In case you don’t know yet, calendar time is very important for preschoolers and early elementary students. It helps with number recognition, one-to-one correspondence, counting, plus calendar basics like the days of the week, month names, etc. When I was writing a preschool curriculum, I knew I wanted to have calendar time. Here is step-by-step, what we do daily for calendar time.
1- Weather: I have some weather cards that I got from the dollar store (love that place). There are several cards labeled as follows: cloudy, windy, rainy, snowy, and sunny. One student will comes up and chooses the weather card that is appropriate for that day. If they need to look out a window or even go out the door to check they can, but since we’ll do this at the very first of preschool and since they have to go outside to be able to come in my front door, I don’t think this will be necessary very often. The weather helper will hang up the correct card and all the students will record the weather for that day in their journal (check back tomorrow for a follow up post and free printables for the journal!).
2- Attendance: I have a poster board with a t-graph. The sides are labeled “Here” and “Not Here.” Each student’s name is also written on a clothespin (the clothespins are blank in the picture for security of my preschool students). The clothespins are attached to the bottom of the poster board at the beginning of the day. The attendance helper moves the clothespins from the bottom to the correct side. Each student then records in their journal how many (if any) students are absent that day.
3- Date Number: The date number helper gets the number to put on the calendar that day. If the number is one that students knows really well (1, 5, 3, etc.) I will have them pick out the number from the pile. If it is one the class hasn’t really learned yet (29, 31, etc.) I will pick it out for them. The helper then puts the date in the correct box on the calendar. I do not usually leave the weekends, or other days students are not at school, blank. I put those numbers on before preschool starts. That way, the number always goes in the next box.
4- Counting: The counting helper gets the pointer and points to each of the numbers as everyone says the numbers. I make sure to say the numbers louder once we get to numbers that students are less familiar with. :)
5- Days of the Week: The days of the week helper uses the pointer to point to the days of the week on the calendar as we sing the days of the week song. There are a bunch of versions to this song and you can sing whichever one you like. Personally, I like the one I learned in preschool (yes, I still remember it). It goes to the tune of “If all the raindrops were lemon drops and gumdrops.” Here are the words: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday then we start again. Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday that’s the end. I like it because it repeats the days of the week twice which shows that the week starts over after Saturday. It doesn’t really matter which version you sing, just choose one and only sing that one. Students will get very confused if you sing a new version each week.
6-Today is, tomorrow is: I have some more cards also from the dollar store that say “Today is _______,” “Tomorrow will be _________,” “Yesterday was ________.” There are cards that go on top of them with all the days of the week. The today is helper puts the correct day of the week on the correct card. Then, the helper points to the cards as the rest of the class reads them. The helper usually puts up the “today is” card first, but we usually read the “yesterday was” card first. Example: Yesterday was Wednesday, Today is Thursday, Tomorrow will be Friday.
7- Date: I write the full date on the whiteboard (Monday, October 8, 2012). The date helper uses the pointer to point to the different parts of the calendar as the class says the full date. Example: The class says “Monday” and the helper points to the Monday on the calendar. The class says “October” and the helper points to October at the top of the calendar. The class says 8th and the helper points to the number 8 on the calendar. I have the year written on a note card and put it next to the month since my calendar doesn’t have a place for the year. The helper points to that as the class says 2012.
8- ABC Chart: We have a big ABC chart and each student has a small one-page version in their journal. The ABC Chart helper uses the pointer and points to the letters on the big chart and the students use their fingers and point to the letters on the ABC Chart in their journal. I have more specific instructions for the ABC Chart, but that will come in a few days. ;)
That is how we do our calendar. It usually takes about 15 minutes. If we finish it faster, I will usually read a book to the class while they are still on the carpet. This is a great way to get everyone ready to learn for the day.