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Counting Around

By William Stewart
Age Range: 5 to 11

This sounds a silly activity but it is effective, and can be used to teach counting, sequences, even numbers, odd numbers, etc

All the children stand up, begin counting anywhere, and as soon as a child hesitates, they have to sit down. Begin again, clicking fingers to increase speed. The last child standing is 'really cool', so they say!

It's not disheartening or humiliating, just fun, and I can see those who have sat down actually mouthing the words.

The following idea was contributed by Marsha Wright...

Here is a variation to this idea. If a child gets an answer wrong, they have to sit down. However, when the next child makes a mistake, if the child already down immediately knows the answer, they may stand back up. If more than one child is sitting down, the next "downer" around the circle clockwise gets the first try at the correct answer. It is actually rare for a student to actually sit during the game; they tend to just crouch waiting to spring back up when they know the next answer. (This is good because it keeps children who are sitting down still paying close attention to the counting!).

To add additional challenge for classes who are getting confident at counting or as a fun review game for older grades, we play "Zut!". A large die is rolled in the center of the circle of students. The rolled numeral becomes "Zut!". Now as children count around the circle, any number that contains that numeral is replaced with the word "Zut!" The double-digit number becomes "Zut-zut!" (Example: If the rolled numeral is 3, the counting would begin 1, 2, Zut, 4, 5, etc. Then would continue to 28, 29, Zut, Zut, Zut, Zut-zut, zut, etc. replacing any number with a 3 in it with the word "Zut!"