All elementary teachers should not only have a calendar posted in their classrooms, they should be using it as an instructional tool regularly. Some teachers may have visions of teaching calendar math (often called calendar time) being strictly a primary experience, but upper elementary can benefit from it, too. Lower elementary students may answer questions like, “What is the date today?” and “What will the date be tomorrow?” Upper elementary students, on the other hand, may answer questions like, “Della’s birthday is in 2 weeks and 6 days. What is the date of her birthday?”
Calendar concepts often come up on standardized tests, but are not necessarily part of your school’s curriculum. Calendar time is a great way to squeeze these concepts into an already jam-packed school day.
This blog post offers tons of classroom calendar ideas for teachers and answers the following questions about teaching calendar math:
- What is calendar math?
- Why is calendar math important?
- What are examples of calendar skills?
- How do you teach calendar math to grades 1-3?
- What are some helpful resources for teaching calendar math?
What is Calendar Math?
Calendar math is a time during the school day where students practice key concepts and skills in a spiral review format. At the beginning of the year, the skills may be a review from the previous school year. As the school year progresses, however, you will want to focus on grade level concepts and skills. Usually the tasks relate to that day’s date or number of days in school, but this is not required. Some teachers choose to make calendar math during their morning routine, while others choose to do it right at the start of their math block. As you can see, calendar math is a general term that when used in practice can come in a lot of different variations. You get to decide what works best for you and your students!
Why is Calendar Math Important?
Calendar math is important because of the following 3 reasons:
- Calendar math helps students perform better on standardized assessments because they are practicing essential grade level concepts and skills every day.
- It supports students in developing confidence in their math abilities because of the regular exposure to the same tasks. This results in the increase of student engagement.
- It creates a safe learning environment for students because they quickly learn the routine and understand the expectations.
10 Calendar Skills to Teach Elementary Students
Here are 10 math calendar skills elementary students need to know:
- Seasons of the year
- Months of the year
- Days of the week
- How to write the date
- How to read a calendar
- Counting and skip counting
- Even and odd numbers
- Less than, greater than, and equal to
- Representing numbers (e.g. money, tallies, words, equations, and base ten blocks).
How do you Teach Calendar Time?
Teaching calendar skills is a great way to start the school day. Students quickly learn the routine and expectations, so every day starts in a stress-free way for both you and your students. Calendar time will look a little different across grade levels. For example, the types of questions you will ask 1st graders during calendar time will look a lot different than the type of questions you ask 3rd graders. Although there are definitely differences across grade levels, there are some general calendar teaching tips that apply to all grade levels. Here’s 5 of them:
- Start slow. Spend the beginning of the year carefully modeling and explicitly teaching and reinforcing expectations. This will be time well spent! You will thank yourself for doing this as the year goes on.
- Maintain consistent routines throughout the school year. This will help your classroom run smoothly all year long (even when you have a substitute teacher)!
- Have students sit next to a “talking partner” or a “learning partner” and give them the opportunity to collaborate and discuss ideas.
- Give students access to white boards, white board makers, and erasers so they can be active participants in the learning. Another option is to give them a worksheet and a clipboard. A third option is to stick a template in a plastic sleeve so it can be used over and over again.
- Use a pointer to assist you during instruction. This is a very handy tool for calendar time!
How do you Teach Calendar to Grade 1?
Here are 3 calendar math first grade tips:
- Review kindergarten skills at the beginning of the school year.
- Explicitly teach the parts of the calendar: month, days of the week, and number of days. Additionally, practice the concept yesterday was, today is, and tomorrow will be.
- Use the number of school days to guide your instruction.
How do you Teach Calendar to Grade 2?
Here are 3 calendar math 2nd grade tips:
- Review first grade skills at the beginning of the school year.
- Incorporate money, skip counting by 5s, 10s, and 100s, and practice representing numbers using base-ten numerals, number names, and expanded form into your calendar time instruction.
- Preview third grade skills at the end of the school year.
How do you Teach Calendar to Grade 3?
Here are 3 calendar math 3rd grade tips:
- Review second grade skills at the beginning of the school year.
- Make time for teaching the calendar at least 3 days per week.
- Incorporate telling time into your routine because this is the last year that this skill shows up in the Common Core.
2 Resources to Help You Teach Calendar Math Skills
Below are resources that will help you teach calendar math skills.
1. Daily Calendar Activities
These printable and digital daily calendar activities are appropriate for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students. The calendar worksheets and tasks cards offer a quick and easy way to review calendar math skills at the start of each school day during your morning routine.
2. Calendar Display Printables
Posting a classroom calendar is essential in every elementary classroom. These printable resources make it quick and easy! Check out all of my different classroom themes, which all include calendar display printables. These simple black and white classroom decor printables are popular!
Try a Collection of our Math Resources for Free!
We hope this information about teaching calendar math skills is helpful and would love for you to try these math resources with your students. They offer elementary students opportunities to practice grade level concepts and skills in fun and engaging ways. You can download worksheets specific to your grade level (along with lots of other math freebies) in our free printable math resources bundle using this link: free printable math activities for elementary teachers.
Check out these other math resources!