This year I wanted to make our work with the calendar more meaningful. I have to be honest in saying that calendar time was always a bit of a chore for me, and the first thing to get dropped from our day when we got busy. However, the routine of it is important, particularly in helping kids to grasp the passage of time and place value. So, this year I explored on the internet for a while and found some great inspiration.
First I decided to create an interactive calendar wall. There are tons of these all over Pinterest, and you can often get free downloads to help you out. I did, although I can’t for the life of me find the blog that I got them from. (If you recognize my board, please let me know so I can properly credit it!)
I think it is important to choose a few concepts that you want to focus on daily. Since there are so many things you could add to your board, you have to be selective. I wanted to focus mainly on place value. However, next term I plan to add a money component, and have kids practice “building” the date with coins.
I then created a calendar book for each student. I used a combination of forms I downloaded as well as my own. If you want my form, you can download it here: calendar binder freebie. However, you will need to edit it by gluing an image of the correct month on to the page. I prepped all of the versions I would need for the term, which made it nice and easy for me to copy as needed. I was also lucky enough to download Jessica Meacham’s calendar binder forms, and chose to use a few of them. Since then, Mrs. Meacham has moved her site, and unfortunately I can’t find the forms to link to for you – sorry!
Each morning my students had the job of prepping their calendar book. They needed to get it out, glue a page in for the day (or you could have them add a page if you were using a binder or folder with tabs), get a pencil, and set it at the carpet. That way they were all ready with the necessary tools when we sat down to start the day.
At first we went through every component of the page together. I would model how to find the day on the calendar, and I used my own calendar book to show them how to fill in the pages. I would select a child to write the date in tally marks, as well as the number of days we had been in school. And we worked together through the place value charts.
The last step was to flip to the back of the book, where the kids represented how many days we had been in school. I got a plastic sleeve for each child that would normally be used for collecting trading cards. Instead, we set it up to represent the hundreds, ten, and ones places. The kids would add a dot each day, and when we got to ten they had to move the slip from the ones to the tens place. This is exactly the same thing that many teachers do with straws and the triple pouch. However, I liked that my kids had to do it for themselves, in their own book.
After a while my students became very accomplished with their calendar books, and they were able to complete them independently for morning work.
Calendar is still not my favorite time of day, but I feel that this method has helped it to become a more meaningful classroom routine.
What do you do for calendar work?