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Saturday, August 2, 2014

Diggin' Into Next Year - Daily Calendar Math

Welcome to week 10 of Diggin' Into Next Year. This week each post will be a topic of the blogger's choice. I am going to talk about daily calendar math review.
I know that if you have been teaching for even a year in the primary grades, you probably have some type of calendar procedure already in place, after all, math calendar activities have been around for a long time. My first model for a calendar came from Math Their Way, then I later made some changes as I began using the Box It Bag It math program. Later as I moved up in grades I began using Opening Eyes to Mathematics and my calendar become more of a conglomerate of each of these programs. (Whew, does that date me!) I was picking and choosing what I thought was the best from all of the programs. Remember this was all before the internet. (Dating my teaching, dates me! Ugh...I need to stop doing that!) I took 7 years off of teaching and during that time the internet explosion occurred and when I went back to teaching, websites like Mrs. Meacham's were there as resources. I quickly realized that her calendar binders were exactly what I was missing in my calendar time - student participation. That sounds negative because my students were participating, but unless they were called on they weren't responsible for completing anything. Mrs. Meacham's calendar binders seemed like the perfect solution. I thought they would keep my students more actively engaged and keep our calendar time more student centered. Of course, I liked all of my calendar activities and had to create my own version of her calendar binder to match my activities.

Here's a look at my calendar wall:

I know it has a lot on it, but I don't do everything everyday.  Calendar activities we do everyday in first grade include:
  • How many days have we been in school?
  • Today's date is...
  • Calendar pattern
  • Graphing of the weather and lost teeth
  • Tally marks for the month
  • Weekly graph
  • Incredible Equations

In third grade I only used how many days have we been in school, the monthly calendar pattern and incredible equations everyday.  These are so easy to differentiate. The difficulty of the calendar pattern and requiring fractions, decimals, multiplication, 3-digit numbers, etc for incredible equations make it easy to change grade levels. If you are looking for great calendar patterns for grades 2-5 look at Curiosity Bait by bby publications. They have some hard patterns that are perfect for upper grades. One of my favorites is in State Bait and the pattern requires kids to look at states that are east and west of the Mississippi River. That's hard! Plus their Curiosity Bait sets include small pieces that your students can use to keep track of the pattern. No one needs to try and draw the state outlines in little boxes to keep track of the pattern.

Now if you are like me, you are probably wondering why patterning isn't found in the CCSS and whether students need it or not. Well my husband is a papyrologist and one night at dinner with one of the leading papyrologists in the world they were lamenting over the difficulty that some of their graduate students were having in reading some ancient greek papyri. To paraphrase our guest, he said, "The students who can find patterns can succeed in translating, but those who can't will never be successful with translating papyri." I was just sitting there flabbergasted, I had never considered that my husband's entire field needed kids who could discover patterns and to top it off, I had just sat through a day of looking at the CCSS in math and had realized that patterning was missing. So bring back patterning in your calendar time, maybe they won't all be papyrologists but learning to see patterns is still important.

Off my soapbox and back to calendar activities - everything else rotates. I really want this to be a review and sometimes even a pre-teach of what's to come. That way it helps us keep all of our math skills. Now this is where you can really make calendar work for you. Think about the skills, strategies, and number sense routines that you want your students to be proficient at. Those are the daily activities you want to rotate through. In first grade I use ten frame boards, but in third grade I used 100 frames. In first grade I use up to 3 digit place value activities, but you can easily expand that for older students or how about throwing a decimal in there. Use hundreds frames for multiplication and division fact families. There are so many ways to focus on the skills your students need. And you can add those to daily pages for your students. I try to focus on one or two activities at the most each day because my calendar time needs to have quick pacing and be done within 15 minutes. But since I rotate through about 8 activities, we do each one just about every week.

I am going to start the year off with some easier pages. There's no need to do something too frustrating for students. I hate tears! This past year it was so hard for my students at the beginning of the year and then when I was watching them in May it really hit me how much they had grown. They were doing pages with ease that caused tears at the beginning of the year. That's when I realized more scaffolding would be better. So I have created some easier pages to start off the year and probably take us through the first term. Whatever your grade level, consider making your daily tasks difficult and let your students grow into them. You can always start out with easier versions and move up to the more difficult. Here are some of my easier pages for the beginning of the year:

Calendar math is just a great way to review math topics continually throughout the year. It's for helping students build number sense and keep up their skills in all areas when you are off on a new topic during your math block. I will keep my students working right along with the whole class as we complete our calendar review each day. I will also continue to use the 1/2 inch three ring bingers. My students keep their calendar binders in a crate laying on it's side - you can see one of them in the picture of the calendar. The other is off too far to the side. I wish I only had 12 students! I 'm using 3 colors so students can find their binder quickly. Each month we staple the pages we have finished together and they take them home and then we put in the next month's pages.
If you teach first grade, I have put together directions for everything on my calendar wall. My First Grade Calendar Math includes all of the activities I use, student pages for the entire year and all of the labels and masters for the wall.
My Monthly Calendar Patterns includes 12 patterns that are appropriate for first grade. They are sold as a set or individually. Each piece is formatted as a 3 1/4 inch square, but you can adjust them to fit any size calendar by changing the custom scale on the print window in Adobe.

Since this week everyone is doing a topic of their choice, you will want to head on over to Where the Magic Happens to find links to other bloggers who are also participating in the Diggin' Into Next Year linky party. I hope you have found some great tips and ideas for a great new year. Thanks for stopping by.

1 comment:

  1. Looks like your kids get a lot out of calendar time! I used state bait when I was a sixth grade classroom teacher and my kids loved it!

    The Math Maniac