Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Calendar Activities

It's about time, teachers, -- calendar time!  

Recently, I posted about introducing patterning and predicting to your calendar activities. (See blog post here.)  
Calendar icons for Sept. & Oct. are available FREE at Tpt and at TNThe response was enthusiastic and overwhelming.  Naturally, that spurred me to create calendar icons for the entire year.  

Each month's icons increase the complexity of the pattern.  Simple patterns based on color transition into color, shape, and direction properties.  

The simplest pattern begins in July, in deference to those of you who teach in year-round schools.  The calendar icons come in sets of 31, allowing you to use them in any month you choose.  I have also included some icons for special days, such as Father's Day or the first day of spring. 

I like to place the special day icons on the calendar on the first day of the month.  Then as we do our calendar activities, we can count the days until Father's Day, for example. We can also predict what the icon for that day will be, ultimately replacing the special day icon with the patterned one.  The hardest part for me is not affirming my students' predictions until we reach the actual day.  It's just so rewarding to hear the kiddos squeal, "I was right!" when that icon is placed on the calendar.  

My calendar unit includes title strips for each month. The title strips are designed for 8 1/2" x 14" paper.  

All of the traditional calendar activities continue. Naturally, we name the day, tell what day came before, and which day will come next.  We still bundle sticks into groups of 5 to tally our days in school.  Counting the days until the weekend or a special day carries on, and so forth...

As you set up your calendar center, always try to work smarter, not harder.  Laminate the icons before using them.  Attach them to the calendar template with Velcro dots.  Place each month's set in a manila envelope safely stored in that month's file folder.  

By using patterned icons, you can simply add another dimension to your calendar activities.  In naming the pattern and predicting the next icon, you are exercising your students' critical thinking skills, challenging their visual discrimination abilities, addressing the CCSS, maximizing your teaching time, and engaging your students in a fun and valuable activity.  It's about time, teachers!


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