Dipping Into Your Own Pocket

Like so many of her colleagues around the country, Karen Earwood has purchased educational materials like TouchMath with money out of her own pocket. Like so many of the nation's teachers, such sacrifices are evidence of her dedication to teaching and to the success of her students.

A versatile teacher from La Promesa Elementary School near Albuquerque, New Mexico, Karen Earwood has experience teaching at every grade level, including high school. And she has used TouchMath throughout her career.

Karen believes that TouchMath helps her students bridge the gap between concrete objects and abstract concepts. As a developmental specialist, she feels that traditional approaches to teaching math force children to skip too quickly from counting objects to memorizing facts.

"TouchPoints work like manipulatives," says Karen, "and children can progress easily to abstract symbols. TouchPoints allow students to figure out a problem without relying on memory alone. It also helps them internalize math concepts while giving them lots of computation practice."

Karen has observed that the TouchMath multisensory approach addresses the needs of all learning styles, so teachers need not modify lesson plans to accommodate predominately visual, tactile or auditory learners.

"I am able to reinforce and remediate students who have problems, while simultaneously teaching the same lesson to the rest of the class."

Her confidence is often validated: "When students leave my second-grade class, go on to third grade and take the Terra Nova test, they do better; they are stronger mathematicians. They do not develop math phobias. These kids think they can do anything in math – anything.

"They are doing 'big kid math,' and it seems easy. Other teachers tell me that children from my classes are more prepared."

But is TouchMath worth the investment, even if the teacher must pay for the materials herself? The answer comes easily to Karen: "TouchMath is one of the best values out there. You buy what you need. And because of the reproducible masters, you don't have to keep reordering."

When she chooses to order a TouchMath kit, Karen relies on the skills she has learned in her own classroom: "I don't even use a calculator when I balance my checkbook. I don't have to - I use TouchPoints. They're faster than my calculator."

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