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    calendar math (sorry so long)
    By Dedi

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    I used everyday calendar math with 3rd graders last year. At the beginning of the year, I loved the idea and the learning opportunities it involved, and the children were really into it and got upset if we missed or had to do it later than usual one day (they had used the program in 1st and 2nd, and loved the consistency). As the year progressed, however, many of my students seemed to get a bit bored with it. We transitioned from doing it as a whole group teacher-directed activity to having the group leaders (changed each week) update all of the parts each day and only discussing as a group every few days. It killed me to do it, but it was spring and we were trying to get so much else done that I gave in.

    I had planned to work over the summer on how I implemented this piece of the curriculum, but I will be switching grade levels, so I'll have to wait. Incidentally, my school uses the program in all grades 1-4. PreK and K do their own version of calendar. All 1st grades and most 2nd do it RELIGIOUSLY. There is much more variation in grades 3 and 4, where some teachers do absolutely nothing with it! Also, I don't think anyone did ALL of the parts-- if you did, it would take forever!

    For the two original posters, I would suggest you try to get a sense of how much/ how the program is actually used by the other teachers at your grade level. You could do more or less than them, but there will be some sense of consistency and as the "newbie," you're conforming somewhat (I hate to say it, but this makes a difference!).

    If you have a morning meeting in your class, that would be a good time to do the calendar. I would not suggest using it to start your math class because that ends up making the math period a little bit long for their attention spans. ALso, my district is trying to emphasize mathematical thinking throughout the day and have them do the calculations/figuring involved with the calendar, thinking of it as part of the day rather than "math instruction," per se.

    Karen, if you will have a rug/meeting area in your room, it would probably work well to bring them all to it and do the calendar as a group. One of our 2nd grade teachers did it right after recess. The kids knew they were expected to come right in, put their coats away, and sit on the rug. She had a big clock set up in front of her rug, and everyone was expected to be seated and quiet when the clock hit 12:30 (they entered the room at 12:25). This worked really well for her.

    ddd, I have not tried this myself, but thought it was an interesting suggestion. I heard that one of the 4th grade teachers gives each of her students a sort of journal sheet. Each day, everyone completes the journal (prediction of the calendar piece, how to make the money amount for the day, etc., sometimes an extra challenge "thinking question") as an entry task. Then they quickly update the calendar as a group. SHe likes this because it A) forces everyone to think/participate and B)allows her to see what the children are thinking and where they're having trouble.

    ALso, in an effort to maximize learning time, I tried to do calendar math during snack time. It seemed like a great idea when I came up with it, but ended up being a pain and too hard to keep up on the days when little things happen-- birthday cupcakes, someone needs a spoon/forgot their snack, need to settle an argument/talk about behavior, another teacher stops in to speak to you, etc.

    Well, I'm sorry this post is so long, I hope that you got something out of my ramblings. There are definitely merits to the program, and I encourage you to find a way to make it work for your classroom/ situation. Good luck!

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