Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Calendar Mania and Freebies!!!

Do you do calendar time in your classroom? Of course you do! Almost every primary classroom uses calendar time to "set the stage" for the day and to review math skills in a quick, authentic way.

My students LOVE calendar time! They are just crazy about it! They love the routine and knowing exactly how to "run" calendar time. I love that calendar time provides a wonderful daily review of critical skills and provides a "family" atmosphere each day. It's a routine....and kindergarten kids LOVE routine! Am I right?

Each day we begin our day with a morning message (to discuss the day's events) and then we go right into our calendar time.


                   
 This is where we read the student expectations before beginning calendar. It is the first page in the Promethean flipchart. We recite it with the kiddos - and yes the kids LIKE reciting the expectations!


 This is my "Months of the Year" page. We sing the months song. I record them singing it and play it as we sing along. Each month we move a little star to the new month to keep us on track!


This is the actual calendar. What do we do with this page?
1. Count the days in the current month
2. Extend our pattern for the month
3. Find the day (run our finger up to the day)
4. Sing Days of the Week song
5. Drag the days to today, yesterday, and tomorrow
6. Write the day in long form (written out) and short form (using numbers only)



 This is our weather graph page. We sing "What will the weather be?" from Dr. Jean. Then someone gets to come be the "Weather person" and drag a "weather box" to the day's corresponding weather. We use this graph to compare and discuss weather. "This month we've had 4 snow days and 3 rainy days.""Have there been more snowy or rainy days?"(Hey it's July in Texas -- a girl can dream, right?) Doing this each day and in varied way helps the children take on and use the important math vocabulary......more, less, equal, as well as, see graphs as useful tools. It doesn't get much more authentic than that!


 Here you see our "How Many Days in School" page. At the beginning of school we add one each day until we reach the 100th day of school. Starting on day 101, we start counting down until we become 1st graders! They love this and allows us to really start thinking about numbers that come before and after and those bigger numbers. We always talk about why we can't mix up the numbers. For example, if we are on day 63, we can't write a 3 and 6 because that wouldn't be 63. I find this page REALLY helps with number sense. Anyone need help working with number sense?


This page is our birthday calendar. As each child has a birthday (or in some case - half-birthday), he/she gets to add their name in the color they choose. (This is a big deal for some reason! :0) And of course, we sing "Happy Birthday"!


Here's the tooth tally graph......like the name implies - we tally graph every time a kinder kiddo loses a tooth.....this graph become super important the second-half of the year when they are losing teeth left and right! Don't you just love how kinders get so excited about counting and graphing things?....especially when it has to do with them?



This page is great! It's a 100's chart, but you can use the concealers to cover up numbers on the 100's chart and ask which number(s) are missing. You and the kids can use the highlighters to spotlight numbers too.

This is the "number of the day" page and it allows you to choose a number (1, 2, or 3 digit) or you can use the spinning wheel to come up with a random number. How cool is that?! Then the kiddos help make the number using base ten block (they are draggable!)....


Piggy bank is a way to teach coins and values. You can type in an amount in the arrow and students can use the coins and drag them to the piggy bank. At the beginning of the year, I simply tell them to "drag a penny to the piggy bank".....that helps with coin identification. 



Well, this is it! I hope you enjoyed seeing my interactive Promethean calendar. If you use a Promethean board AND have Activinspire software you can purchase this calendar for each month. Here is the one for September. CLICK HERE

FREEBIE TIME

You can try out July's FREE

I hope you enjoy!!! Remember you have to download Activinspire software (you can get a free version) to use this. :)


Now I also use Calendar Binders and my student calendar binders go with my Promethean calendar. I find that students stay more engaged throughout calendar time and they just get more from the time than sitting and staring blankly at the board. In kindergarten, they get so excited using the binders because they feel like they are doing "big kid stuff". 


