How Many Functional Life Skills Can You Teach in 5 Minutes a Day?

What if I told you there was a fun way to review math concepts, practice functional life skills, and introduce new topics… in under 5 minutes? Use math meeting to teach skills in a different way and watch your students improve!

Image: Piggy bank with toys. Text: Improve Your Math Meeting with this 5 minute anticipatory set

What is this magical anticipatory set I speak of? I bet you’re already doing something in your classroom similar to this technique. It’s math meeting! I’ve been amazed at how effective this anticipatory set can be… and the best part is that kids enjoy it.

Never heard of it? It’s comparable to circle time or morning meeting, but more geared to, you guessed it, math!

Math meetings are an activity that more teachers need to know about. They’re a great way to introduce and reinforce calendar skills, place value, money concepts, functional life skills, adding, regrouping, and even social skills. What better way to start off your math lessons?

What is a Math Meeting?

A math meeting is a like a math- themed circle time or morning meeting. You can make it as advanced or as simple as you want to, depending on the needs of your class. I do my math meetings before our math lessons as an anticipatory set to start us off.

Math meetings usually incorporate concepts such as calendar skills, counting, and other math skills. It will often start off with the calendar, counting up/ down the days of the year, and other math activities. At the end, you can mix in your topic of the day for a smooth transition into your lesson.



1) Math Meetings Provide a Consistent & Predictable Routine.

Image: Math Meeting Resources. Text: Go Beyond Circle Time and see how math meeting can work for youHumans are creatures by habit. We generally crave predictable and structured routines. We like to sit in the same chair at the dinner table. Many of us prefer doing things in a certain way, such as loading the dishwasher. Uncertainty and unpredictability can be stressful, so we generally like having a set schedule and knowing what they’ll need to do for the week.

Students with autism crave predictability and organization even more. They can especially benefit from a structured and consistent daily schedule. Math meetings are the perfect way to provide that daily dose of consistency while reinforcing academic skills!

2)  Math Meetings Provide Social Opportunities to Engage with Math Concepts.

Image: Math manipulatives scattered on table. Text: Say Yes to better math lessons. Teaching tips for math meetingInstead of starting your math lesson with a worksheet or workbook Do Now, math meetings can provide a more social alternative.

Incorporate the skills from the worksheet into your math meeting instead for a more lively and memorable lesson. Invite students to sit together and interact with hands- on math materials.

They’ll have opportunities to work on turn taking, listening, social interaction, and language development. You can’t get all of that from a worksheet.

3) Math Meetings Combine Academics and Functional Life Skills.

Image: Math resource with piggy bank image with coins on top. Text: How to Teacher functional life skills in 5 minutes a dayDuring a math meeting, you can incorporate calendar skills, money concepts, math facts, place value, and problem solving. These are important math skills for a range of elementary grade levels. You can make your meeting as basic or challenging as you like, depending on your students’ needs. Throw some division in there (“If there are 96 days left in school, how many more Mondays do we have until summer break?”). Use your meeting as a quick gathering and warm up for the day’s math objectives. The possibilities are endless.

Tips to Implement Math Meetings Effectively

I’ve used math meetings with non-verbal students with limited academic skills. I’ve also used them with more advanced students. Math meetings with preschoolers and upper elementary students. There are so many possibilities and options that math meetings can work with a wide range of classroom settings.

How you implement math meeting will depend on what is appropriate for your class. Math meeting in a non-verbal autism classroom would look different from a math meeting in a general education setting. Preschoolers need to focus on different skills than older students. Determine which skills you’d like to incorporate and plan from there.

You Don’t Have to Choose Between Circle Time and Math Meeting.

You may already be brainstorming ways to use math meetings in your classroom. I’ll share my math meeting approach, but it may be different from what your students need. That’s okay! Use math meeting in whatever way works for your class.

I like using math meetings in addition to circle time. In the morning, I start out with a typical circle time (or morning meeting, depending on the grade level). I tend to leave out the math components so I can save those activities for my math meeting.


How I Used Math Meeting in My Classroom

Then, after lunch we gather in my math center and do our math meeting there. This is when I like to count out the days of the month (identifying numbers and counting up). We add a popsicle stick to our “days in school” collection and determine if we can group our single popsicle sticks into a ten yet (addition with regrouping).

We then add a penny to our “bank” each day, checking to see if we can trade up for any bigger coins (coin identification, subtracting, and equivalency). I also like to count by ones, fives, tens, and twenty-fives with coins to for added money practice. Maybe I’ll throw in some multiplication or division for older students (“I want to buy a book for $2. I have 6 quarters and 4 dimes. How much more do I need?”)

Once we are done with our daily math practice, I introduce the day’s topic. I like to start off with an easy math problem to get them thinking about that concept. Then we wrap up our math meeting and start our lesson!


Work on IEP Goals During Math Meeting.

All of my math meeting activities reinforce the daily life skills that my students have in their IEP goals. Take a peek at your IEPs and use your math meeting as an opportunity to work on them.

Math meetings provide a structured and consistent routine for students to practice their daily math skills. It’s a perfect time to incorporate math concepts that don’t always fit in with the day’s lesson. You’ll be amazed at how much further your students get with the skills included in your daily math meeting.

Math Meeting Materials Ready to Go in One Click

Cover3Love the idea of a math meeting, but don’t know where to start? Teachers are busy people and don’t always have time to create all the materials they want to use. No worries.

My Calendar Time Materials resource includes exactly what you need for a great Math Meeting routine. If you’re short on time and just want a quick and easy download, it’s just what you need.

My Calendar Time Materials resource includes calendar pages for each month of the year, along with tokens that you can paste on if you prefer an alternative to using bingo markers. It also comes with place value mats with and without ten frames so you can use them with a variety of manipulatives.

But my favorite part of this resource is the money concept components. You can stick real coins onto the piggy bank poster, or use the coin pieces included with the resource.

The set even comes with a “Making Cents” (Get it?) poster to help students identify coins and determine if they can trade up.

Save Yourself Time and Get My Math Meeting Resource Now


Get your math meetings off to a great start with my Calendar Time resource. I used it in my own classroom for years and have been amazed at how well my students did with it.

By the end of the school year, I was always shocked at how well my students were counting, using coins, adding, and even regrouping!

Seeing my lower performing students use a place value mat independently has confirmed over and over that math meetings are absolutely a great way to start each math lesson. College admission essay writing service

Here are a few related items you may be interested in:

(These are affiliate links from which I receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you)

Leave a Comment