30 Years Connecting . . .

Teachers to Teachers and Teachers to Students

Alicia Economou still remembers when she was 5 years old and taught her grandmother about TouchMath. Alicia, now a college graduate, recalls, "They were questions I could answer. I understood TouchMath well enough to explain it to an adult."

"Grandma" is Barbara Economou, at that time a kindergarten teacher in Southern California visiting her granddaughter in the Bay Area. Alicia had brought TouchMath worksheets home from kindergarten, and when Barbara saw them she was enthralled.

"I was 500 miles from home when I found TouchMath," Barbara remembers. "I started quizzing Alicia about it. I thought it was such a great way to teach math. So I contacted her teacher Anne Perkins. I couldn't wait to get home and share it with other teachers."

And share she did. Returning home to Beatty Elementary School in Orange County, Barbara made such a persuasive argument, she convinced her principal to order TouchMath materials.

When the kits arrived, Barbara shared her discovery with her colleague Diana West. Diana was equally impressed. Having taught elementary school students with diverse backgrounds and learning styles since 1964, Diana immediately recognized the power and flexibility TouchMath brought to her classroom.

"We used TouchMath in math labs. Students worked at their own pace in their own space. We also used TouchMath in homework packets after introducing a skill in class."

Diana included TouchMath in her lesson plans for several years before retiring and again when she began substituting in Lisa Franco's kindergarten class at Gompers Elementary School in Long Beach.

"I was using flashcards with the children, the traditional kind," she recalls. "I noticed that some of them were getting it and some weren't. So, I went online to the TouchMath Web site and ordered materials."

When Lisa Franco learned that Diana had spent her own money on TouchMath resources, she wasn't surprised. Lisa says, "Diana is one in a million."

And Lisa is still excited about using TouchMath in her classroom today. "I'm using it now with my students who have difficulty with math. I still have students who are unable to count or who don't understand the relationship between numbers, so for them it's the perfect program."

When something works, the word gets around. Sharing and helping comes naturally to teachers. Whether they discover it in the next classroom or on the other side of the globe, teachers are helping TouchMath become one of the fastest-growing and most effective programs available for mathematics education.

"I think it's exciting that just from talking with my grandma, TouchMath made it down to Southern California and now tons of kids are using it. Now that I'm entering the field of child development, my experiences with TouchMath remind me how instrumental even simple, everyday interactions can be when you're working with children." - Alicia Economou

"Who knows how many children's lives have been touched because one teacher told another? What I've been able to see over the years is the interconnection between people. I love connections like that. I see them all around me and I acknowledge them. Follow the trail of TouchMath and all the different lives it touched along the way. It made all of those connections. Over 30 years. That's the test of time." - Diana West, Teacher, California

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