Modifying Calendar Time in Kindergarten

Growing with our kinders throughout the year requires that we modify our day, activities and sometimes routine. I feel slightly squeamish on modifying that last one. When I get into a really good routine, I often find it hard to break from that and “seeing” the potential in creating a new one. This year, I found myself needing to greatly modify my calendar time in kindergarten and making it fit exactly what my kinders need to get daily practice with a few connected standards.

Now, having said that… let me share our regular routine and how I add things each day of the week to hit it all.

modifying calendar time in Kindergarten

Calendar Time Kindergarten Routine

We start by discussing the day, pattern, full date (clap it in syllables) and write the simplified date. We use the date on everything that we do in class. I flip through the dates like flashcards as students call out the numbers.

From August to September, the numbers were all traceable as we learned how to form our numerals, but since we’ve got that down, now we focus on fluently recognizing the numbers.

modifying calendar time in Kindergarten - KindergartenWorks

And here’s the life skill that ties in, we keep track of our behavior choices in our own calendars in our folders. Students also keep track with families of special dates, events, etc. in their folders. Can I teach life organization? Well, I try…

modifying calendar time in Kindergarten - KindergartenWorks

Student Behavior Calendars

We then practice keeping track of our days in school using ten frames.

modifying calendar time in Kindergarten - KindergartenWorks

We talk about how many are needed to make five (until we get to six) and then discuss addition to make 10. I write the first number sentence and a student comes up to model the “switched” version. We have practiced this in guided math groups and they are making progress seeing the connections.

modifying calendar time in Kindergarten - KindergartenWorks

We figure out the number of days by composing the number and decomposing it. We read this statement aloud:

modifying calendar time in Kindergarten - KindergartenWorks

available in the Calendar Pack

We move through the counting chart to match our objectives. We need to master counting up to 60 by ones and tens by the end of December. Since 20/24 kinders are there and beyond we have a different focus each day in counting. Right now, we count to 80 every day and will move onto 90 once we’re closing in on 80 days of school.

modifying calendar time in Kindergarten - KindergartenWorks

Daily/Weekly Routine

Monday – We count to 80 by ones and clap on all of the tens. We shout on today’s number as we’re counting. Students are selected to practice counting by tens, starting at ten and not ten to review. {Insert informal assessment – check!} Connect to dimes and counting them.

  • K.CC.1.a. Count orally by ones to at least 60.
  • K.CC.1.b. Count orally by tens to 60.
  • K.CC.2. Count forward beginning from a given number (not 1) within the known sequence (known sequence includes counting by ones and tens).

Tuesday – We count to 80 by ones and punch on all of the fives. We punch up in the air on today’s number as we’re counting. Students are selected to practice counting by fives. Connect to nickels and counting them.

Wednesday – We count to 80 by ones and snap on the ones (yes, all of them). We wiggle on today’s number as we’re counting. Students are selected to practice counting by ones, starting at a random number to review. Connect to pennies and counting them.

Thursday – We count to 80 and stomp on all of the numbers that feature the same number as today’s number in the one’s place. We practice switching from counting by tens to ones (clapping to snapping) on the ten frames to today’s dot.

Friday – We count and review, “These are the twenties… These are the fourties…” as my finger sweep across the ban of numbers. We close our eyes and I select two numbers (right now up to 20) and pull them out. Students are called on to tell what number they think is missing and “How did you figure that out?” We model their strategy they share and if correct, I post up their number on the white board. Once both numbers are up, we bring out a stuffed alligator to model which is greater and less than. We check our work by determining the least should be placed first in the counting chart, etc. Our alligator (seen above) is fondly known as “Mr. Monster Number Muncher.”

modifying calendar time in Kindergarten - KindergartenWorks

We check the weather and the weather checker takes over the role of teacher. We used to ask, “Which one has the most? Which one has the least? and Which ones are equal?” This quarter, we have changed our language to, “Which one is greater… (student chooses two categories)?” They repeat it with least and we have kept our equal question the same. After getting an answer from the audience, they have to ask, “How did you figure that out?” I love hearing students share their reasoning. I prompt if needed, “…because 7 is less than 9.” This lines up with:

  • K.CC.6.b. Compare two groups of objects and identify and state which group is greater.
  • K.CC.6 d. Compare two groups of objects and identify and state if they are equal.
  • K.CC.6.f. Compare two groups of objects and identify and state which group has less.

I’ve worked at really trying to work and building in the opportunity for students to practice telling and explaining their thinking about math. I figure if we’re doing it in small groups, then it should also be happening in our whole group work too. The student directs yesterday’s line leader to choose a new one for today and we’re off! So, while modification isn’t always easy to choose, new routines can be surprisingly rewarding.

Read how I began to use Calendar Binders later in the year to grow upon these skills! If you like what I do here on KindergartenWorks, then be sure to subscribe today. I look forward to sharing ideas with you weekly.

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  1. I’m curious what your cut off month is for Kindergarten (how old do they need to be by what month in order to start Kindergarten) I teach near Vancouver, Canada and our expectations are very different!

  2. Leslie,
    Thank you for the great information on Calendar time! I have done a traditional calendar for years, however would like to start calendar binders this year. I have purchased your calendar binder pages and am wondering what pages you would use to start out the school year. Thanks!

    1. Hi Mary,
      Thanks for your message and for purchasing from me. I like to start out really slow. Having materials on the floor and having to follow along is a big deal at first 😉 I like to use the monthly calendar page and a counting sheet like this one to start the habit of counting daily and touching numbers 1:1 while counting. ( We only count to about 30 at the beginning. I’d also prep their binders with p.43 so we can talk about making 5 and work on numeral formation. I’d also include a weather graph page (not in a sleeve). Though – I might not introduce the weather or making 5 page for a few days until they have the concepts of sitting with their materials, following along on the calendar page and using their finger to point along 1:1 before I introduce their dry erase markers and those procedural things along with it (fitting the cap on the back so it doesn’t get lost, how to erase with the baby sock, don’t get it close to anyone else’s clothes, etc.) Ha – oh the little things we get to teach!
      – Leslie

  3. i love the way your calendar is set up! Where did you get the little white plastic clips that are holding your numbers on? They look to be the best way ever to put the numbers on!

  4. Curious…you practice telling time at Kindergarten calendar?
    Telling time isn’t covered by CCLS until First Grade

    1. Hi there K Math, nope it’s not! But it’s something that I had some kiddos ready for and felt was a great addition to our calendar time. This past year I didn’t have the same group and we nixed it all together!
      – Leslie

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  6. I’ve started using ten frames with my calendar this year because of you. It’s working wonderfully. I just shared it on my blog, so others would know about your brilliant idea too. I hope many readers come and read about your great ideas because of it.

    ❀ Tammy

    Forever in First

  7. Thank you so much! I am a first year kindergarten teacher and this info on calendar time will come in handy! 🙂

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