[This post was originally written in July 2015 and updated in July of 2016:]
Have you ever passed out a blank calendar and half of your class finishes it in two minutes while the other half are unable to complete it, or even crying over the frustration of not being able to understand what to do? How would you like to easily differentiate so that you could meet the needs of all your learners and help each one's ease with generating and writing numbers?
Have you ever passed out a blank calendar and half of your class finishes it in two minutes while the other half are unable to complete it, or even crying over the frustration of not being able to understand what to do? How would you like to easily differentiate so that you could meet the needs of all your learners and help each one's ease with generating and writing numbers?
I have been using several calendar related tools and love the power they hold. Use of calendars and teaching about time is a functional and engaging activity to support number fluency, understanding of quantities, time related vocabulary, and building a perceptual map of time. Beyond that, it helps to promote character development around issues of waiting, and delay of gratification. Lets start at the beginning.
1. Traceable with GoDots: for the child first learning to count and to associate numbers to numerals. 

 2. Blank boxes with GoDots: the next level of challenge for the child who is starting to generate numbers and numerals more independently but benefits from a small amount of support. 
3. Blank boxes with just a‘1’ and the last number of the month help them get started and check that they have completed the task correctly when they have finished. 
Two published sets of the 20162017 Calendars: forPreKindergarten, Kindergarten, and First Grade
Traceable Calendars Calendar2016  2017Noprep print and use.36 black and white worksheets. 
Calendar Math Centers for Number Fluency 1 to 31Color Centers for use as dry erase math stations.NOW WITH: This color set now has 10 Calendar related games and activities. If you purchased this last year, it is yours free to download now. 

The next development steps involve adding complexity and meaning to the simple calendar pages.
Understanding Time Related Vocabulary, Using Numbers and Building a Perceptual Map of Time
Calendar Binders
✓ Finding the date on the calendar
✓ Writing the date
✓ Finding the date on the number line
✓ Representing numbers 131 with ten frame


✓ Finding the date on the calendar
✓ Writing the date ✓ Finding the date on the number line ✓ Representing numbers 131 with tally marks, or otherwise 
 ✓ Finding the date on the calendar ✓ Writing the date ✓ Using the number line as a reference ✓ Adding on 1 & 2, subtracting 1 & 2 
✓ Finding the date on the calendar ✓ Writing the date ✓ Using the number line as a reference ✓ Adding on or subtracting 1 & 2 with a known sum 
 ✓ Finding the date on the calendar ✓ Writing the date ✓ Finding 'tomorrow' ✓ Identifying & writing the names of the days 
 ✓ Finding the date on the calendar ✓ Writing the date ✓ Identifying & writing the name of the day ✓ Name and number of days in week 
 ✓ Finding the date on the calendar ✓ Writing the date ✓ Goal setting by writing “Today’s Plan” 
 ✓ Finding the date on the calendar ✓ Writing the date ✓ Identifying & writing the name of the month ✓ Name and number of days in month 
 ✓ Finding the date on the calendar ✓ Writing the date ✓ Days in school, ✓ 1200, represented in ten frames 
✓ Optional Monthly Covers for your students' binders or notebooks. 
I understand that many teachers have dropped calendar routines from their schedules in favor of implementing programming that directly relates to Common Core State Standards. I would encourage any teachers out there to consider all the ways that use of calendars and notebooks binders not only motivates children because of their functional nature, but also directly relates to CCSS.
Calendar Binder: Common Core State Standards for Math Kindergarten & First Grade Skills Taught
K.CC.A.1 Count to 100 by ones and by tens.
K.CC.A.2 Count forward beginning from a given number within the known sequence (instead of having to begin at 1).
K.CC.A.3 Write and represent a number of objects with a written numeral 120
K.CC.B.4 Understand the relationship between numbers and quantities; connect counting to cardinality.
When counting objects, say the number names in the standard order, pairing each object with one and only one number name and each number name with one and only one object. Understand that the last number name said tells the number of objects counted. Understand that each successive number name refers to a quantity that is one larger.
K.NBT.A. Work with numbers 1119 to gain foundations for place value.
1.OA.B.4 Understand subtraction as an unknownaddend problem. For example, subtract 10  8 by finding the number that makes 10 when added to 8.
1.OA.NBT.NBT.B.2. a.b.c Understand that the two digits of a twodigit number represent amounts of tens and ones. Understand the following as special cases: a) 10 can be thought of as a bundle of ten ones — called a "ten." b)The numbers from 11 to 19 are composed of a ten and one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, or nine ones. c)The numbers 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90 refer to one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, or nine tens (and 0 ones).
Promote character development around issues of waiting, and delay of gratification.
I used calendars with many of my students this past year and I would like to share a couple short stories.
The first child is a fifth grade student with autism. This student is significantly language impaired and was just not available for learning beginning time skills when most children do  ages 4 to 7 years. I brought out calendars at the beginning of the year to check and reinforce number formations. I quickly realized that she could fill in the numbers 1  31 with little difficulty, but had no idea what day it was today, what days were weekdays or weekends, what month important events happened in, she could not name the months, and so on. 
She was the impetus for creating the Calendar Binder, but the Kindergarten / First grade size was too large so I made a set just for her. [Come to think of it, it might make sense to publish it as a Special Ed product.] Getting to the point, this student LOVED learning about time. I found ways to incorporate it into every OT session and while there is no reason to believe it was causal, she bloomed in her overall poise and confidence, as well as her ability to understand how to wait for and expect important events.
The second child, in first grade, also has a diagnosis of autism. He understands language well, but has significant fine motor challenges. He loved the calendars, and the math challenges, but in OT I used it as a motivator for developing fine motor skills, including use of small intrinsic muscles, that are critical for refined handwriting skills. HIs grip still has a ways to go but I wish I had a before picture as the the improvement in his grip and control is amazing. 
At the beginning of the school year, he hated to write, would not pick up a writing utensil by himself, would drop pencils purposefully, complained and asked for others to do even the most brief writing. By the end of the school year, he could write all uppercase and lowercase letters, as well as number formations. He was putting his hand down on the table with fewer cues and assist. He was no longer dropping his pencil, and happily completed short writing assignments.
For both of these children using calendars was a meaningful and functional activity that increased the child's intrinsic motivation for writing.
The three products reviewed in this post include:
I hope you will try these out and I think you and your kids love them! Tell me what you think!
These are great resources to support the understanding of calendar math! I love all the different activities to support differentiation :)
ReplyDeleteGreat idea to use the calendar in so many different ways!
ReplyDeleteSo important for chldren to be able to use and understand a calendar. Love this creative way of teaching.
ReplyDeleteI love the different ideas for using calendars. Very creative. As a SLP I tend to think of calendars in terms of language concepts (past, present, future, etc). Adding in number concepts is a great way to expand plain old calendars. Thanks
ReplyDelete