Sunday, April 7, 2013

Calendar Boredom Solution & Let's Get Acquainted!

Many, many years ago I would dread calendar in the months of March, April and May.  I was tired of the same thing EVERY SINGLE DAY.  By that time, my kinders were doing all of the work and I would sit back and sleep watch.   I figured if I was bored, my students must be too so I was on a quest to find a solution.
First, I gave Calendar Binders a try.  I liked that my kids were a little more accountable for what was going on, but I was frustrated that they were only filling in one tally mark or one number on the monthly calendar or the 100s chart.  I didn't see a lot of long term learning going on. 
After thinking about it for awhile, I decided to create a page that kids would fill out and take home daily.  At first, I made a page that would last all year.  FAIL!  I scrapped that and created a new sheet for every month.  I also wanted to tie in our Kindergarten Learning Targets so I added a "Dice of the Day" part.
September's Page is pretty basic as kids get used to the routine of calendar.

On the front, they trace (I learned that gray is better for kids to follow than dots) the month, year, day of the week, number of days in school.  They can fill in the date, the remainder of the year and circle the weather of the day.  For the Shape of the Day, we roll a dice on the SMART board and say/trace the shape.
On the back, they ALWAYS start with 1 and trace numbers up to the number of days we've been in school.  Every single day they got a good model of how to make the numbers.  I immediately saw a big difference and was inspired to make even more changes!
If you want a free it from my TPT store here.

I followed the gradual release model and made each month's page a little bit more difficult with less and less support/tracing.  
I love that every day they have to fill out the back for the number of days they have been in school.  22 of my 22 kids can now write fluently to 100 because they practiced every day!  They are also very good at writing tally marks (I didn't add them to the September page but they are in a later month).  Since using these pages, I've also noticed an improvement in number formation due to tracing the gray numbers daily.

After awhile, I put the page in a page protector sleeve and had them complete the page with a dry erase marker since it is a little more Earth friendly.  I also love to create routine patterns in my room and created this schedule:

Marker Monday...use a marker instead of a pencil to fill out the sheet
Mix-it-up Monday (after using the sleeves)...they can sit wherever they want to fill it in

Take-turns Tuesday...complete the page by taking turns with their math station partner

Wacky Wednesday...sit on your chair backwards and start with the back

Thinking Thursday...see if you can fill out the page without looking at the SMARTboard

Fun Floors Friday...sit on the floor to fill it out

The Dice of the Day section changes for every month.  Here are the targets they focus on:
September-2D shapes (circle, square, triangle, rectangle, oval, rhombus, trapezoid & hexagon)
October-What comes next?  Roll a dice and write the next 3 numbers in sequence
November-What comes before?  Roll a dice and write the previous 3 numbers
December-More/Less  Roll 2 dice and determine what one is more
January-Domino of the Day Place Value  Grab a domino, write the two numbers it forms and then find them on the 100s chart (example) 
February-Addition  Roll 2 dice and add them together
March-Money Dice  Even though this isn't common core, our first grade team asked us to go over the coins for a bit.  I have a dice with the four coins on it plus two pigs.  If students roll a pig, we play a money song
April-3D shapes (cube, cylinder, cone, sphere)

If you think your kiddos could use a calendar boredom buster, check them out at my TPT store here.  You can buy them by the month or I made a bundle of all of them so you'll be set for the whole year!  As always, contact me if you need anything on the pages changed to make it work for your classroom.

I'm also linking up with Flying Into First Grade again!

Topic - Stranded on an Island-What three things would you have to have with you?

I would love to bring some of my favorite people, but it says things so here they are:

1.  My iPad!  At first I was going to say a good book but then I realized I could put several good books on my iPad, plus some good tunes, movies and games.  I might even be able to check my e-mail and blog!

2.  My blue blanket.  My Great Grandma crocheted me a blanket before she passed.  I love to cuddle underneath it after a long day.  My husband and girls know it is mine and they have to give it to me when I need it :)

3.  My toiletry bag (is that cheating??).  I NEED my toothbrush at night (I hate the sweaters on my teeth feeling!) and a hair binder.  I have to put my hair up when I get home from work.  


If you want to link up with Latoya, head on over!

One last reminder that today is the LAST day to enter my 100 Flippin Fantastic Followers Giveaway!  I'm so excited to see who the winner is!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I also chose hair ties. I couldn't live without them! I love the calendar page. I've been trying to figure out a way to change my calendar for next year, so I can't wait to try it!

    K-3 Connection

    1. I don't know what it is but as soon as it hits 4:00 I NEED to put my hair up! I hope you find a use for the calendar page!

  2. Your calendar packet just went on my wishlist. It looks awesome! What a great idea to have the kiddos trace the numbers in gray instead of dotted. It makes so much sense! Thanks for sharing!

    Lovin’ Kindergarten

    1. Thanks! It was an Ah-ha! moment for me, too!

  3. A toiletry bag is a great idea! I love the calendar page too!
    Fun in ECSE

  4. I chose my iPad too! Toothbrush! Of course...I should have thought of that. Wouldn't want to be without that one. Gross!
    Conversations in Literacy

  5. ipad is a good idea! Maybe I should change my #1. I think I'm the only person who didn't choose hair ties. I'm planning on choppin' my hair off if I end up stranded in a place shampoo. :)
    Funky First Grade Fun

  6. OH! :) A TOOTHBRUSH!!! I needed that on my list, too! :) Ugh! :( Good thinking! :) Thanks for sharing your calendar pages too! ;) I had to do something different with my calendar time too! :) If it seems stale to us, then I'm sure it does to the kids! :) Great thinking! ;) Love your idea! :)


    Mrs.Russell's Room
    First Grade

  7. I love the calendar page. I am going to adapt to my first graders next year!

    Crystal Shepherd
    The lamppost in 1st grade math

  8. We trace in sheet protectors in the morning, too. :) I alternate weeks between sheet protector tracing and half sheets activities. They love the handwriting practice in the sheet protector. We worked on capitals in the days of the week for a while.
    prlhrbr @

  9. My favorite adult book is Montana Skies by Nora Roberts.

  10. I just found your blog from the link up and oh my are my wheels spinning after reading about how you do calendar! I don't think I'm up for starting anything new at this point--we only have about 30 days left--but I added it to my wish list and put it on my "to think about" list for summer!

    I love how many of us are taking our ipads to the desert island! What in the world did we do before we had them??

    Always an Adventure in Kindergarten

  11. I love the calendar page! Going to head over to your TPT store to see if you have the whole pack!!

    Buzz Into Kinder