26.7.16

Is "Calendar Time" a Thing of the Past?

One of my most favorite parts of teaching Kindergarten and first grade is Calendar Time.  It's a wonderful way to start the day with routine, a good time to review math skills, and go over the day's schedule. As a first grade teacher ten years ago, I prided myself on my calendar bulletin board.  It was all-inclusive; covering topics from the days of the week to the changing seasons to classroom jobs and everything in between.  It was expansive; filling an entire bulletin board! Above all, it was cute, color-coordinated and trendy. (Of course!) I loved that board and the time my students and I would spend every morning reviewing concepts, sharing, and prepping for the day ahead.

When I returned to the classroom from an intervention position to teach Kindergarten a few years ago I set up the board of all boards! I bought new date cards, learned new songs, created streamlined flip charts, added Velcro to my money chart, and re-bundled my straws for the tens/ones chart. I was determined to make my Calendar Time awesome! I just KNEW my students would LOVE it as much as I did!

BUT, I was SO disappointed!! 
My students weren't engaged, weren't singing/playing along, and (worst of all) weren't learning! 
I was stumped! What was keeping them from engaging? 
In my few short years out of the classroom had Calendar Time become obsolete?!?

I knew my techniques, activities, routines were good. I consulted other teachers, read books and articles on the topic and came to only one conclusion...
Calendar Time was the SAME, but my students were DIFFERENT
They engaged through technology and the lessons I planned that incorporated my SMART Board were quickly becoming their favorites (and my most successful). I knew there had to be a way to
  bring my beloved Calendar Time into the 21st Century. 
I searched for a program or product that would accomplish what I wanted, but there wasn't much out there. So, I started from scratch and created my first (very primitive) calendar file for the SMART Board. Once I saw how engaged my students were (with the same concepts I was trying to teach using my old-fashioned bulletin board, mind you)... I kicked my creative juices into overdrive, abandoned my bulletin board calendar, and NEVER LOOKED BACK!

I read recently that Calendar Time is a thing of the past and that it is among a list of "Old School" practices that should be stopped... Well, I couldn't disagree more! Since switching to an interactive, SMART Board version I found that my Calendar Time has become even more vital than before! 
My students learn SO MUCH MORE than the days of the week during Calendar Time now...
They learn calendar basics, weather and season characteristics, celebrate birthdays, and cheer every Friday!
They learn basic math skills and cover standards involving counting, base ten concepts, and graphing!
They learn to use technology to demonstrate what they know and interact with new content!
They work as teams to problem solve, use discussion to explain and communicate, encourage each other through collaboration, and develop leadership skills as they take their turn as calendar leader!

Interested in how I used my SMART Board to bring Calendar Time out of the dark ages?
Check out my YouTube Demonstration Video!

Then download my SMART Calendar FREEBIE and try it for yourself! Your Kindergarten and First Grade students will thank you!

Do you teach calendar in your primary classroom? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below!

3 comments:

  1. I've seen this used in younger classrooms before and I think it is a great practice!

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  2. Such great ideas! What a concept to put it on the Smart Board. Anything interactive is ALWAYS a win with students.

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  3. I used it to teach number sense to my Ks each day. Our class would not be the same without it.

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