Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Calendar Time….Love it or Hate it? {Updated}

I know many teachers who simply despise teaching calendar each day.  They either skip teaching it here and there or leave it out of their daily lesson plans altogether.  Calendar time is one of my favorite things to teach!  I never go a day without doing calendar time.  I think I love it so much because I do more than just teach calendar skills and I find the learning benefits my students get from my calendar lesson is so enormous.  So I decided to share my daily calendar lessons and explain how I do calendar time each day….

Since my calendar lesson is done on the Smartboard, I have my students come down to their carpet square each morning for the lesson.  I prefer teaching when my students are at the carpet.  I feel like there are less classroom management problems when you teach them at the carpet.  They don’t have their desk (that has so many fun things to mess with) in front of them.  Plus you can see all your students so easily and what they are doing.
Here is my classroom carpet area.

I place my carpet area right in front of my Smartboard!

I have so many different slides for my calendar lesson that I plan and group them into monthly lessons.  For example, I have an “August” calendar lesson that has all the slides that I plan to use and teach for the month.  To know which slides I want to use for the month I just simply look to what I have already taught, what the students need more practice with, and what skills are coming up in the future. 

Like I said…my calendar lesson is way more than just teaching the days of the week and the months of the year.  I basically use calendar time as a great way to introduce most of the math concepts (and some language) and practice them daily.  We all know that repetition is what it takes for students to fully learn a concept.  So doing the Smartboard slides each and every morning gives the students the repetition they need to master the concepts.  A lot of the time I introduce some big concepts (like counting money and telling time) way before I officially teach it during “math time.”  By doing this, when it’s officially time to teach that concept during math, many of the students already have it down.
Many of the slides are left blank like the examples below. This is so I can write a new problem in each day for repeated practice of the concept!

Here is a look at the calendars I use each month.  I make each month's calendar pieces a different color or picture so they form a unique pattern for that month.  With a lot of my slides I like to ask what I call “challenge questions” for the students to answer.  For example, not just what is today’s date?…but what will the date be in three weeks?, etc...

Easily change out the year, add a special day or birthday to your calendar each month!

Since calendar is one of the first things I do each morning I like to have it pulled up and ready to go before my students even walk in my door.  So I like to have some sort of WELCOME message on the screen as they walk in.  That welcome message might be one I write (like on the Morning Message slide) or just the Good Morning Learning Superstars! picture.

You can also have the students complete the Class Attendance or Lunch Count slide as they walk in each morning.

(Don't use a number system in your classroom?  Simply delete the numbers and add names instead like the example below.)

Our calendar lesson starts right after the students finish their morning work.  The Morning Work Timer slide is also great to pull up and start so the students know how much longer they have to finish their morning work.  You can easily increase or decrease the amount of time that's on the timer.

We also SAVE some of the slides (like the monthly calendar, the slide we count the school days on, etc.) we worked on so we can build on them each day.

Here is a look at some of the "basic" calendar slides I use.  

Many of the slides in my calendar lesson are interactive.  The students will move objects, spin the spinners, color, roll dice, move clock hands, spin letter cubes, etc. to complete the activity.

(move the month names to place them in the correct order)

 (move the arrow to the type of weather for the day and color in the thermometer for the temperature)

(spin the spinner and roll the dice to make a subtraction sentence)
(move the clock hands to form a time)
(spin the letter cubes to get new letters)

You will see the movie clapboard symbol on a lot of my slides.  This symbol means that there is a fun video/song that goes with that slide.  By clicking on the symbol it will take you directly to that video.  A lot of the videos will not only help your students learn the concept...but it will get them up and moving during the lesson!

Here is a look at some of the major math concept slides I use/teach in my calendar lesson! 

If you notice I have a lot of different slides...and many different ones for a single concept.  I DO NOT teach all these slides each morning.  I pick and choose which slides I want to use for that month's lesson by looking at what I've already taught, what I am about to teach, and what the students need more practice with. 
I also like to build on my slides month to month.  Here are some examples on how I like to do that:
* I might teach and practice the slide over pennies in the month of August.  Then, I’ll take the penny lesson out and add the nickel lesson in for the month of September.  I will continue to build on my money lessons each month until we are counting money with all four different coins.

* I’ll have the students practice their shape names with the slide that has the names on each shape for a couple months.  Then, I’ll replace that slide with the shape slide that does not have the names on the shapes.  Then, we will practice naming the different shapes by memory for a couple months.

* We will compare the numbers 1-10 with the correct math signs for one month.  Then, the following month we will build on that lesson by comparing 2-digit numbers.

* We start out with solving basic addition or subtraction problems by using pictures, move to solving problems using a number line, and continue on until we are solving story problems.

Not only does my calendar lesson practice math, but we also practice some of our language skills!!  Here is a look at some of the language slides I incorporate into my calendar lesson.

It usually takes me between 15-30 minutes each morning to do calendar.  I usually lead/teach each slide, but after a while you can easily have a student helper lead some of the slides.  That way if there are some things you need to do in the morning (like attendance) you can take care of it while your calendar lesson is going on! 
This slide is a fun way to pick a calendar helper each morning!

Even if you don’t do calendar you can use these interactive whiteboard slides with many of your math and language lessons!

I love hearing what slides you would like to have added to the file!  Here are just a couple of the slides I've added from requests.  Let me know if there is anything specific you are looking for!

Click HERE to download my Calendar Smartboard Lesson for Smart Notebook from my TpT store!

I've had many teachers ask for this lesson activity in the ActivInspire program.  I now have it available in my TpT store!! 

Click HERE to download my Calendar Smartboard Lesson for Activinspire Flipchart from my TpT Store!

Please note: this activity will work on any interactive whiteboard surface (Promethean, Smartboard, etc.) but you must have the Smart Notebook or ActivInspire software in order to use it.


  1. Love this! Thanks for sharing. DJ

  2. Hi, I LOVE this and would like to implement it in my classroom but I don't have NOTEBOOK. Is there anyway to get it for my promethean board? Thanks!

    1. Is there a certain program you use with your Promethean board?

    2. Yes, we use ActivInspire

    3. I now have this activity available in ActivInspire! Click the link above to take you to the ActivInspire activity download!

  3. I love how you have maximized your time with your calendar. I so agree that many teachers don't appreciate the teaching opportunities they have with their calendar time.

    Your organization is fabulous! I'm sure all of your hard work getting this started has made planning and prep a breeze ever since.

  4. I was wondering if it works on a promethean board?

    1. I now have this activity available in ActivInspire! Click the link above to take you to the ActivInspire activity download!

  5. Christina DepreyMarch 3, 2018 at 3:20 PM

    This is EXACTLY what I was looking for. I have an ENO Board in my classroom and I do not have Smart Notebook or Active Inspire software. Does this work by opening in the Smart Notebook Express site?

    1. Ohh I've never heard of the Smart Notebook Express site. Send me the link and I'll try it and let you know! 😊

    2. Christina DepreyMarch 3, 2018 at 4:51 PM

      Thanks for checking!

    3. I tried opening it with Smart Notebook Express and it took forever! The file is so large it kept messing up.

      However, I downloaded the ActivInspire software on my computer for free from their website. Here is the link I used: