Building math and literacy skills takes time and LOTS of practice. So I like to build in practice during our calendar time.
We know when we start the year, our students come in with a variety of skills and prior experience. Some students start kindergarten with a year of “school” already under their belt ready to hit the ground running. While others start the year a bit overwhelmed. I love seeing all of my students progress, but it is especially exciting to see my little newbies take off.
So, for this reason, I like to reinforce skills over and over. Perhaps when you introduced a skill in October, a few of your friends were not quite ready for it, but by mid-November it is right in their lane.
Keeping calendar journals that spirally review ELA and Math skills are a great way to introduce AND reinforce skills.
We show the image on our interactive whiteboard so students are supported.
I have been asked how we do our calendar and what skills we cover. It is a VERY quick part of our day. It takes a total of 5-6 minutes each morning. This is a recording from Deedee’s class from last year. She was a few seconds late in starting the video. Students come to the carpet and fill in the date, the date code (4-7-15) and the Today is…. section. They have been doing this on their own since probably mid-November. If students STILL needed instruction on how to do this, we would have a problem. Why spend instructional time guiding students through something they can do independently?
Here is how it works. The “Leader of the Day” leads the class with the calendar activities. His/Her calendar is displayed under the document camera (iPad) so the whole class can follow along.
SIDE NOTE: If you want to improve your instruction, videotape yourself. Watch it over and over. Notice your language. Notice how students respond to your questioning. Notice the body language in your classroom (your body language and the language of your students.) I truly believe that by being reflective and open, your instruction will improve.
Here are some more examples as the year continues.
We sincerely LOVE the “Mystery Number.” The helper secretly selects a number between 1-10 and writes in on a little scrap of paper off screen. (We go up to 30 as the year progresses.) Then the students make guesses. The helper responds with, “My number is more than or less than ___” until we narrow it down.
If you want to try it out you can click HERE to download the preview and get a free page from each unit.