Monday, March 18, 2013

TouchMath Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum Review

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When the opportunity came around for us to review TouchMath with the Schoolhouse Review Crew I was hesitant at first. Not because the program didn't look great, but because I was already reviewing another math program with Tabitha. But when Amelia saw me checking out the sample videos for the TouchMath Tutor Kindergarten Software, she got so excited over the thought of having her own math curriculum that I had to try to get a chance to review it. I was so excited to be chosen as one of the reviewers of the TouchMath Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum. 

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I was completely surprised to find out that TouchMath has been around since the 1970's. Through the years it has been developed and expanded to continue to reach the TouchMath goal of "Reach and Teach All Learners."  TouchMath is a multisensory curriculum (which is why I was so interested in using it). Children use their senses of seeing, saying, hearing and touching with the hands-on manipulatives, software program and the worksheets.  

Here is a short overview of the Kindergarten program.
" The TouchMath Homeschool Kindergarten Program is designed to ensure learner success with two critical concepts:
(1) understanding number associations and using them in addition and subtraction operations, and
(2) learning basic geometry concepts.

The TouchMath approach scaffolds the learning from using concrete objects to using pictures to using numbers. Multiple representations are included on the pages so that learners at all developmental levels are successful. Students will move naturally from the concrete level to the abstract level as they are ready."

The complete overview is included in the Implementation Guide which is part of what comes with the download of each Unit.

The Kindergarten Curriculum has 4 Units (A, B, C and D) which are each broken up into 6 Modules. You can purchase all of the Units separately or you can get them bundled together. Once your child has completed all 4 Units she will have completed a full Kindergarten Program.

Each Unit Download contains:
  • The Implementation Guide
  • Guides for the 6 Modules with Instructional Strategies
  • 90 activity sheets (15 per module)
  • 6 assessments (1 per module)
  • Real World Connections
  • Answer Keys (which are included in the instructional sheets)
  • Progress Monitoring
  • Vocabulary
The Implementation Guide contains:
  • The Introduction (including the philosophy and overview)
  • Sequence of Skills
  • Overview of each unit
  • Details of each Module (description, how to use, etc.)
  • TouchMath Online
  • Teaching Aids
  • Homeschool Classroom Guide
  • Common Core State Standards
  • Research
There is a LOT of information in the Implementation Guide. I still haven't been able to take it all in. I have focused more on the Module Guides where the instructions are for each lesson (or I feel I wouldn't have been able to start the curriculum in a timely manner) . 

The Module Guides start with an overview of that module, then they move into the common core standards. The Objectives are listed with prerequisites, vocabulary and recommended materials. They then move on to the Instructional Strategies where the nitty-gritty of each lesson is contained. There are pre-activity suggestions and then instructions are given for the activity sheets (this is also where you will find the answer keys). There are reminders every so often to provide additional practice if your child is not demonstrating understanding. There is then a review section before the post-test/assessment is to be given. Additionally, you can print out a progress monitoring record to check off as you go along as you see fit. Finally, you will find the printable activity sheets. 

There is just so much information that has come with the download of these Units. It is a very thorough program, however, there is no way I could print out all of this information. I have decided to read most of the information on my computer, while printing out the Instructional Strategies, Activity Sheets and Assessments. I am keeping the instructions in one folder and the activity sheets in another folder. 

While the program can be completed as is, there are suggested manipulatives to go with it. We were blessed to receive the TouchShapes, the 3-D Numerals and the TouchMath Tutor Kindergarten Software.

As I mentioned, Amelia was extremely excited about this curriculum and I couldn't contain her when the box of manipulatives arrived on our porch. 

We are working our way through Unit A slowly as Amelia is only 4 1/2 right now. The recommendation is to do the lesson for 2 1/2 minutes per your child's age.  There are times I set the timer and she wants to keep going, other times we have only gotten through 1 activity sheet. You will find tracing, coloring, and cutting/gluing lessons, but the majority of the first module,"Counting to 100" was tracing the numbers to 100, while sometimes coloring the pictures. There were a couple of cutting activities that I decided to have Amelia glue the finished work onto a piece of construction paper so we didn't have cut up papers in our folders.

The second module moves on to "Representing Numbers Using Manipulatives." In this module we are counting along a number line and finding groups of objects of the number for each worksheet. 

I like that the instructions are right next to a smaller copy of the actual page which is also the answer key.

Amelia was thrilled to be able to use the Touch Shapes for some of the worksheets.

They come packaged in one plastic bag, and Amelia had fun searching for the correct shapes to place over the shapes on her activity sheet. However, I decided it would save time to separate each shape into their own plastic zippy bags. The shapes that are included are: circles, squares, triangles, circles, rhombuses, and hexagons. The first four she already knows and we have always called rhombuses diamonds, so there was only one new shape to learn. The TouchShapes are made of thick plastic and are thick and durable.

Though we had received the 3-D Numbers they were not mentioned in the module toward the beginning (well,only to say they were optional materials). However, seeing as she was learning about them in the software I thought we would use them at our desk time too. I have removed them from the box and placed them in a basket for easy access. 

I am so glad we were able to get the 3-D Numerals as the TouchPoints are obviously the heart of this curriculum. The children learn to associate the numeral with the amount of points on the numeral. There is a specific touching pattern that the children learn.  A CD with the Teacher's Guide is included. Here you will find instructions on how to teach the counting patterns, plus printable sheets with the numerals both with and without the counting patterns. There are also suggested activities included.

In addition to counting with the Touch Points, Amelia wanted to trace the numerals, not with her finger, but by tracing around them with a pencil. I decided if she was going to trace the numbers she could also place the Touch Points on, so I purchased some smiley stickers for her. We have been working on each number as we reach it in Module 2: Representing Numbers Using Manipulatives.

Amelia  really wanted to get on the Software. As I stated above, I have not been able to find where in the curriculum you are supposed to start this. I was concerned about starting it too soon because it starts out by introducing the Touch Points, and they haven't been introduced in the module yet. I have allowed Amelia to use the computer software a couple of times so far. She is learning where the Touch Points are and what order to touch them in. She loves UnoBear, our computer guide. He is quite friendly and encouraging. The girls (yes, I say girls because when Amelia is getting on to use the software her sisters crowd around) have enjoyed the animated sections at the end of each lesson. After each section is completed in the chapter one of the animated characters will move. Seems to be a great motivation to complete the lesson.

Disc 1 has lessons on Touching/Counting Patterns (with the touch points), Number Concepts, and Addition. Disc 2 contains Touching/Counting Patterns, Backward Counting, and Subtraction. Each topic starts with a pretest before moving into the activities. There is then some review and a posttest. Additionally, the children are introduced to several different states and themes as they work their way through the lessons.

TouchMath is a great math curriculum for hands-on learners! 

TouchMath is available for grades Pre-K through 2. Each grade has the 4 Units (A, B, C, and D) which are broken up into 6 Modules. You can purchase each downloadable Unit for $59.95 or you can purchase all four Units in a grade level for $199.95. Keep in mind you will have to print out, at the least, the 90 activity sheets. I have found it very helpful to also print out the Instructional Strategies with the directions and answer key so I can have it right there and not have to run back and forth to my computer. 

Additionally, you can purchase the TouchShapes for $30.00, the 3-D Numerals for $79.00 and the TouchMath Tutor Kindergarten Software for $99.00 for a single license. These are not the only manipulatives they offer. You can see a list of the additional manipulatives at the bottom of the TouchMath Kindergarten Homeschool page.

Members of the TOS Review Crew were able to review either the Pre-K, Kindergaren, First or Second grade curriculum. You may check out the reviews here.


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