read alouds

Keep it Fresh: Calendar Time!

I have an honest confession to make... I do not like calendar time! :-O I know this is a favorite of many, but boy oh boy I just didn't like it, until this year! I got so bored doing the exact same thing every. single. morning. I could tell the kids did too. I always felt like we were wasting precious learning time. As time went on, the kids got super squirmy too. Maybe it was just me, but I just couldn't get it down and calendar time fell to the wayside, as in-it didn't exist.

This year, I started with cute calendar cards that had the number of the day and all that fun stuff. It worked great at the beginning of the year. Loved it! Then, I noticed we were just doing repetitive stuff, we mastered the skills and were ready to move on. So, I ripped down those cute cards and changed our calendar 'stuff' to not so cute 'stuff.' 

Our calendar time consists more of things that we are currently learning, or things that I see we need more practice with. So, here is my 'not so cute' calendar. ;-)

Next, year I have all intentions of having header cards ready to hang up for when we add a new skill to calendar, but for now. I just write it on the board.

We still count our days in school. Before we did add/subtract 10. We did skills like before/after/1 more/1 less. The skills are just progressing as we learn. I love it, and I get to assess these skills every. single. day!

Now, we are at the point where we can fill out the 10 more/less, 1 more/less table. It's great, continuous practice. After we fill out the table, we identify if the number of the day is odd or even. The kids write it on a whiteboard, show me and then, one student explains WHY it is odd or even. We are always talking about our tens and ones, and odd and even is where it starts!
Sometimes, a students comes up to the board and draws an example of why the number is odd or even.

Afterwards, we organize our base 10 blocks under the 10's and 1's. We redo this every. single. day. I think it's so important to practice counting these! It's easy when they're already up there. I ask students 'trivia questions,' such as: who can tell me how many ones I need to make 58? Then, we put 8 cubes where they belong. Then, I ask how many tens do I need for 58? Then, we place the longs where they belong. We talk more about the longs/cubes too and remind ourselves of how many ones make a ten, etc. I don't like to teach something and then leave it. So, we keep skills going with my 'always changing calendar."

After, we work with base 10 blocks. We break apart the number 58. Then, the students write the number in expanded form. They can write it in expanded form, but they're still working on the why. So, we hit this every. single. day too!

Two weeks ago, we learned how to add 10 to any  number. It's a tough skill and there are so many patterns. Each day I give a start and an end number. The students count by 10's on their board. We share and then we discuss the patterns we see. So, far the kids have come up with a bazillion patterns that they've seen. There is no way we would've come up with these patterns if I taught this for one week and then just said, 'bye, bye!!' lol I love working with it each day and working to notice the patterns.

Before, I write the 'answers' on the board, the kids complete the task on their own. They've gotten to the point where they get ready for calendar, come to the rug, look at the number of the day and start the 10 & 1 more/less table.

Right now, they're using a whiteboard. It works perfectly fine!

I ask students to only do one part of the calendar at a time. I don't want them doing the whole thing on their board and then we go over all of the parts. I think breaking it up, helps to keep their brains active and learning! It's easy to zone out if we talk about it all at once.

When, they come to the rug. They split their board into fourths. They are able to start their more/less table right away. Then, they're asked to wait, so we can go over it.
Then, the students need to write the word odd/even in the second box. They hold it against their chest and show me. We then, share our thinking.
Third box, students are currently making the number of the day with base 10 blocks.
Fourth box, expanded form.
After we do each part on the board, we talk about it.
Then, when we've went over all parts, students erase their board and do count by 10.

Before we did counts by 10, we worked on these skills: 

1. Counting on from any given number
2. Number formation
3. Counting by 2
4. Counting from 1-20 - circle odd/even numbers
5. Counting by 5

The number reversals in my classroom have improved IMMENSELY and I really believe it's because we literally count and write numbers every day!

As we go through the answers/skills. I ask students to self-assess. If they got it right. They give themselves a smiley.
Later in the year, I would like to introduce levels of understanding to students and begin to incorporate it here.

Once, calendar is over. We move right into math. The kids erase their boards, sit on it, place their cap on their marker and set it by their foot. Yes, there were lots of giggles when we started this because Mrs. Hursh made them sit on their boards. But, now-it's just our norm. They do it fast and they're ready for our quick math mini-lesson before our math workshop rotations!

At this point, the kids have already been sitting for about 10 minutes. Which means, I maybe got a good 5-8 minutes left of focus... if I'm lucky!!
Our mini-lessons for math come RIGHT AFTER calendar time. Sometimes, I introduce a game, station sort, we sing a song or I simply introduce a math workshop activity that they may find confusing. All of my direct teaching for math happens at the teacher table, so I don't need to use much of my time direct teaching here.

If i teach the kids a sort for a mini-lesson, which I do about 2 times a week- we do the sort over 2 days. Then, they are free to do it during their math game station.

I'll be back to give another run down of math workshop.
 It's changed since my last post.
I hope you gathered a few ideas for your calendar time with your littles!! :-)

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