August 27, 2017

Calendar Questions: 5 Ways to Keep the Daily Math Review Fresh!

Do you have a daily calendar review? Knowing how to read a calendar and how that information is applied to life is critical, even for the youngest kids. As your students get older, however, many get "calendar fatigue" (OMG do we have to do this again???). You may be feeling the same way - but I urge you to keep the routine in place. Change things up by digging deeper with questioning. Bring a new level of fluidity to understanding. Internalize concepts about time.  If your calendar review could use a facelift, here are five ways to keep it fresh and meaningful:

1. Put students in charge. This is not an overnight change in process. You'll need to clearly model how you want questions to be asked and how you want them to be answered. You may need to work on voice volume and putting part of the question in the answer. A struggling reader may need to check in prior to being in charge to build confidence. But, once you've established expectations, kids love taking over the role. In my classroom, daily calendar review takes place on a smartboard. I have a student in charge of the computer too. Practicing public speaking skills in context  is a life tool.
    https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Calendar-Questions-24020792. Keep calendar time short and sweet. A three questions limit keeps the process flowing. Even though students are in charge, I monitor the process to keep a fast pace. If the leader is taking too long to choose someone to answer I do it for them. "Kayla, you need to choose quickly. Stephen, what's your answer?" If someone is taking too long to answer, I give them an out - if they want it. "Kara, do you have your answer or do you want Kayla to call on someone else?" When a child gives a wrong answer I step in, and whenever possible, I give nonverbal clues. "Jared, November is not the 10th month. Look here.Do you want to try again or call on someone else?" I could be pointing at a posted resource. Sometimes the pace slows down because of confusion and a quick reteaching is needed. In those instances we just answer two questions. The number of questions covered isn't as important as the amount of time spent on the review.
    3. Sprinkle in cross curriculum nuggets. Drip concepts and anticipatory info. It's not a time to actively preteach, but a great way to get those kids thinking.... and wondering. Oh, it's so easy to be sneaky. "Thursday is when we'll learn about one of the great conquerors, Alexander the Great." Move on.  "Do you think we'll get to the conclusion of Wonder before this date? I can't wait to find out what happens." Move on.
    4. Keep a handy resource of Calendar Questions. Behold my resource. Why the tattered corners? Why the slightly ripped holes? Because students are using them! Each day my leader chooses from the ten or so cards. In addition to basic questions like, "What will the date be on Thursday?" there are higher level questions too. "How does a calendar help know when to go
    to your grandmother's house for Thanksgiving?" Some questions lead to a right or wrong response, while others are open ended and could lead to a discussion. "What is something you do NOT like about a summer month?" The variety makes it ideal for different ages and ability levels.

    5. Rotate questions to keep them fresh. My Calendar Questions has 84 cards (plus a blank template to make your own), but I don't put them all out there. Once a week I rotate out half the cards on the ring.
This collection of Calendar Questions  has a clean design and an easy to read font. I laminate for durability, punch a hole in the corner and hang them on a ring for easy reference. Looking for more daily organization support outside of your math lesson? Check out this Morning Meeting Bundle.

Looking to get more insight on crafting a daily Morning Message? Check out this post.
Best of luck with a daily calendar review in your room. It's a fun, fast and a meaningful part of any math lesson.

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