use their fingers or anything else. We teach them to use manipulatives....we teach them "here is 2 bears, if we add 3 bears how many do we have?" If we teach them with objects, and they can't use those objects in real life can we really expect them to suddenly remember? I don't think it hurts anyone or anything to have them still use fingers....I can't tell you 7 plus 6 off the top of my head....it's taken me years to be able to figure out that instead of using fingers or touch points I can say "7 +7 is 14 - 1 is 13".....Maybe in time they can figure these things out on their own....But I think it sounds kind of bad to just outright say that you don't have faith in your students ability.....Would you like to hear a teacher say that about your child?
     
  24. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

    Joined:
    May 18, 2007
    Messages:
    6,291
    Likes Received:
    282

    Oct 25, 2007

    ditto kb...

    I must admit it looks pretty weird to see a grown person count on their fingers...but if we are teachers..it makes sense! The fact that we are using an age-old skill that still works and is easily recognized should be applauded not condemend.

    for example if you have some kid arguing about conservation of number...and they just can't SEE that this is less or more..if you help them see this on their fingers...it will make more sense!

    last time I checked, I still have 10
    maybe that's why I still use them
     
  25. WaterfallLady

    WaterfallLady Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2006
    Messages:
    2,061
    Likes Received:
    2

    Oct 25, 2007

    We learned how to use them in elementary school. We built our own. It was actually a great tool in understanding what the numbers actually meant and place value.

    I think its a great intermediate step.
     
  26. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2007
    Messages:
    2,051
    Likes Received:
    216

    Oct 25, 2007

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=LXynrhW7tKo

    Some get so good with an abacus that they no longer need the physical abacus anymore...and can do addition of 4 or 5 five-digit numbers in seconds by imagining the abacus.

    I doubt this kid gets stigmatized for "counting on her fingers".
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. ready2learn,
  2. waterfall,
  3. miss-m
Total: 350 (members: 5, guests: 310, robots: 35)
test