Wednesday, June 19, 2013

My Favorite Things #1: Daily Calendar

So now that summer is here and my national board process is nearly complete I thought I'd take some time to share what products I used and LOVED from TpT.  My absolute favorites were things I used daily.  Every morning I start off with attendance and calendar.  For years I stood at the calendar bulletin board and somewhere mid-year I could tell the kids lost interest with the monotony of it and had trouble with understanding calendar concepts...such as today, tomorrow, yesterday, where is Monday, etc.  I tried having helpers, so they could take ownership of it.  But that didn't seem to engage them after awhile.  So next I tried to change it up with different songs. Nope, that didn't work either.  Then I got a smartboard and while that was exciting for awhile it also was something that by mid-year bored them from monotony that information was not retaining. So last fall I came across this product and it has made a WORLD of difference in my class!  

Just click on the highlighted words above to connect directly to the product on TpT or her blog name to read her wonderful blog.  The front cover label I made on the Avery label website.  I used Avery label 5168.  Here is a link to the one I created: Calendar Label
 I put together these calendar binders for each student to use.  They LOVED having their very own calendar to follow.  It was something that they could each interact with.  

Here's my class procedure:
1. I put the days of the week and months of the year mini-charts in a sheet protector and we sang a months of the year song and a days of the week song using them.

 2. Next we would turn the page and talk about what number day of school it was.  We would color in one box in a ten frame.  When we reached 10 or a multiple of 10 we would write the number.  That way as the year progressed we could count by 10s quickly and easily by reading the numbers, not just the 10 frames.

At the end of the school year I had the children write it the numbers for the last 30 days of school.  This way we could keep track faster of how many days were left in school.  The end of the year is always rushed, isn't it?!

3. Then we would turn to the month page. The pages come blank.  But since this is kindergarten I idd the following:  Each month we filled in the numbers on the first day of the month.  For August the numbers were there for them (we start mid-August) In September I had the children trace the numbers.  In October and November they copied me as I wrote the numbers.  Each month's beginning we discuss where to start numbering and what number to stop with.  Once we have completed that (this takes a long time in the beginning of the year) we then circle the day it is.  It helps the children to see where today is, what was yesterday and what tomorrow will be.

From the previous picture and this one you can see we either drew pictures to denote holidays or used stickers.  They preferred the stickers obviously!

4. Next stop in their folders was the lost tooth tally. Whenever a student excitedly came to school telling us they lost a tooth we'd make a mark for them.  They LOVED this too!  But finding it was difficult.  So I eventually put little tabs to help them find it quickly. Everyone had the same color so I could say, "turn to the green tab."

5.  Second to last stop was the birthday page.  I also put a tab on this page so they could turn to it quickly.  As a child had a birthday we'd write their name in as part of their birthday celebration for the day.  The child could come up and tell us what letters to write for their name over the class microphone.

6. The last stop in our calendar binders was the weather page.  I teach in California, 10 blocks away from the port of Los Angeles so as you can imagine, sunny days is the norm here!  We often had to go to a second page to continue our graph which would create problems for them visually.  Later in the school year I contacted Jeannie from Kindergarten Lifestyle and she created a special page just for me!  It had twice the number of boxes for the kids to color in.  It worked out so much better and used so much less paper.  Something we all need to worry about with budget cuts, right?!  At the end of the month we would color the winning type of weather and of course sunny won a majority of the time.  I think we had one month where cloudy actually beat sunny!  We were all surprised!  

My students really knew calendar well by the end of the year.  I could talk about days of the week and events that were going to be upcoming and they all seemed to understand well enough to not ask, "when is that?" or  "what's next?"  Jeannie has since updated the product so if you purchase it today it might look slightly different than what I've got pictured.  I loved how independent it made my students and highly recommend this product to any kindergarten teacher!