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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Calendar Time Snippet

Owl and Calendar
Calendar is a great time to review math skills.  This year I am using a write and wipe calendar instead of the pocket chart that I have used for years.  So far I like its flexibility...

Instead of having the calendar filled out completely before the students arrived, I left it blank and we discussed how to put the numbers on the chart.  Today was August 22nd.  I pretended not to know where to put the twenty-two on the calendar.  Jokingly, I said why don't we put it here (pointing to the square where one should go.  This caught the students attention and they were very interested in this part of the lesson.  I liked making them think and then modeling the problem solving strategy of trial and error.

After I told them that today was Wednesday, we determined that the twenty-two had to go in one of the squares in the column under Wednesday.  This helped orient the children to how the calendar is set up.  We decided together, while comparing the calendar to the hundred chart, that twenty-two could not go in the first two rows.  Once we determined where we thought it should go, we counted back to check and see if all the numbers would fit in the spaces on the calendar.

Oops! They did not...

So we moved down another row and tried again.  (Teachable moment about never giving up).  It was only after all these steps did I write the numbers on the calendar.  I had students take turns locating the number on the hundred chart so I could copy it onto the calendar.  Eventually the students will take ownership of this task and do this part of the calendar.

When I went to write the number twenty-one, I asked what goes first the two or the one.  Several said the one.  I then redirected them to the hundred chart and pointed to twelve and to twenty-two.  I asked if those two numbers were  side by side and then waited for the students to figure out that twenty-one is right next to twenty-two.  By redirecting their attention to the hundred chart, I am teaching the children to use the charts around the room.  It also helps me teach them how to check if their answer makes sense.  By asking numerous questions, I hope that the students transfer that skill to their own learning and ask themselves a multitude of questions as they do their work.

At this point the children are starting to get restless.  Since we were using the hundred chart, we did our hundred exercises.  For every ten numbers we do a movement while standing up.  Here is an example:

1-10 reach up
11-20 reach across diagonally
21-30 reach over head to touch opposite ear
31-40 jump
41-50 step across
51-60 roll shoulders backwards
61-70 reach across and touch the opposite knee
71-80 squat
81-90 go up on toes to work calves
91-100 side bends

I surprised them by saying we are going to keep going to 120 (since that is our new standard)

101-110 knee lifts
111-120 reach up again (to come full circle)

During this activity, I try to include a lot of across the body movement to activate both sides of the brain.

Next we move on to patterns.  I am a fan of TPR (Total Physical Response), probably due to my ESL background.  (I have had the endorsement for years and I was an ESL resource teacher for a year.)  When we do patterns I start with movement and then transfer it to writing.  We began the year with an AB pattern so I hadthe students sit back down criss-cross applesauce.  We clapped and tapped (hands on knees).  This also helped the studentswind down from the counting.  Then we looked up and down.  We opened and closed our hands.  Later I can pull these movements into language arts by discussing opposites and eventually antonyms.

After we physically acted out the pattern, I wrote an AB pattern on the calendar.  In the corner of each square there was a symbol for A or B.  I stopped at the current date.  We discussed how to do quick drawings when we complete math activities because we want to stay focused on the purpose of the activity (to find the response).  The purpose is not to create art.  Our pattern ended up being smiley face and star as per the children's request.

Next I filled in the birthdays for the month and we figured out the difference in days from now until the birthday.  I modeled how to use the hundred chart as a number line.

Soon we moved on to the place value chart and the how many days we have been in school chart.
In the next few days I will be adding a caterpillar to our board.  Each day we will add a segment to the caterpillar.  I will color code the segments so that we will be able to count by fives and tens easily.  I will also cut out V dye cuts.  When you turn the V upside down it makes legs.  For each segment we will add a V (two legs) so that we can also practice counting by twos.

This is just a small portion of our calendar time.  Please note that we work on different skills each day with the overall routine intact.  I focus my skills on the strategy we are learning in math.  This year our calendar time is limited since we go to special area much earlier than usual.  It is a fast paced lesson with quick review skills.  I slow down when I am trying to get them to problem solve.  This usually will lead into the math strategy of the day.  It is important to have wait time to allow the students to think too.  Pacing is always a balancing act!

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