Calendar Math is one of the quickest ways to integrate student leadership, mathematical thinking, and routine in the classroom. It can foster problem solving skills, communication skills, and even leadership. All of this happens in a matter of 10-15 minutes, I kid you not!
Above is a picture of my calendar as it is set up for the 2017-2018 school year. I have been in the same classroom for 4 years now and my calendar has not looked the same or even been in the same spot for any of those years. Just like the classroom appearance and structures change with every new group of students, so does my calendar. In this post, I’m going to help you understand the why, what, and how behind my version of Calendar Math.
Why do Calendar Math?
My school has several kits of the Every Day Counts Calendar Math for each grade level. I can tell you that I have never had the complete set (I have the box, but pieces go missing as teachers move in and out – you know how it goes). Consequently, I’ve been forced to get creative in my methods. As with many resources like this, I love looking at the scope and sequence the company has designed, however, there are often gaps or areas that do not align with the rest of the curriculum in your classroom. Even though there were gaps, I KNEW I wanted to use Calendar Math.
Apart from being an expectation at my school, Calendar Math is a fantastic time to boost basic math concepts. Because so much of Calendar relies on routines and patterns, your students who may not otherwise speak up are filled with confidence in at least one of the answers every. single. morning. Not only are they becoming filled with confidence, but they are also hearing explanations from their peers every. single. morning. about general math principles that your students need to know. Through songs and movement (which I’ll hit on later in this post), student leaders, and strong visuals, students are being exposed to crucial components of numeracy (and our calendar!).
What do I do?
As I mentioned earlier, my kit is missing a LOT of materials and it flat out does not align with a lot of what we teach in first grade. So, I made some supplements! I print these on white paper or colored paper. Depending on time, I either laminate these or stick them in page protectors. If they are in page protectors, I keep the templates that are not being used in a skinny binder next to my calendar kit. This makes it SO easy to trade templates out as we prepare for new skills.
Some components of my Calendar Math are straight up about calendar. For example, I thought it was important for students to see “the dash date.” Every day, we talk about how to write the date in the shorthand format. We use the opportunity to talk about why is August written as 8, what do the numbers in the middle represent, and how the 17 is the short way of saying 2017. We also use this as a simple guide for reciting, “It is….August 5, 2017” (or whatever the date is) every morning. Again – I’m all about routines and this is a routine that kiddos can latch on to VERY quickly.
My school also does a vocabulary word (or Word on the Street if you’re really cool) every week. We incorporate math by counting the vowels, the consonants, and syllables. All about that integration, nawwuddimean? 😉
We also have a number of the day. The first card is what I use for days 1-20 of the school year. For obvious reasons of the ten frame, we cannot use it past those digits. Regardless, it is a great way to reinforce visual representations of numbers.
As the year progresses, we do switch over to more standards based templates. Don’t worry, the templates tell you which standard they align to ;). Because this is a growing bundle, there is not a template for every standard, however. As I notice my students needing reinforcement or review of a certain skill, I simply reach for my binder of templates and plug a new form up for review the next day. Some templates stay for a week, others stay for a month. You know your students and what they need!
Of course, some templates are just plain fun 😉 We LOVE to tally how many teeth we’ve lost as a class each month. The kid think it’s hysterical to imagine ourselves as grandmas and grandpas with no teeth when we total our tallies at the end of each month. 🙂
Here is what my classroom looks like now for the first week of school:
-The calendar cards for August from the Every day Math kit.
-days of the week cards
-all about the number template
-tens and ones organizer (side note: this is my favorite labor of love from my first year of teaching. It includes 4 tens frames with velcro dots in 31 of those spots. I also cut and laminated 31 circles with a giant hole punch and attached the opposite side of the velcro dots onto them. Every day of the month, kiddos add a dot to the tens frame to show the number of the day in the month. When we have added the dot, the kids then change the index cards in the pocket below to show the number as tens and ones.)
-Not pictured in this image but is visible in the picture at the top of the post is my student constructed hundreds chart. I cut 10 sentence strips and taped it below my calendar. Kids will get a post it for each day and write the number of days we’ve been in school until we reach 100. This is a great visual!
How do I do it?
Calendar Math fits in nicely with my morning meetings. We do a quick morning meeting and flow straight into Calendar Math. The best part? I only lead Calendar Math on Mondays! Each week, one of my students chooses to be Calendar Helper!
Check out that engagement, riiiight? ^^
On Mondays, I lead Calendar for two reasons:
1) Mondays require a lot of extra housekeeping
2) I can introduce new components
As students lead, I am always nearby to answer questions, but it is totally up to them to call on students, to redirect student attention, and to teach misunderstood concepts. Typically, when they ask “Can I…?” I reply with, “I’m not sure, you’re the teacher!”
I do monitor time for the students, though, because some of these sweet angels need encouragement to choose students quickly. Calendar should not take any longer than 10-15 minutes so we do NOT get to every part of the Calendar every single day.
And it’s okay.
The kids are learning. They’re learning time management, efficiency, and CONTENT.
At the beginning of the year, I teach a few calendar songs that my students will whip out all year long:
- Honestly, I do not use the music. I demonstrate how to do the macarena and sing the song on my own. Newsflash: kids don’t care whether you can carry a tune!
- For this song, I do play the song SOMETIMES. Typically, though, we just hold two hands up in fists and lift a finger for each day we say. This helps to reinforce that there are 7 days in a week.
Here are the lyrics for another song that I learned in college, but I am not sure where it comes from:
“Today is Thursday. Today is Thursday. Thursday, Thursday, Thursday, Thursday, Thursday. Yesterday was Wednesday, tomorrow will be Friday, BUT today is Thursday!”
We do not sing this song every day, but sometimes the kiddos request it. It can obviously be adjusted for any day of the week. 🙂
Click the image above to download ALL of the templates you see above in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store…and more!
What about you – how do YOU do Calendar Math? Comment below!