If you teach kindergarten or first grade, you know that calendar time is an important part of your morning meeting. We can teach TONS of math skills here - introduce them, practice them, review them... all in a short amount of time. But by the time kiddos get to second grade, calendar time can become, well, kind of boring. They're doing the same things they've been doing for two years - counting days of school, looking at the weather... it gets old - for them AND for us! So, how can you make calendar time a little more exciting and engaging, not to mention skill appropriate? Here's how I keep things fresh.

(Note: The idea for this blog post was first created as part of my "Mini-Moments" posts. You can check out the original post {HERE}.)

We do our calendar time on the Smartboard. It makes it a little more interactive and I feel like I have more freedom to add and change things on a whim. Just doing the calendar on the Smartboard, rather than with a calendar bulletin board, makes it more interesting. Many of the slides I'm going to share originally came from the SMART Exchange - a great resource to get FREE activities for your Smartboard. I modified some to fit my needs, and created others myself. Normally, my students come up and do the writing and moving things and all that. I use this as a job for my "helper of the day" and my kiddos love getting to be the teacher.**Here is calendar slide #1 - The month of _______**

**GENERAL SKILLS**: Yes, very predictable here. Yesterday, today and tomorrow... days of the week, months of the year.

**JAZZ IT UP!**I also have a little ring of index cards with a TON of calendar questions on them (mainly so I don't forget!). We talk about things like:

What will the date be one week from now? Two weeks? Three weeks and 4 days? 10 days ago? How many Thursdays are in February? How many of them are odd number dates? What day will Feb. 9 be? What is the date on the third Wednesday?

How many days until ________?

My questions change throughout the year and are often inspired by something someone notices on the calendar.

**Slide #2 - How many days have we been in school?**

**GENERAL SKILLS**: Simple enough... we add a "ones" piece everyday, trade when we get to ten, yada-yada-yada... but wait! There's more!

**JAZZ IT UP!:**The few weeks prior to this we had been working on reviewing how to write numbers different ways - base ten form, expanded notation, standard form... I discovered some of my kiddos really needed extra practice with this. I also do some extension by asking how else we can make the number (ex. 46 = 4 tens and 6 ones, or 3 tens an 16 ones, etc.), how many to make 100 (or 1000!)... whatever we're working on, or need some extra help with, or comes up in conversation!

And here's some fun - After our 100th Day of school, we start counting BACKWARDS - how many days left of school? That helps to reinforce regrouping with tens, something so many second graders need practice with.

**Slide #3 - Coins in the Piggybank**

**GENERAL SKILLS**: Again, pretty self-explanatory. Names and values of coins, counting coins, trading...

**JAZZ IT UP**!: We mix it up every once in a while. We just put the half dollar back instead of two quarters because we needed to keep practicing counting by 25's. There's potential for great discussions about using decimals, different ways to make the same amount, etc. And when we start the backwards counting of days, we'll keep counting up with the money. (It usually takes a few days before someone realizes the amounts on the two pages are no longer the same!)

**Slide #4 - What's the Weather?**

**GENERAL SKILLS**: Observation, more and less, reading a graph

**JAZZ IT UP!:**How many MORE of sunny than cloudy? How many would twice as cloudy be? We save the graphs each month and compare them to each other, which leads to great math thinking. After we have graphs from a few months, we do a gallery walk of sorts for them to walk around and look at each graph and answer some questions. We also talk about a lot of vocabulary here - precipitation, sky conditions, the fact that just because it is light out does not mean it is sunny.. uh huh... had to go there...

**Slide #5 - What's the Temperature?**

**GENERAL SKILLS**: reading and using a thermometer

**JAZZ IT UP**!: It is the helper's job to look up the temperature on the ipad when they come in. Again, great math possibilities - how much warmer today than yesterday? Above or below freezing? How much? Exactly what does "freezing" mean? And what is the C on the thermometer for? Then we roll the two dice and calculate how much warmer/colder it would be. At the beginning of the year, the dice just have single digits, then we move to multiple of ten, then other 2-digit numbers. It just depends on what needs some work. It doesn't take long before we have to discuss negative numbers and how to add/subtract them on a number line. It may not stick with everyone, but I like to throw it out there, just in case!

The slides in the next group vary from day to day. We choose one to do each morning.

**Big Numbers**

Set the random number generator to whatever range you want. Then touch it to show a number. We talk about place value, expanded notation, etc.

**Fact Families**

Too easy, right? Try this: put two numbers in the fact family and ask your students to tell you what the third number would be. Chances are most of them will add the numbers you gave them and give you the sum for the third number. But what if the bigger of the two numbers you gave them WAS the sum> Then what would the third number be? Missing addend at its finest. And don't be afraid to work with bigger numbers!

**Place Value**

Hundreds, tens, ones, 10 more, 10 less, 1 more, 1 less, showing the number with blocks...

**Skip Counting**

Choose a starting number and then roll the dice to see how to count. Touch each number on the hundreds chart and it flips around to be red. Notice any patterns? What comes next? How do you know?

**Elapsed Time**

This is one of those slides that I modified. At the beginning of the year, just telling the time is a major idea. I start by giving them a time on the hour and then we work on before and after. Then we move to times on the half hour. Again, the best part about these slides is you can do whatever works for your class!

**Ordering Numbers**

Another skill that just needs review. I change the ordering from least to greatest and greatest to least so my kiddos have to be sure they are reading what to do.

That's it! Once we get going, our whole calendar time takes about 10-15 minutes, but it's a very important way for me to see who knows what, what we need to work on and where we're going. Having the "Helper of the Day' be in charge of the calendar is motivating and engaging (and the helper calls on people to answer, so everyone wants a turn!) By increasing the rigor, I've made my calendar time focus on many common core standards.

As I said, I got most of these slides from Smart Exchange, although I did modify them to fit my needs. I searched the exchange and can no longer find the original file. You can grab my file {HERE}. If you find the file on the exchange, please let me know so I can give appropriate credit. Also, I deleted the additional graphics I used in my files, since they cannot be shared. You can ad your own clipart and text to the calendar pages to add some pizazz! If you have any questions about how to do something with these files in Smart Notebook, feel fee to email me and I'll try to help!

My second graders also do the morning calendar routine on the Smart Board. Thanks for sharing your pages! I found a few new ones that I'm going to introduce to change things up a bit! I also have a "Teacher of the Day" that does the calendar. I'm wondering if you have that student do it while the rest of the class just watches? I've tried different ways of doing calendar (one does Smart board and the rest follow along with whiteboards OR one does Smart board while other kids do morning work then the teacher of the day "presents" the completed calendar to the class) and can't decide what works the best! I'm curious how you do it. :) Thanks for all of the helpful information!

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