This activity went through many different varieties before finally solidifying into this version due to its effectiveness, cooperative nature, and the fact that it just never gets old.
- Students (and/or teacher) stand or sit in a very small circle, close enough to touch each other practically.
- Pass a ball, stuffed animal, or whatever suits you around the circle from 1 (or 0) to 5.
- If the ball is not dropped between 1-5, expand the circle one step, or one small amount (if sitting).
- Continue 6-10, but if the ball drops, keep the same position but start back at 6, until you reach 10.
- Proceed outwards every unit of 5 until its too hard to continue or students aren’t taking it seriously.
This game increases in intensity as you progress, which is lovely due to numbers getting harder as one progresses, so the focus level increases with difficulty (especially helpful for 11-20).
- Can use a tennis ball and ball must bounce 1 time before being caught. (a safer option with harder balls)
- Can use intervals of 10 before expanding.
- Can count down from a given number, instead of up.
- Can count in 2s, 3s, 7s, etc. instead of 1 by 1. In this case, perhaps the teacher can simply command when to expand instead of a set number of successful passes.
This activity works very well to solidify 1-30, as students get many chances to work out the order/pronunciation of these tricky numbers, through engaging practice, failure, and eventual success. 11-19 just don’t make logical sense in English, every discover that?
“Teaching” in the title is in quotes because there really is no need to teach numbers in the traditional sense of the word. Mere exposure to correct examples, and a focused and engaging activity to practice is all that is needed!
How do you teach numbers? How did you learn in a foreign language?
Leave a comment or question below, and I will be happy to reply.
Thanks for reading this far!