Not everything you do in class needs to be strictly academic. Sometimes you can just have fun.
But if you're looking to incorporate math in your morning meeting, I have five math morning meeting or circle time games for you that your students are gonna love.
It's easy for morning meeting time or circle time to kind of get pushed to the side because there's so much content that we need to get through. But a morning meeting is a great way for you and your students to develop a good relationship in a fun, low-stress way.
And here are some ideas of how you might incorporate a little bit of academics, and a little bit of content in there, but still really focus on having fun together versus just following your curriculum.
The first one is a game to get your kids moving. I call it the In-N-Out Dance-a-thon.
The way that this game works is you're gonna need some kind of card for every student.
So let's say that you are doing shapes. You're gonna have a shape card for every student that you're gonna put in a circle. Each student is standing with a card in front of them in a circle, and then you put the music on.
Everybody walks around the circle, and when you stop the music, you call out a shape, say a triangle, and everybody who has a triangle leaves the circle, goes into the middle of the circle, and gets to dance a little bit while you keep the music going and everyone else keeps walking around the circle.
When you pause the music again, all the people in the middle come out, and then you call a new shape.
You can do this with shapes, you can do this with numbers, you can do this with any kind of vocabulary if you want to practice and get that repetition.
This is a fun way to get your kids moving and get them used to some number recognition or vocabulary that they might not know before.
Now, you can play this game where if your shape gets called, you're out, but sometimes kids can have trouble with, like, if you're in or out, and sometimes you do need to learn that.
But I find we could just keep the dancing version is more fun for the kids because everybody gets to participate the whole time that we're playing.
What Number Am I Writing?
For this game, your students partner up and you give them an unsharpened pencil or students can use their finger.
You give your students a range, a number range, so let's say 1 to 10, and then the first partner tries to write gently on their friend's back a number.
So if they're writing the number 1, they can feel it, and then the person who's getting the number written on their back needs to try and guess what number it was.
Then they switch places and the other person gets to try and write the number.
Now, especially with young kids, you're going to want to talk about not pushing too hard, and this is why I use a pencil that is not sharp because they don't want anybody to get hurt.
Some kids don't like to be directly touched by another kid if they are going to use their fingers, but if your students don't really have a problem with that, you can just do it that way.
But my students really love this game. They like the guessing aspect, and it gets them to focus on figuring out what like picturing what numbers look like without actually being able to see it because they're feeling it.
But also for the students who are writing the number, if they're writing the incorrect number or they're not getting their formation right, their partner is not going to be able to guess. So they have to practice getting their formation understood by their partner.
This game is really quick to do, and it can last as long or as short as you need it to.
The next game is inspired by Kagan Cooperative Learning Strategies, and it might have an actual name, but I looked for it. I couldn't find it. Be warned, you will need some space!
But basically in this game, you're in groups. I usually do four, but it can be three, it can be two, but usually in groups of four. I would give my students some challenges.
So I would say I want you to create a square using your body.
The kids would have to figure out or think about, OK, what does the square look like?
Well, it has four sides. Together, the four of us are going to have to figure out how to create a square, some kids just use their fingers and then in a group of four, they each take a side, they make a square.
Some kids, when I say you can use whatever you want, take that to heart and use their whole body.
So they'll lay down like one person lays down straight.
The next student lies down perpendicular and they're trying to make a square using their bodies. This game takes a lot of talking and communicating which are great skills to practice!
You're going to need to talk to your kids about being mindful, about not accidentally, like, not kicking a friend or something like that when you're trying to make the shapes. But again, another one that kids get into, it's great for your kinesthetic learners and it gets them to think about what a shape looks like to be able to create it with their bodies.
I gave shapes as an example, but you can do this for numbers, you can do this for problems.
So you might give students a problem like 20 plus 40, and then they have to figure out, OK, what's the answer? And then figure out how to make a 60 with their body.
You might have one one group being like half of the group trying to make the six, the other group is trying to make the zero. It's just a way to consider for kids to talk about, OK, what was the answer to that problem and then if they agree, they try to make that number.
Catch My Pattern
For this game, I would usually start by doing a simple pattern, maybe like an AB pattern, like I do a clap, snap, clap, snap, clap, snap. And then the kids, when they figure out what your pattern is, will join in and continue that pattern.
So by the end, everybody should be in the clap, snap, clap, snap, same pattern as you.
You can make different kinds of patterns, and once the kids get the hang of it, you can have them be the ones to create a pattern and you join in to catch the pattern that a student created.
You will want to kind of make sure they have a grasp of patterns or not try to make it too, too complicated, because then if they can't follow it, we can't follow it.
So that's something I try to talk to the kids about.
It has to be a pattern that you can remember so that we can catch it. Otherwise, we won't catch the pattern that you're trying to create.
What's My Number?
In this one, you have a number between whatever range you want. So it can be one and ten, it can be one and twenty, it can be one and a hundred.
And then you have your students ask you questions, and then you guys try to eliminate the numbers that can't be so that they can guess your number.
The more you play this game, they'll develop strategies for asking questions that will get rid of the most numbers. If I picked a number between one and a hundred and a student is asking me, is it thirty? Is it thirty-one? Is it thirty-two?
That's not an efficient way to get to the number. So they might start saying, does your number have a three in it? Does your number have two digits? Does your number start with a one?
Then you can start eliminating more numbers from the pool that they can count or from the pool that they can guess from to try and get to your number.
So there you have it, five math-inspired games that you might want to add to your morning meeting.