Saturday, September 20, 2014

How do you Calendar?



 I guess I can be considered a veteran teacher at this point in my career—16 years—however, I don’t really like that word. It sounds like I’ve been through combat, when in reality I love what I do.  Yes, some years have been harder than others, difficult students, changing standards, but that comes with the territory right?  I’ve learned that education never stays the same, so you might as well just roll with it. Over the years, I’ve taught many grade levels and just like wine, I know I’ve improved with age. Like many of you, I take what works, and what doesn’t – I revamp, reuse and refine my plans and classroom each year to make them the best they can be.
I’m going to be completely honest with you. My Calendar Bulletin Board has always been my bane, my weakness—
bane (noun): the bane of somebody’s existence or life. Somebody or something that is a constant source of trouble or annoyance.
—When I first began teaching I didn’t look at the calendar as a tool for learning. It was there to tell the date.  What day is it?  Oh yeah, it’s Monday—again!
As I changed grade levels, schools and states, the calendar became a more integral part of my math curriculum. So, for me, looking at the dark green pocket chart with the same boring red and blue number cards was torture. Every year I would tell my class to remind me to do our calendar because I never do it out of habit or routine or free will. There was no way for my students to come up and be involved. Don’t get me wrong, the pocket chart calendar is great for some—but for me……like I said BANE!  I tried snazzing it up with a Charlie Brown and Snoopy I had made years ago, but that only helped a little.
Fortunately, (for me and my students) I found a calendar and add-on pieces to make it work for me in my weakness.






This calendar has transformed my teaching weakness. I actually ENJOY standing to the side of the calendar and watching as my Student of the Day writes in the date and tally marks. We count, we add, we learn the days of the week.  Most importantly we have fun!!!  The months of the year, days of the week, calendar # cards and weather were all a part of the Dots on Turquoise calendar Set.
I laminated the Chevron cutouts, and paisley poster, so my students can write directly on them daily.  What’s nice about using the blank cut-outs and posters is that I can change the content as I change topics and chapters in math.  All of the borders coordinate great with the calendar as well.  I used the chevron and paisley across the top of the space to make it look like water for the handmade boat holding Charlie Brown and Snoopy. The borders define the space as my calendar wall. It also coordinates with the adjacent wall, which houses my word wall—with coordinating borders. The 100 chart came from an old math series, and is actually out of date—it should be a 120 chart—but I don’t have 1 big enough right now.



We are going strong with our calendar!!!  Yay!!  Too keep it interesting, I’ve changed out the number cards with a Fall set for the next month.  My class was so excited to see the new numbers. They came in the room and were all standing in front of the calendar oohing and aahing! The color really pops on these Fall numbers and truly reminds me of the colors of fall.
To make it functional on a day to day basis all the poster pieces were stapled to the wall. I use the blue sticky tack for the moveable pieces, ie; Number cards, weather cards and days of the week cards. I like to make my calendar grow throughout the month, so my students can identify the date. They can easily add the next number on the calendar, without worrying about staples. Each day I choose a “Student of the day” as evident above on the Chevron Cut-out. That student gets to then Write the date on the laminated poster, lead the class in counting, stating the date, month and year, completing the tally chart, weather-person, leading the class in the days of the week and / or whatever other task that needs to be completed for the calendar that day.




I am thrilled to report, that the calendar portion of my day is no longer my bane. I am excited to use it on a daily basis, and my students are eager to learn. I have learned that sometimes our greatest weakness just needs a little tender love and care, as mine did. The thing that I like best, is that I can keep it interesting by changing the number cards and make it meet my needs as we change topics throughout the school year.
I hope you can make your calendar board as fun and functional in your own classroom!
Enjoy,





This post was also published at Inspired In Style...

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