Calendar Math and Guided Math Groups

Posted on July 9, 2010. Filed under: Classroom environment, Elementary math | Tags: |

Calendar Math is really important.  Calendar Math can help to reinforce those everyday skills that students need to work on throughout the year.  You can do calendar math in a whole group and differentiate the instruction by having the students to have individual calendar folders where they do varying levels of work. I would also look at these folders with students during individual conferences sometimes, just to do a check in about their understandings.  You most certainly could pull small groups every so often to do some calendar binder work with them.   Here are four featured sites with calendar math ideas.

1.  J Meacham has some wonderful ideas.  See  Be sure to look at the individual binder examples because she has posted the templates in both word and pdf documents  In terms of differentiation, I give some children 2 or 3 pages in their binder whereas I give other students 4 or 5 pages, depending on their readiness level.  Be sure to label all the parts of any graphs you do.

2.  Scholastic has a great ideas page  One of the best ideas is to visit and to click on the number of the calendar day and you get tons of information about that number.  Very cool!

3.  Math Their Way has terrific calendar ideas  Again remember to be clear and precise about the different types of graphs you are doing.  If it is a pictograph, be sure to have a symbol.  Often times we graph the object such as a dog, cat, or bird. But on most state exams, the pictograph has one symbol that the students use for all the votes, for example a smiley face.  Furthermore, on the bar graph remember to label both axes, not just the categories and the numbers.  You have to give the categories and the numbers names such as Types of Pets and Number of Votes.  Also be sure to put titles on your graphs.  Then have the students make noticings about the graphs and put those on bubbles around the graphs.  This is a great way to reinforce vocabulary.

4.Incredible stuff here at Mathwire  This morning routines page has great pictures .  Be sure to look at the coins for the date display because this will reinforce money concepts.  I always have the students draw two ways to make the money in their journal starting at the middle of first grade. 

Other Resources:

GREAT Smartboard Activity:

Great Commercial Program I’ve seen used quite effectively in some schools:

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8 Responses to “Calendar Math and Guided Math Groups”

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This is really helpful! We are going to use the calendar math ideas spiraled up in grades k-2 and try to align them to the new common core standards. Wish us luck! If you have any ideas, please post them below!

Thank you for your comment. What you mention is so important- this idea of spiraling up the calendar ideas. At schools, we have to think about how calendar math looks different from month to month and from grade to grade. We should definitely see a progression in the complexity of activities and we should definitely be aligning them to the common core skill sets. I wish you luck and I will be posting pictures soon of great ideas I see across the country.
Dr. Nicki

The math concepts discussed and highlighted each month in calendar math provides a review for some students and discovery for others. If it is implemented in a well-planned math block, it can be a real boost for both students and teachers. We have a variety of calendar math set up in our K-3 classes and Everyday Counts Calendar math in grade 5. What do you suggest for grade 4? Our school needs something to help our intermediate grades. thanks

Hi Lisa,
The first thing I would suggest is to use the Everyday Counts for grade 4. Second, I would suggest looking at your 4th grade standards and then developing routines that address those standards. So for example, in 4th grade you might have all the students keep a calendar notebook, so that they are actively involved in creating and working on the activities. I would have them also keep a count of the number of the school days because that is going to get you to work with larger numbers. Some possible activities:
1. Have the students write prime or composite under each date to describe the number.
2. Have the students subtract the date across zeros. For example if the date is the 30th then have them subtract 30 cents from $4.00 or some other number where they have to subract across zeros because this is always a tricky concept for students.
3. I would have them keep an ongoing pictograph of the weather with a key that is greater than 1 and then have them discuss it in depth each month.
4. I would have them create equations that are greater than, less than and equal to the numbers. For example 30 is greater than __ + 5 or 30 is equal to __+ __ + ___.
5. Have the students tell number stories using the date. Definitely work with division and fraction problems. For example, there were 30 pieces of chocolate to be shared among 7 friends. Can you talk about how many each friend would receive and if there are any left over? What could happen to the remainders? Could they split them and what would that look like? I would also say things like what is half of 30? What is 30 doubled? tripled? quadrupled? What is a third of 30? a fourth? a fifth?
5. I would also have the students build what mathematicians call “elegant equations.” So, really cool, long, involved number sentences that end up in this number as the answer after using several operations. The children can start with smaller equations and work their way up to creating these awesome equations.

The overall point is to get the students to become really flexible, confident, engaged mathematicians:)

Wew!! I can certainly start planning these activities with teachers. Just to be consistent with grade 5, I ordered the Everyday Counts for Grade 4. We can make some progress and it will be relatively easy for the teachers. Thanks for your expertise and assistance

Is is possible to do calendar work in the afternoon? In the past I’ve had 4 kids a week work on the calendar board for morning work and then they report out during morning meeting the day of school, weather etc. We would then discuss the calendar work but I have to cut short my morning meeting this year due to scheduling. I was thinking to still have the kids report out and then discuss the calendar during math workshop a few days a week. What do you think?

I am looking for a way to do calendar math with 2 different classes a day. Thanks for the resources.

[…] of the school year on a chart or a post it and ALSO I would have them keep track on a grid in their calendar folders (because everybody should have their own calendar […]

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