calendar time binders – teaching common core standards whole group

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Two years ago I decided to make a change to my calendar time. It was scary territory and I invited you along for the adventure. What prompted this change? It was about the same time that I started teaching the majority of my day in small groups. I decided to integrate calendar binders for four main reasons.

  • So that my kinders will remain engaged
  • So that my kinders will participate at a new level
  • So that my “doer” kinders and my visual kinders will be able to draw on their strengths
  • So that I know I am doing my best to meet the needs of all my kinders and challenge them at the same time
calendar time binders - teaching common core standards whole group

I began slowly my first year, and didn’t start until February. Then I started in August my second year. I learned to just roll out the parts slowly, setting the ground rules along the way.

Setting the ground rules sounds a little bit like. “What will you be writing, while I’m writing?” “How will you sit with your binder?”

“What will you be writing, while I’m writing?”

“How will you sit with your binder?”

I’ve found that for me, that the “calendar routine” is an outdated way of teaching today’s kindergarten. {Totally just my opinion} Doing the exact same thing everyday becomes unnecessary. They grow, so should calendar time.

KindergartenWorks: calendar time binders - teaching common core standards whole group

Calendar time has now become my whole group math time. Students have a set of pages in their binders, matching the general level of students and our common core standards for the quarter.

Setting Up Binders

KindergartenWorks: calendar time binders - teaching common core standards whole group

I like to use a set of sturdy dividers so I can break up the sheets we place into the binders and it also helps with switching categories (like from decomposing to weather) for students. I also recommend using sheet protectors in place of laminating. The pages are in sheet protectors since they can use them daily with dry erase markers, make mistakes and they are easy to pass out/collect when we’ve outgrown them.

calendar time binders - teaching common core standards whole group

Hitting Standards

Students grow from watching me step by step to doing the calendar practically by themselves. There comes a point when I’m just checking in asking students to explain their thinking and discussing strategies for figuring things out. This is about as “calendar-ish” as it gets for us.

calendar time binders - teaching common core standards whole group

We dive into practicing other math standards, focusing on number sense, composing/decomposing and operations.

We use ten frames to discuss numbers, pull a number from our hundreds chart (but start with 11-19 to match our standards) and compose/decompose those numbers by first adding quick dots to create the number using ten frames with a marker and then writing about the groups of tens and ones. This is a daily activity that grows from making to composing/decomposing with words, pictures and equations. I’ve made at least 3 pages to work on this concept and grow through it.

calendar time binders - teaching common core standards whole group

We work on fluency for addition and subtraction, do word problem solving, handwriting, subitizing and having the materials all ready to go allows me lots of variety in what I teach. I am able to lots of time for students to show their thinking and also explain it to others. Any day I can pick up number cards or dot cards and we can use them to practice our skills but in a fun new way.

calendar time binders - teaching common core standards whole group

With new life breathed into my “calendar” {ahem whole group math} time and having met my four goals better this is a classroom activity that’s going to stay on my agenda.

Tips

My top tips that have made this successful are simple, but took me a little while to figure out.

  1. Kinders need to have a dry erase marker and sock {eraser} in their pencil boxes to bring to the floor.
  2. Space to spread out makes this time more relaxed.
  3. Edifying strategies and thought process helps others try similar strategies.
  4. Don’t be afraid to change it up!
  5. Sheet protectors are way easier and hold up longer than lamination. Also easier to replace.
calendar time binders - teaching common core standards whole group

More Common Core Math

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Brave new territory, glad I took the adventure! Its not so scary bringing 24 excited kinders along for the adventure… not that I’ll admit anyway. {wink} If you like what I do, subscribe and you’ll never miss a thing. 

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About Leslie @KindergartenWorks

Leslie is the author of KindergartenWorks. She teaches kindergarten students how to be pretty incredible along with teaching them to read, write and think for themselves. She enjoys graphic design, learning new things and sharing with teachers. Google+

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