Calendar Time!

What was one of the first things I asked about when I got hired to teach first grade? 

Calendar time. 

I Googled it. I watched some YouTube videos. 

I asked around. 

I think every teacher I asked advised me to use cups and straws to demonstrate place value.   Check.

Someone gave me a boxed calendar curriculum. I actually read the manual.

Anyway, I liked some elements. Some not so much. So this year I made some adjustments and this is what I have:

It's not pretty. I've seen some awesomely cute calendar set ups on a few blogs. But, I don't have space for all the labels and stuff. I have two fake accordian walls, a wall of cabinets, and the white board. The white board is prime real estate. But, it is functional. It works perfectly.

Calendar goes something like this:

Yesterday was day number 37. What number day of school is today?
That's right. I'll write it above our place value cups. What digit is in the tens place? The ones place?
Sweet! ...What on earth does the three above the tens place mean? Clearly, there are more than three straws!
Right! Three groups of ten. 
What does the 8 above the ones place mean?
Yes. 8. 
Lets count our straws....10, 20, 30, 31, 32, ...38.

Then I invite a student up to write 38 in expanded form. After some discussion the student writes 30+8=38 on the white board. 

So the number of the day is 38. Cliff, come write one less, one more. Claire, come write ten less, ten more. Rudy, you're in charge of tally marks. Denise, fill in the tens frames. Theo, write the number word. 

When the students are done we discuss their answers. We notice how one less, one more is really just counting on. We note that in the three numbers in ten less, number of the day, ten more only the tens place changes. 

What do we skip count tally marks by if the gate is closed? Right. 5. Let's count. 
Then I circle groups of five tallymarks as we skip count by fives. 

Next, I call on three students to come write the time to the hour. 

Time to the hour will change to time to the half hour as we progress.

Now we check out the coins I've sticky tacked to the board. These change daily. Today it was three nickels. I ask questions like:
What is the name of this coin?
What do you call the front of the coin?
What do you call the back of the coin?
How many cents is this coin worth?
What can I skip count these coins by?
And my favorite question: How can you tell the difference between a nickel and a quarter?
I like this question because the kiddos giggle when they answer me, "A nickel wears clothes and a quarter is naked!" You may have noticed on the heads of a nickel and quarter the presidents are facing the same way and they both have pony tails. Tricky, tricky. But, Washington doesn't appear to be wearing clothes, while we can clearly see Jefferson's collar.

Then we skip count the coins and a student comes up and writes the amount with the cent sign on the board. 

And then we play Start With/Get To.
Vanessa come draw two number cards out of this us your numbers...tell us your numbers...put the green clip on the first number and the red clip on the second number. 

Then we count on. This day we counted from 26 to 40. Then we trade out the clips and count backwards from 40 to 26. 

We've been using this pocket chart to practice skip couting. 

Lift up the pocket chart to find Our Lost Tooth chart. The kiddos love to write their intials on a tooth sticker and add it to the chart each time they loose a tooth!

How do you do it differently?


  1. OMG, I am in love with your blog. Why did I only just discover it? I am your newest follower!
    Sheri :)

    1. Sheri,
      Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and reading and commenting on so many posts. You are soooo sweet! You've made my day :-)