With a strong start and falling in love with math, the students will be able to keep building on what they know no matter what happens.
Hook Them from the Start
On the first day, and each day after that, I begin the day with a morning meeting. This is a fun but very structured and routined part of the day. The students gather in a circle. The we start off with the greeting. Each student says, “Good morning” to the person next to them. Then we begin sharing. Three students a day can share some good news in their life or something fun they did with their family or friends. We then do a fun game, song, or activity. Here is a great place to use numbers with the students without calling it math!
One math morning meeting game is called Buzz. In this game, we decide which multiple will be the word buzz instead of saying the number. We may first start out by using Buzz in place of multiples of 2. So we count one by one around the circle, and when a number lands on a student that would be a multiple of 2 that student says the word, “Buzz” instead of the number. When the students are stronger, move on the multiples of 5 and then multiples of 10. To make it even more of a challenge, you can always speed up the counting pace! This creates a great high energy to start the day!
Another game is called Subtract Attack. In this game, the students can roll or toss a foam ball around the circle. They go across a chart with subtraction facts to 20 on it. The student holding the ball calls out the subtraction fact while the student who catches the ball says the answer. Keep the chart up as long as you need to for this game so students in need have that resource.
This meeting time is also a great opportunity to integrate some real world problem solving. Use the students in the circle and call on a few to go into the middle of the circle. Have some props such as markers or other school supplies. The students can create an “act” of the problem they need to solve. You as the teacher can narrate what is happening. The students sitting around the circle will work together to solve the problem.
This is a great way to involve the class physically in math. They get very excited to be on the stage to act out the problems.
These activities can be very powerful at engaging the students in math concepts. They are completed quickly before the day really begins. They, however, will provide the students with a positive energy about math and some preview of skills and reinforcement before the actual math block of the day begins.
On the first day of school, students may feel nervous or scared. Ice breaker games are usually a great way to calm those jitters. Using this morning meeting time to play math games will help to ease anxiety and give students a fun dose of math! This is a great routine to keep with your students everyday, not just on the first day of school. Each morning you can use this time to give one skill for fluency and reinforcement in a fun and high energy way.
I have found that integrating math into morning meetings is powerful for not only math concepts, but also supports students socially and emotionally. This positive energy boost will set for a great day!
- Classroom Teacher
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