ways to help a 3rd grade stop counting on fingers

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by yarnwoman, Oct 3, 2011.

  1. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Oct 6, 2011

    Originally Posted by callmebob
    By 4th grade they should have that function. But part of it is about smarts. Whether we want to admit it or not, some students are smarter than others.


    And this can be evaluated in 3rd grade? Help.

    Counting on fingers is not an indicator of intelligence. You might not realize how your statement sounds to others. It sounds very elitist and condemning. Memorizing basic facts and spitting them out is not an indicator of intelligence.

    Those quick, easy-to-learn students make us feel like we are doing our job. They make the day go more smoothly. Those who struggle force us to pull patience and creativity out of ourselves. They challenge us to find a new way to present lessons so they can understand and advance. They can be exhausting. But they are not "Un-smart!"
     
  2. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Oct 6, 2011

    I have to smile, yet again. As a deaf student who grew up mainstreamed in a hearing school with no IEP and often very little or no support and to come out with not only a semblance of education in spite of all I missed from the actual teachers, be able to make almost perfect grades in my college career and score above average on several sections of most achievement tests I've had through the years, I promise you I do not think of myself as unintelligent. I'm smart enough to recognize there is always someone smarter than me but I do not think of myself as unintelligent by far.

    Going back to the original Op, we have clarified where we stand on whether it is a big deal or not that the child is still counting on his fingers. The Op might appreciate some specific skills and strategies to work on with this student. Any ideas here?
     
  3. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Oct 6, 2011

    CnG, thanks for getting the topic back on track.
     
  4. MissHunny

    MissHunny Comrade

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    Oct 7, 2011

    I did not read all the post yet, so excuse this if someone already mentioned it.

    I use a free website called xtramath.org with my students. They practice their facts everyday for about 5 minutes each and I am able to track all of their progress. They love going on it too!
     
  5. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Oct 7, 2011

    Personally, I don't see a huge issue using fingers to help count, especially at that age.

    Right now, with my second grader, we're working on number patterns, tricks, doubles, etc to add numbers in your head. So, today, I gave him, again, several mental math problems to solve such as 53+27, 48+35, and so on. He did use his fingers to keep TRACK of where he was at, like, when he broke the 5 apart into 2 and 3 to add 48+2+30+3. He can do these all fairly quickly. I think that is more important then telling him to stop using his fingers.
     
  6. knitter63

    knitter63 Groupie

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    Oct 8, 2011

    We were told this year that we are not to give timed math tests. According to research-this method does not work. We are teaching the above mentioned strategies, and incorporating number talks. (marilyn burns)
    My district is focusing on understanding why math works-rather than memorization of facts or rules. Since the majority of our state tests require problem solving rather than computation, I guess they figure this makes more sense.
    Ask me in June if this works.So far, my kids LOVE number talks, and they are learning to compute faster in their head.
    PS- I have to admit, I did have my own doubts about timed tests. When they come to me in 5th grade, children who are supposedly "math masters" (able to do 100 +,-,X or / in 5 minutes) are still trying to do the 100 addition problems well into October. :eek:hmy:
     
  7. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Oct 8, 2011

    I absolutely agree.
     
  8. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Oct 8, 2011

    Some of this has got me thinking...I'm teaching my fourth grade kids to memorize their multiplication facts. So far, this is going really well and they seem to love it- they're all very hard workers and this is something concrete that they can practice and get better at, and then see results. I'm also doing the "multiplication sundae" thing where they color in a piece for each number 1-10 and then have a sundae party at the end when they know them all. I've always heard from regular ed teachers of older kids that kids who don't know thier x facts really struggle to do any kind of upper math, since often the x is just a small part of the problem. It seems though that a lot of people are saying math is totally going away from that...what do you upper school math teachers think? Am I wasting these kids' time teaching them to memorize thier facts?

    As for the fingers, I have plenty of much lower students (than the 4th graders I was talking about) that I flat out teach to use their fingers. They need that concrete thing that they can do anywhere. If that's the only way they can get the answer, I'd much rather them use the strategy rather than simply guessing and getting the answer wrong. I do find it hard though, because both of the kids I'm teaching this way have parents that are always getting on them about not using their fingers, so then the kids feel guilty about it or feel "dumb" for having to use the manipulative.
     
  9. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Oct 8, 2011

    You are not off base for teaching the students to memorize the facts. It is an asset. People, including me, were being contrdictory to the absolute that if one can't memorize their facts they won't be capable of doing upper level math. This is not true. While upper level math becomes much more time consuming and much harder, understanding the concepts is a totally different ball game.

    My contention, from what I have seen in our local schools, is that teachers aren't including learning multiplicaion or addition facts in the school day. They present the facts and strategies and the rest is up to the kid and the family regardless of whether those methods work. They also frown on using fingers and push, push, push the timed tests and the flashcards long before the students have the facts accurate by any means. They have little accurate practice and little in-class repetition. "They don't have time." is always the excuse and then complain about having to move so slowly later because the "parents didn't work with the kids to learn the facts" while many parents are fuming because the flashcards aren't working and the kids are getting frustrated because no where is it a good situation. Most parents don't know alternative ways to teach facts so the teachers then recommend computer games which is also a guessing game. Forget repetition, forget skip counting as an aid to help with reasonableness.... It becomes a huge blame game between the parents and the teachers. My point to this little rant - teaching in class is a great approach since you probably have different methods for doing so rather than just flashcards at home.
     
  10. kab164

    kab164 Companion

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    Oct 28, 2011

    Touch Math. Not as obvious as fingers for students who struggle with math facts!
     
  11. applecore

    applecore Devotee

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    Oct 28, 2011

    :thumb:
     
  12. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Oct 29, 2011

    Same here! I still use my fingers to count on occasion as well. :)
     

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