Thursday, March 14, 2013

My Math Block Mini-Series {Part 3}

Welcome to part 3 of this series! I hope you had a chance to read part 1 and 2. If not, then click below to hop over:

And once again--calendar is easily one of my favorite times of day. Yesterday, I showed you what is on my board. Today, I will explain each part in more detail.

Flashback to September 14:

And this is it from two weeks ago, on the 119th day of school:
Quite the difference!!

Calendar Routine

1. Months of the Year and Days of the Week songs
We start by singing Dr. Jean's "Macarena Months" song (a capella, no time for a CD! ;) ). The calendar  helper points to each month as we sing.

Here is the song and lyrics on a YouTube video:

After we sit at the end of the months song, we begin to sing "Days of the Week", also the Dr. Jean version (to The Addams Family tune). The calendar helper also points to the days of the week as we sing.

Here is a video of a random class singing it:

2. Count to the date, recite the date (MDY)
We start on the 1st of the month and count until we reach the current day, at which point we recite the date ("Today is March 19, 2013). Sometimes we whisper or shout it, but most times we say it normally. You may notice that we do not have a place to write the date out (though we did in September). It is written at another spot in the room, so I am not too worried that we no longer write it during calendar.

3. Read the pattern, decide what is next
Before this month, I would make a pattern (AB, AABB, ABBA, ABC, ABCA, ABCCA, etc.) and the students would figure it out as the month went on. We would read the pattern and then make a prediction about the day and the few days following. This month, I switched it up! I wanted the students to take more responsibility in making the pattern. I bought 2 sets of calendar numbers (the reversible ones) for March:

(click on the above pics to head over to Carson-Dellosa)

and made some pattern cards.
(Click to download your own set!)

I cut up the cards and put them in a baggie. On March 1st, my calendar helper drew a card. He drew "ABCDA pattern", so as a class we talked about what that meant and what it would look like. He then chose a card to represent "A" and placed it on the calendar. The next day's helper was responsible for choosing "B", followed by "C", and then "D".  From then on, the helper was just responsible for continuing the pattern with the correct picture and number.

We always read the entire pattern as a whole class before and after placing the day's card on the calendar. The students always enjoy making predictions about what they think is next! (Algebraic thinking, woot woot!)

4. Count by days and/or weeks to special days and birthdays
At the beginning of the month when we place the special days and birthdays on the calendar, we always get a little practice in counting on. We have three birthdays this month, St. Patrick's Day, and spring break. When placing the cards for those on a blank calendar, we always "count smart". That means we use nearby dates that we already know to find other dates. For example, we placed a birthday on the 4th and then wanted to place St. Patrick's Day next. Instead of counting from the 1st, we decided to use the 4th as our starting place and counted on to 17. We then were able to use the 17th to help us find a birthday on the 24th. This is something that I always let the students suggest we do. If the helper doesn't suggest it then there is always a friend that will!

The calendar helper helps us count up to special days. If we have birthdays, the birthday student comes up and helps us count up to it. We started the year off just counting by days, working our way up to being able to count by weeks. It took a few months to get there because I wanted it to be something that the kids came up with (and they eventually did!). They knew 7 days makes one week and began to notice that each time we had two events with one under the other, they were 7 days apart. With a little nudge, they realized that those 7 days made 1 week, so the events were 1 week apart! Yes, I could have explained this to them, but how much more meaningful is it when they think it on their own??? We are now able to count by weeks and days--some of them are even really good at counting by weeks and then counting back days (like if there was an event 2 weeks and 6 days away, they are able to count 3 weeks and then subtract 1 day to get 2 weeks and 6 days)--WOW!

Well, I'm wrapping up for the day--I fear that I will bore/overload you if I continue now, so I will finish the calendar portion tomorrow! :) Here is what is coming in the next post:

5. Days in school tally marks, straws, and stickers/odd and even
6. Money
7. Build the hundreds chart
8. Weather

If you prefer to download the pattern cards from TPT or TN, then click below! See you tomorrow!


  1. You have inspired me to "bring back" my calendar time! I gave it up last year with our "new" program. I have noticed my kids can "regergitate" info, but they do not have ownership. I know this will help! THANK YOU! wendy 1stgradefireworks@gmail

  2. Thanks for such an awesome mini-series! I am definitely going to start up calendar next year!
    Teaching in the Valley

  3. I have booked marked all your calendar posts! I WILL find a place to squeeze in a bigger calendar space!

    Rowdy in First Grade

  4. Thanks for sharing your calendar routine. :)

    Sugar and Spice