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At the school my kids attend, 1st graders are not allowed to count on their fingers in math class. 


If a student was counting on his or her fingers during class, they were instructed not to. 
I admit that the Catholic school my kids attend is very old fashioned in many ways (one of the things I love about it). They are allowed to make tally marks, but for homework we did flashcards every night for memorization with addition. If a student was counting on his or her fingers during class, they were instructed not to.

Â Proud Single Mama, Birth & Postpartum Doula
Student, Aspiring CNMÂ
Â DD ~ 1/7/09Â Â Â DS ~Â 9/22/10
While I agree with PP that finger counting is in and of itself fine, I would be concerned that she is not doing math the way that is her natural way to do it. Over the summer, I would just try to ask her math questions when she just happens to have her hands full. Say you go to the supermarket to buy fruit and she is holding a bag of 4 apples, ask her how many oranges you need to have 8 pieces of fruit.

I never understood that. (I understood your story...just not the mindset of the teacher). Our job is to inspire a love of learning. If the teacher does not love learning something from the student (she obviously didn't want to know your way) then why would the student want to learn from the teacher?

i think that the updating changes the facts a bit. that is to say, some children do learn math in a nonvisual way (counting on fingers being visual), and your child might be one of them, who was then encouraged to learn it in a different way.
i had a similar experience in jr high. i was in the pre algebra class, and learned a specific method of doing this one method of problem solving. i then switched schools, and had to take prealgebra again, because they didn't teach algebra there. the teacher at the new school taught a different method for solving the problems. knowing two methods, i preferred the first one i was taught. i asked the teacher if i could use that method. her answer: no. each test question and homework question was graded in components. essentially, the answer wasn't the only part graded, but how you arrived at the answer. thus, if you ddi the figuring basically right, but had a subtraction error in the middle (leading to teh wrong numerical result) you could still get nearly full credit for the problem. the answer would be wrongdocking off one point of five, but there would be no points taken for a subtraction error, simply a reminder to be careful with the basics. now, i preferred the first method because 1. it made sense to my mind, and 2. i was used to it. it took me quite a bit of work to 'untrain' myself from the original method, because the teacher would dock 4 points for using that method, even fi the answer was correct. so, i had to learn how to use it. it was a nightmare for me. i would end up always figuring wrong somewhere in the third or fourth step (subtraction errors), and then having the wrong answer in the end, and given remedial work in subtraction. my father then suggested that i do the two methods sidebyside. this way, i could figure the right answer with the method with which i was comfortable, and then apply her method and "check" it against the method i prefer. luckily, i was quick at the first method, but i would often be the last to finish the test. the teacher tried to take points for my alternative method, but my father stepped in and told her no. he essentially said i was doing double work to please her grading system, but it was more important to him that i got the math problems right, than i learned her preferred method. i had a lot of problems at that school. LOL anyway, i can understand being concerned about your daughter doing math in a way that is now antithesis to how her mind works with math. it would bother me also. but, i would let it go, and also see if i can find ways to encourage her in math back to her own methods. if that makes any sense. LOL 
Wife to DH and mama to DD(7) and DD(5) ...Lola the Wiener Dog , Faulkner the Little GiantÂ , Ginger the Wonder Cat ,Â Azkaban the blue parakeet, Sunny the yellow parakeet, 3 nameless hermit crabs, and a whole bunch of fish!
Hi mamas,
OP here! Thanks for continuing to post your thoughts on this thread. I guess that I have become cynical about the way math is taught without realizing it. You are all giving me much to think about. 
I'll confess that some days I still count on my fingers. When I woke up this morning, I was trying to figure out how many hours of sleep I'd gotten last night (i.e. could I stay in bed, or did I need to get up). Guess what? I was counting on my fingers to keep track! Mind you, I've also done multivariate statistics and advanced calculus. I'm good at math, but sometimes those fingers really help! 
well, i suppose it is suspect, because i can't even remember that the notation process is called.
but, i was taught one method by the teacher in 7th grade. she was a prealgebra teacher. i was taught the second method in 8th grade by the teacher. she was a preschool teacher, asked to teach 7/8th grades that year because the other 7/8 grade teacher was on sabbatical. so, she taught "by the book." we learned this about midway through my 8th grade year, when the school offered me tutoring. the tutor was a part time math teacher through the university, and she informed me that both methods are correct, but one takes up less space than the other. after that, the tutor was my math teacher, and i was able to forgo prealgebra with the other teacher. 

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