Thursday, August 9, 2012

My Calendar Routine: August

One of the most common questions that I get is about my daily calendar time. I decided to go ahead and just walk you through how my calendar is set up for the first week of school.  I will try and keep updating it as the year progresses, as my calendar time/area changes throughout the year.
I use Every Day Counts Calendar Math- with a twist.  I take the things that I think are best from it and then add in my own things that support the Core and my student’s needs.

A little background…

·         I have one calendar helper that stays the same for a week.  They lead the class, while I stand back and focus on questioning and proximity
·         Almost everything is done chorally.  I have the added benefit of knowing American Sign Language, so my students say (or sing) and sign.  Everyone is accountable for participating. (I make a big deal about how it’s their responsibility to help the Calendar Helper!) J
·         There are some things that are done EVERY DAY, no matter what. I have other additional things that are added in, and changed as we move through the year.  Today’s posting is all about the basic routine. These are the things that I do every day. J

We start with discussing the pattern. (The old core wanted us to label it- like A-A-B, etc. but the Common Core does not- so from now on, we will just talk about what observations we have about the pattern, briefly, and probably not every day.)  Then, together, chorally, we say the date “Today is, Monday, August 27th, 2012. This is the season of summer.” (The calendar helper points to each part as they say it.)

Having them marked with simple cards allows even your lowest students to participate- because all they have to do is match the cards to the word on the calendar.

Then we look at yesterday, today, and tomorrow. We sing this song (the tune is “Frere Jacques”):
“Today is Monday, today is Monday, August 27th, August 27thYesterday was Sunday, tomorrow will be Tuesday, two-thousand twelve, twenty-twelve.”

(The whole class sign the words as we sing it, the calendar helper changes the signs.)
Then the calendar helper adds a straw, and we count how many we have in all.  As soon as we are done counting, we say “We have been in school for ___ days this year.”

Then the calendar helper changes the number (indicating how many straws there are.)
We have an enhanced sound system in my classroom, so the Calendar Helper uses a microphone and asks the following set of questions, the class answers chorally, and the Calendar Helper records their responses. (We’ll pretend that it is the sixth day of school.)

“What’s the number of the day?”
“The number of the day is six.”

(There is nothing to write for this question.)
“How do you write it as a numeral?”
“The way you write it as a numeral is _____”
(The students at this point are writing it in the air, the Calendar Helper will write it on the chart.)
“How many hundreds are in the number six?”
“There are no hundreds in the number six.”
(The Calendar Helper writes “0” next to hundred.)
“How many tens are in the number six?”
“There are no tens in the number six.”
(The Calendar Helper writes “0” next to hundred.)
“How many ones are in the number six?”
“There are six ones in the number six.”
(The Calendar Helper writes “6” next to hundred.)
(I don’t start Expanded Form until later- sometimes as early as day 31 of school, but usually closer to day 50.  It depends on what my class is ready for. Until then, I cover it with post it tape.)
“How do you write six as a word?”
A student is selected to “cheer it out” (I model this the first few days)
“Give me an s!”
Class: “s!”
‘Give me an i!”
Class: “i!”
“Give me an “x!”
Class: “x!”
“What does it spell?”
Class: “six!”
(The Calendar Helper writes each letter as the class says it.)
Up until the 100th day of school, we add a dot sticker to a ten frame.
“1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6! We have been in school for six days this year!”
The Calendar Helper adds a sticker, and then points as the class counts.
We do even/odd later in the year, when they are ready for it.

This is what my student's see until they are ready for Expanded Form. 
This is what the chart really looks like
We glue on the number to the Counting Tape. (Okay, I actually have to put it on because it's up so high, but a lucky student puts the glue on the number! So literally my onlyphysical responsibility during this entire time is putting it up.)  I pre-print the numbers on different colors of paper (so 1-9 are on one color, 11-19 are on a second color, and so on. All of the tens are on one particular color, different from all of the other numbers.)

We make a tally mark for every day we are in school in the month. The Calendar Helper marks it, and then the class counts. They end with saying a sentence “We have been in school for six days in August.”
Each month has a different picture for them to write the tally marks on.
Last year my class really needed to see the sentences written out. I have the names of the months on Velcro so that they are super easy to switch each month.

We have a "Question of the Day".  To start the year, I put a picture up (this is a picture from my Fancy Nancy Calendar).  The students tell a number story about the picture.  For example, you could say "There are five people.  Four are kids, one is an adult."  After a few days of doing that, we add in saying "Four and one are the same as five" at the end of their story.

The last thing we do is add to our 100 board pocket chart and write the number on the hundred board. I have both because we look at different patterns in each.  The pocket chart goes red/white. The written hundred board we write in with one color and then mark things they notice- like fives and tens. Every year it develops a little differently but we eventually find all of the important First Grade patterns- and beyond! (This year we will be adding in two additional rows as the new Core wants First Graders to understand numbers to 120...)

 The Weather Boy/Girl is up next! We say “Weather boy! Weather boy! What do you see? Tell us what the weather will be!” (Obviously we substitute “boy” for “girl”when our weather person is a girl!) J
The weather person uses the microphone and gives us a complete sentence “Today the weather is sunny.” Then they add to our weather graph.

I love Target's $1.00 pocket charts! They are perfect for so many things!
You could use any symbols you want. This is the set that I have. (Thanks, mom!)
The symbols for the graph are just stored in a snack size ziplock, the weather person just pulls out what they need.

Again, that’s the basic routine for my calendar.  There are LOTS of variations and things I add in at different times of the year. I will try and keep you updated as they come up this year!
And here it is, all put together!
In case you were wondering...
The two red pocket charts are actually pocket charts designed for CD cases.  I found them on clearance at a local teacher supply store. They. are. awesome!
This side has the weather graph pieces, the numbers for the Counting Tape, glue sticks, assorted pointers, markers, and the days of the week- that have Velcro on the back.
Everytthing they need is right in a pocket.  Whiteboard markers, dot stickers, straws, rubber bands (for the tenth day), the words to label our Hundred Board, etc. All ready to use!!

The math vocabulary pocket chart is used for the vocabulary from our current unit of study.


  1. Where can I get the monthly days of school like the watermelon? Thanks.

  2. I love the idea of having a calendar helper for the week and them leading the class!! Thanks!

  3. How long do you spend on these lessons each day?