Thursday, September 14, 2017

Keep Your Calendar Time Engaging - 2 Calendar Freebies!

Hi, Teaching Friends!

Are you always looking for new ideas to keep your calendar time fresh and engaging?

Many years ago (probably about 15 or so), when I first started using our daily calendar time for spiral review, I remember our math supervisor observing and being amazed at how much concentrated teaching could be done in that short time. So true!!

But after a while, I realized that some of the calendar activities could become very rote and weren't really moving my students thinking and skills ahead. They might be good activities, but they definitely didn't need to be doing them day after day.

Over the years, I tried other formats for calendar time, including a smartboard calendar.  The one I used was engaging - hey, it was on the smartboard, after all -  but it got to be somewhat repetitious after a month or two.

The other format I tried was calendar notebooks.  I liked the notebooks because I could change out different skills and activities for different months, but even that got a bit tedious, and truthfully not always as engaging as I wanted it to be for my students. And then there was the roulette of having first graders use three ring binders... we never had an incident, but I had to be pretty vigilant, you know!  ;)

Eventually, I switched back to using the wall calendar, but with a bit of a twist. We had certain activities that we did routinely every day, like...

* Adding the date
* Counting up to the 100th Day by adding a straw every day, and then bundling the tens and counting the total each day until we got to 100.  By the way, if you haven't tried this, it's a super way to lay the foundation for teaching place value before you even come to it in the math curriculum - lots of kids picked up place value very quickly because of our daily counting and bundling with straws.

But the "twist" that I eventually added to keep interest high was Pick a Calendar Stick. Each day at the end of our calendar time, the Top Banana (our crazy name for the helper of the day) got to pick a craft stick from a jar. The sticks were labeled with calendar activities, like "Say the names of all the months in the year",  "Name the number that's ten more than today's date", or "Turn and tell a friend how many tens and how many ones are in today's date". They loved the variety that the sticks brought to calendar time. After all, it was practically a game! :)

You could make your own sticks with the skills and activities that your own students need to practice. or you could keep it even simpler with this freebie. Just roll a die and follow the directions. This freebie isn't editable, but I've included a blank page, so you can just write in your own ideas. Click to download!

Here's another idea for something to add to your calendar time once in a while. Kids love solving riddles, and these combine knowledge of the months of the year with first grade math skills. Here are some samples. The cards in the file are blackline, but these are printed on bright colors, just for fun!

There are 60 riddle cards in the set. They are not linked to any specific year and they don't include any references to holidays or seasons.

If you're using the cards as a whole class activity, you can build even more calendar knowledge by posting a current yearly calendar and having your students locate and highlight the date when they solve a riddle.

The set includes a short instructional video to teach your students the steps in solving the riddles, plus additional support materials:  a 120 number chart and two sets of cards to support your little learners as needed with the names and sequence of the months (full name of the month and abbreviation). A student recording page and answer key are included, making this resource suitable for independent use in a math center.

Click here for the first/second grade set, which focuses on the skills are taught in the second half of first grade and developed more in second grade.

Click here for the bundle of both sets, with 120 cards so you'll have plenty to do together with extras to use for early finishers, as challenge work, or in math centers.

Do you students love Boom Cards? Here are calendar riddles in a fun Boom format to use on any device with an internet connection.

And for your second freebie...

Try a sample set of Calendar Math Riddles! Click to get your copy at my TpT store!

Keep sprinkling your teaching day with fun!

Happy Teaching!


  1. Excellent points about the importance of cumulative review and super fun ideas to mix up calendar time! Definitely a post I will be sharing with all my colleagues who do calendar!

    The Math Maniac


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