What we do:
Each morning I put a question on the board with 2-3 responses. I go around our morning circle (quickly!) and ask each child the question, tallying the responses. Then our class counts the tally marks and I ask, “Which is less popular?” “Which is more popular?”
With older students, I would ask questions such as “What’s the difference between the two numbers?” or “How many people responded all together?” and have students describe how they figure out the answers.
This routine is great for getting the students to talk about number. Anytime the responses have equal numbers of tally marks, kids excitedly say, “They’re equal!” When one response is way more popular than the other, I always hear, “They are so not equal!” It’s also a perfect opportunity for setting the stage for the day’s learning, reminding students what they did the previous day, or even getting student feedback on a learning experience.