One of my favorite resources to teach with is the calendar. It is something we take for granted, but children are often fascinated with the calendar. There are so many skills that can be introduced and practiced using the calendar. I am using a classroom calendar set I was given as a gift from my supervising teacher at the end of my student teaching experience in her classroom. I was so excited when I received it because I had been introduced to the beauty of Calendar Time in the classroom of one of my all time favorite teachers. I never sat as a student in her classroom, but she was my brownie leader and I then spent lots of my observation hours for my degree in her classroom and part of my student teaching. You could purchase one of these sets at a Teacher's Supply store or office store (I saw one at Staples this weekend). They also have several on Amazon, here is one example. You can also print a calendar from the computer or make one with poster board and cut out your own shapes for the days. Starfall.com even has an online calendar game.
Each day she would have the students gather around what seemed like a giant calendar for Calendar Time, it was one of their favorite parts of the day. I won't give you every detail, but will highlight a few of the things we did during that time. These are also the skills I have my kiddos practice each day with the calendar.
1. Patterns - The calendar starts blank at the beginning of each month. Then the students put up the next piece as the new day arrived. For example, right now our calendar has the pattern heart, frog, heart, frog, etc. So the kids have to decide what comes next in the pattern.
2. Number order - After the pattern has been determined, they have to find the piece with the correct number. See today would be a heart with the number 22 on it.
3. Then we determine what day of the week it is and say the date together. "Today is Tuesday, February 22, 2011." You can expand this idea by then asking, "What day was yesterday?" or "What day will tomorrow be?"
4. We also place holidays and birthdays on our calendar. Then as the day approaches we can count on to see how many days away the event is, or what day of the week it will occur on.
The repetition is great for young kids and yet they don't realize all the math and practical skills they are learning. Next week I'll show you how to introduce algebra skills with the same type of calendar. The calendar is a great way to have all the kids doing the same activity, but at various levels.
And happy 5 months Levi! You are growing up so fast. (No worries it's a play spider.)