The game is simple once your kids know how to sit in a circle. So maybe after October. Don’t laugh, if you teach Kindergarten you will understand that learning how to form a circle, to scoot BACK to make more room, etc. is quite an accomplishment in Kindergarten!! Now, we do it with ease and I couldn’t be prouder! I need a t-shirt. “My kinders can sit in a circle without help.”
Once you are in the circle, the beginners version of this game is to simply count. I start at 1, the person next to me says 2, the person next to them says 3, and so on. It is a great way to practice one to one correspondence and beginning counting at the start of school! Many teachers have probably played this version and just not given it a name.
As the year progresses, I change it up and I will start by saying “10” The person next to me “11” and so on.
I will also ask questions such as “If I say 13, and we count by 1’s in this direction, what number will Billy say?” This is tricky for some of them – it is fascinating to see their thinking and build off of it!!
I currently (in March, 2nd trimester) have us play circle count by counting on from any number within 100, counting by 10’s and counting by 5’s. For example I may start at 67 and have us count around the circle by 1’s, or I may start at 20 and have us count by 10’s!
In the spring I plan on playing an addition version! I will say a problem such as “1+1 is 2” The person next to me will say “2+1 is 3” and next to them “3+1” is 4, and so on (understanding that plus 1 is always the next number). There are so many ways to play, and I can always change it up depending on what my group needs most!
My students LOVE circle count and if we miss it they are very disappointed! Something about the anticipation of saying their number combined with not know what number I will start with gets them all eager!
They are also so helpful and kind to one another. They know to give their friends wait time, and they feel comfortable saying “help please” to request peer assistance (this is practiced too to help everyone feel more confident to play).
That’s it – so easy! I recommend giving Circle Count a try – I have truly seen improvements in my kinders counting – especially ability to count on from any number since we have done this!
Meeting standards AND having fun – my favorite thing!