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Start the School Day with Calendar Time

 How do you start each school day? My favorite part of Kindergarten was starting the day with everyone gathered on the carpet for calendar time. We had so much fun following our songs and routines! It was a great way to start each day anew and share the schedule for the day, too. As my students took over leading the activities they truly owned calendar time and learned to teach and collaborate with each other. Since all of my Kindergarten math standards were built in and activities grew increasingly more challenging throughout the school year, my students were also learning!

So, now that I'm teaching fourth grade reading, calendar time has taken on a whole new meaning. Since I teach on a block schedule I have very little time for morning homeroom. We take attendance, make sure students are prepped for the day, and we are off to the races. With students trickling in and out of the classroom to their lockers and/or to breakfast the time is disjointed and there's really no way to have a formal, everybody-on-the-carpet-style meeting like I loved so much in Kindergarten. Side note - If I taught fourth grade self-contained I would ABSOLUTELY make time for a morning meeting and calendar time each day!

Since this type of calendar time just wasn't in the cards I started thinking of how I might implement it in a new way. I decided that the benefits of calendar for older students are slightly different than younger students. I began to view calendar time as a way to give students autonomy as well as teach them about planning, reflection, and time management. So, I created a slide deck of calendar-type activities and assigned in Google Classroom. Students aren't required to keep up with the calendar, though they are more than welcome to do so each day, if it's something they are into... but they do have to check in at least on Mondays. The potential it there for so many benefits! 

I love "passing notes" with my students on the the morning message slide!
A quick check of their decks is all I need to respond to their morning thoughts or add an emoji.
It's amazing how much good this little bit of interaction can do for upper elementary students learning how to communicate with others online.

A weather forecast and graph may seem "too primary" for upper elementary students, but that's not the case at all! There are far fewer questions about whether we will go to recess or have soccer practice when students have access to the information themselves! And learning to use and read informational graphs and charts is part of fourth grade standards, too!

Similar to a weather report, an interactive schedule is helpful for older students, too! No matter their age, most students feel more secure and thrive when they know what to expect next.

It's never too early to start teaching students the importance and usefulness of a personal calendar and planner. With these easy-to-use slides and digital "stickers" students can begin to set goals, make plans, and get organized!

This fun tool helps students become more aware of their feelings and put a label on them. It's also a great way for the teacher to pop in and get a feel for how things are going. Students can track their moods for a month and notice trends in order to become more self-aware and improve social emotional health. This slide is also a great place for students to set goals or write personal affirmations.
If you think your students would love this daily activity, be sure to check it out on TpT!

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