Here's a picture of the binder. I'm holding it up. I literally buy the cheap Walmart binders for my classroom. I find it's easier to buy them for $1 or so each than to ask parents to do it. But, my teammates have requested it as a part of school supplies. It's up to you. I'm a control freak and want all the binders to be identical. Below you can see the binder put together - super simple. One thing I do at the beginning of the year that isn't shown here is to place the pages that won't change much into sheet protectors......like the months of the year and days of the week sheets. 

I really love having the students open to these corresponding pages as we do it whole group. It helps keep those especially distractible kiddos more focused because it's right there in front of them. Do you notice the pages are exactly the same as the ones I use in my interactive calendar?? YEP! That's intentional!

Below is a blank monthly calendar sheet. Obviously this sheet is changed monthly.

Each day, as a group, we write the day's date in the box. I have the kiddos use their fingers to find the next blank spot on the calendar -- look to see what yesterday's date was and write today's date. Then, they run their fingers up to see the day! This activity is so interactive and teaching real life skills!
I'll tell you, I used to have a principal who hated calendar time -- she just didn't "get" it. She thought it was a waste of time. Well, I knew better and so for my formal evaluation, I decided to change her mind (yes it was kind of a risk, but it more than worked out!)......After the evaluation, she told me she just couldn't believe how much I was able to get those little ones to do with the calendar binder. Now look - it's not about having a paper/pencil activity.....it's about them being held accountable for what we during calendar time that's the beautiful part. Kiddos can't sit there and stare into space (you know the ones).....they have to actively being doing the work!






Again, everything we do on the Promethean board is what they are doing in their calendar binders. The only page that is new each day is the last sheet shown. It's their recording page for the day. In fact, it's optional, but I love doing it because it really brings together everything else that we do during calendar time .

I have this Calendar Binder set for students in my TpT Store in case you think you could use it in your class too. Even though it match and correlates to my Promethean calendar, it can be used without it....in fact, I actually used the student calendar binder before I made my Promethean calendar. So, this set definitely works for those that use an "on the wall" calendar set up. :)


The last thing I want to show you (because I'm so darn proud of them) is my new calendar cards set!


This is my newest infatuation!! I just love these cards. For those that use an "on the wall" calendar set -- these month headers and calendar cards will liven on your calendar and make your kiddos take notice! They are so bright and colorful!!! I remember back in the old days when I used to buy calendar pieces at the local teacher supply store.  Geez it was expensive! I'd pay $20-$30 for a set and if I wanted "cute" calendar cards, they'd cost $4-6 for each set....it was crazy!

This set comes with a large monthly header for each month of the year. Seriously??? It's gorgeous! Each month comes with 2 different sets of calendar cards from 1-31 -- 62 cards per month......744 calendar cards throughout the year. I also included 39 special occasion cards for special days and events. 


Someone asked me about the amount of ink required to print these cards -- I mean this pack is 142 pages of bright and colorful cards......here is what I say:

1. Figure up how much you spend on these items in a teacher supply store. It's outrageous! Plus, if a card comes up missing, you can't just print a new one... (that always seemed to happen to me so I had missing cards in each month. :( I also gotta say these are WAY cuter than what I ever had from a store..... just saying :)

2. I am not printing the whole set off at one time. I just print one month at a time. So after a full year, I'll have a full year of cards printed and ready for the next year. But if I ever need to re-print something, I can.

3. And this is the clincher! When I printed my July calendar set my printer was already screaming at me that I was low on ink. Ever had that happen? uughgh!!! Always and it was about midnight and well.....I decided to give it a try. Guess what - the whole month printed beautifully! So even with super low ink, an entire month can be printed......which I thought was crazy cool!

(The calendar cards are 2 1/2 in. by 2 1/2in)

FREEBIE TIME!!!

Time for another FREEBIE -- Yes another FREEBIE!!! Click below to get the July Header and the July calendar cards. You can give it a spin and see how you like it!!


Ok! Whew -- that was a long one!!! I hope you found something useful.  

Leave me a comment below and tell me about YOUR calendar time! :)






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