The beginning of this semester brought in a few new students to our classes. Adding new students is always a challenge. There are routines, expectations, new language, and much more to learn. Now that we are finding a groove again, I decided to add some new things to our circle time.
A normal circle time in my classroom includes an opportunity to greet everyone in class (including those that are not with us on that day), to choose our jobs for the day, and to do some sort of music or movement activity. Recently, I added an opportunity to practice counting as a whole class. Before we greet our friends, we count how many people are sitting in our circle which, incidently, “Is not a circle! It’s an oval!” Keri reminds us.
Each day I pick a new ball to pass around. We have an assortment of small, spiky, bumpy, smooth, shiny, colored, and even twisted balls. As we pass the ball each student says their number. When we first started this activity, most of my students were able to make it from one to ten. As we continued to practice, the pattern of the “-teens” began to make sense. Raul and Maggie still sometimes say “three-teen” or “five-teen,” but the idea is there! Now, we are able to make it to 17 and even 21 without much help.
It is fun to see these activities transfer to other aspects of classroom life throughout the day. When deciding what game to play at the end of our day last Tuesday, Nicoletta suggested, “I want to play duck duck duck grey duck!” Keri resounded, “Me too!” Which was followed by “Me three!" "Me four!" "Me five!" "Me six!" "Me seven!" "Me eight!” - coming from others in our class.
This daily practice has really made each of my students aware of the concept of counting and how it can and will apply to their real lives. I know that by the end of the school year, Raul and Maggie will have no trouble with 13 or 15!