Calendar Time!

Last week I coved all of the different skills we cover during Morning Message. Today, I want to spend a little time discussing all of the skills we cover during the final section of our morning routine - Calendar! 

 *Disclaimer* 
NONE of the images you are about to see are "Pinterest Perfect". They are real life pictures of a well loved, well used calendar that gets the job done! That being said, I have since updated all of my calendar materials so that they look as well as they perform! ;) You can find my 20 different sets of patterned number cards for your calendar, click here!

Calendar Numbers

Here is a look at my calendar area:


I warned you it wasn't pinterest perfect! lol Now it may seem like a lot, but once we get into the routine, calendar time seriously only takes about 10 minutes and is completely student lead! 

First we begin with the days of the week.


A student comes up and points to each day of the week as we sing "The Days of the Week Song" to the tune of the Adams Family. 

Then we practice the skill of passing time by identifying yesterday, today, and tomorrow. We sing a song about yesterday, today, and tomorrow to the tune of Frere Jacques that goes like this:

Today is (insert day)
Today is (insert day)
All day long 
All day long 
Yesterday was (insert day)
Yesterday was (insert day)
Tomorrow will be (insert day)
Tomorrow will be (insert day)
Let's have fun!
Let's have fun!

After I have taught alliteration, we usually practice the skill by having 2 or 3 students come up with a word that has the same beginning sound as the day of the week. (Friday, fish, football)

Next, we move on to the months of the year. Another students comes up and points to the months of the year as we all stand up and do the "Months of the Year Macarena"  

We then name the month that we are in and practice counting how many syllables are in the name of the month.

After that, another student volunteer comes up and leads the class by identifying the pattern on the calendar and extending the pattern to find today's date.


I usually try to find or make calendar pieces that go along with our theme. I also start the school year with a simple AB pattern and then make the patterns increasingly more difficult as the year goes.

The students will identify the pattern by shape (UFO, astronaut, astronaut, rocket), Letter (ABBC), and then number (starting at 1 and ending at the date). Using that information, they extend the pattern by predicting what comes next and adding that piece to the calendar.

After we have our date, another student comes up and updates the 10 frames so that they match our date.

As the year progresses, we use the 10 frame to practice different skills such as subitizing, counting by 10's, and figuring out how many more days until 10, 20, or 30.

Next up, days in school!



A new student helper comes up and adds a stick to the one's place. (As you can see, my fabulous matching sticks that came with the calendar have slowly disappeared and are now replaced with popsicle sticks.) We all count the sticks to see how many days we have been in school (starting with 100) and then change the number at the bottom so that it matches our sticks.

While students are still working on number ID, I like to hand the student leading "days in school" several different numbers so they can show them to the class and the class can "help" him/her find the correct number. It sounds a little something like this:

Student: "Is this number 8?"
Class: "No! That is number 4!"
Student: "Is this number 8?"
Class: "No! That is number 9!"
Student: "Is this number 8?"
Class: "Yes! That is number 8!"

After days in school comes tally marks! The tally marks match how many days we have been in school.


I always start the year leading and modeling the calendar for my students and then gradually release one part of the calendar at a time over to the students for them to lead. You can probably look at the tally mark chart and guess when students began to take over that section. It's not perfect but it sure is authentic! ;)

The student who leads this section of the calendar first points to each group of tallies as we count the tally marks we already have by 5's. Then, the student says our "tally mark chant"and adds another tally to the chart.

To remember when to make a vertical line and when to cross the 4 vertical lines with a diagonal line (and yes, even the students use the words vertical and diagonal. Parents can't believe their 4 and 5 year olds actually know what those words mean but we start using the vocab in context on day 1!) we say this cute little poem and do hand motions to go with it.

One, Two, Three, Four, (move hands up and down vertically for each number)
Number Five Shuts the Door! (Move hands across the body diagonally)
Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, (move hands up and down vertically for each number)
Number Ten Draws a Line! (Move hands across the body diagonally)

I cannot begin to tell you how much I love this rhyme! It really has help my students draw tally marks.

If you would like to download a free printable of the chant for your own calendar, just click the picture below :)



Up until the 100th day of school, we add an apple to fill in our giant 100's chart. I have made enough numbers to take us through the last day of school because I used to use these little apples as one looooong number line, but this year I use them as a 100's chart. I created the apples so that all of the odd numbers are blue apples, the evens are green, the 5's have a purple circle, and the 10's have a pink background. This really helps the kids not only see number patterns but also count by 2's, 5's, and 10's!
 If you would like to snag these numbers for yourself, you can find them here.



For the weather, we use this cute freebie found here. (There are several other options for types of weather in the freebie but where we live, these 4 pretty much have us covered!)



And sing this weather song:

What is the weather, weather, weather?
What could the weather be today?
Is it sunny, sunny, sunny? (raise arms above head to make a big circle)
S-U-N-N-Y today!
Is it cloudy, cloudy, cloudy? (move hands like you're forming a big fluffy cloud)
C-L-O-U-D-Y today!
Is it rainy, rainy, rainy? (wiggle fingers down in front of you like rain falling)
R-A-I-N-Y today!
Is it windy, windy, windy? (move arms like your hula dancing)
W-I-N-D-Y today!
What could the weather, weather, weather,
What could the weather be today?

We also discuss how a thermometer measures temperature. When the temperature is warmer, the red liquid inside the thermometer goes up and when it is cooler the temperature goes down. As the year progresses I also show them a real thermometer and we begin to check it for degrees fahrenheit.

Finally we work on positional words! Since we are the Amazing Ants, naturally we practice this with an ant and a picnic basket ;)



The ant is thumbtacked to the board and we move it all around the picnic basket practicing our positional words. For example, I may move it above the picnic basket, far from the picnic basket, inside the picnic basket, etc. This is also useful when we are talking about antonyms or opposites. For example, "The ant is inside the picnic basket. What would be the opposite of inside?" I also teach them synonyms for positional words like under or below, beside or next to.

By the 2nd semester I have pretty much phased this part of the calendar routine out because the students all have a good understanding of positional words. Every now and then I will throw it back into our routine for review though.

I hope my calendar routine breakdown has been helpful! :)


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