Calendar Time {using interactive calendar notebooks}

I've always enjoyed calendar time {as you may know by now, I love to sing ;)}, but as the year goes on, I find that my students are braiding each other's hair, picking their noses, not doing what I want them to do during calendar time! We do our calendar whole group during our "overlap" time so as you can imagine, keeping 33 kids engaged while on the carpet can be a tough task! I also try to be fair and choose my calendar helpers by picking name sticks, but you know how it goes, there's always those few students that cry if they don't get picked every time ;) So I knew I needed to think of something new!

I was brainstorming fun ways to keep all my students engaged {and keep crying to a minimum ;)} while we learn important calendar concepts, practice our math skills and discuss the weather, when the Interactive Calendar Notebook was born! 
Interactive Calendar Notebooks! Keep all your students engaged!

Each student will have their own calendar notebook so that EVERY one can be actively engaged during calendar time. I found these pencil pouches at the 99 cent store and stuck a pencil and a couple of crayons in each so that we have easy access while at the carpet. {Side note: this would work well at centers or during seat work too!}
Interactive Calendar Notebooks! Keep all your students engaged!

While we are working on our calendar wall, we will complete our calendar notebooks together!
Here's a look at my calendar set up from last year:

Here's a look at our new calendar wall!

We will talk about the date and the students will trace the month, write in the date and the year. We also learn about the digital date so we will write that as well. {I plan on printing these pages back-to-back to save on paper, but you can also print one copy, slide it in a sheet protector, and have your students complete this page with a dry erase marker. Then they can just erase it at the end of the day and it will be ready to be used again!}
Interactive Calendar Notebooks! Keep all your students engaged!

Then we sing our Months of the Year and Days of the Week songs {you can find ideas for songs in my Songs for the Classroom pack on TpT!} I printed the days of the week and months of the year page on colored card stock and stuck it in the front pocket of our notebooks as a reference for my students. I think I will have them point to each word as our calendar helper points on the board!
Interactive Calendar Notebooks! Keep all your students engaged!

Then we talk about today, yesterday and tomorrow. I am changing up the way we do this because I wanted to pull my hair out every day it was too confusing for my students the way I did it last year. Anyway, my students will find the day on their paper, circle it, and trace the word. As the year progresses, they will be responsible for writing the beginning sound for each day and then finally writing the whole word on their own.
Interactive Calendar Notebooks! Keep all your students engaged!
After that, we count how many days we've been in school. We use this huge number chart that came with our math series. It's laminated so we can circle the number with a vis-a-vis marker and erase the circles at the end of the year.

As I circle the number on the chart, my students will write the number on their papers. Then the calendar helper will add a cube to our pocket chart. We started using base-ten blocks to count the days last year. BEST.IDEA.EVER. {thank you Pinterest!!!}
{Please ignore that the numbers don't match the blocks! I took this picture before school started last year and I didn't think to change the numbers! But you get the idea!}

You can have your students write the numbers in their hundreds, tens, and ones chart, OR you can have them sketch a picture of the blocks!
Interactive Calendar Notebooks! Keep all your students engaged!

Then we sing our seasons song! We talk about the season we are in, circle the name and color the corresponding picture.
{click the image to download}

Then we check the weather. Our weather helper checks the weather while we sing my most favorite weather song ever! {I found it online and I'm not exactly sure who it belongs to, so if you know, please share!} It's to the tune of "Frere Jacques" {which happens to be the tune to all the songs I sing but whatever ;)}
Weather Watcher Song
{click image to download}

Then we will record the weather for the day on our weather graph!
Interactive Calendar Notebooks! Keep all your students engaged!

At the end of the month, we will track the kind of weather we had.
{Not to rub it in, but sunny always wins ;)}
Interactive Calendar Notebooks! Keep all your students engaged!

Our notebook will also include our 100s chart so we can count to the 100th day of school!
Interactive Calendar Notebooks! Keep all your students engaged!

We will also count the days using ten frames!
Interactive Calendar Notebooks! Keep all your students engaged!

On every 10th day of school, Zero the Hero comes to visit! He helps us change our ones to tens, so we will color him and trace his number when he visits. But we use him to help us count by 10s every day!
Interactive Calendar Notebooks! Keep all your students engaged!

Finally, we will graph when our classmates have a birthday each month and when someone loses a tooth!
Interactive Calendar Notebooks! Keep all your students engaged!

Interactive Calendar Notebooks! Keep all your students engaged!

I am so excited to share these notebooks with my class this year, I know they will love them!

If you're interested in trying these out with your class, you can find them in my TpT store!
Interactive Calendar Notebooks! Keep all your students engaged!

Oh! I didn't include a monthly calendar because we do our calendar projects every month. However, if you want to include a calendar in your binders, you can download them for free {here}.
Monthly Calendar Templates {free download!}

49 comments

  1. Thank you so much for this post! I'm moving from 3rd to 1st this year so I've been trying to figure out what I want to include in my calendar time. This is a great place to start!

    Little In Betweens

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  2. This is an awesome post! I got so excited when I saw your Math Expressions wall (that's our new program!!), and had to pin it right away. Love how interactive your calendar time is, and meaningful as well. Did I miss you tell about how much time this all takes you? Do you do it all at once, or parts at different times? I understand you probably won't do everything everyday, but was just curious about a time estimate. Thanks, as always, for the inspiration. I wish I could be a fly on the wall in your classroom:)
    SweetSchoolMoments

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    1. You're so sweet amber! We have a 20 minute calendar block so we'll see if we can get it all done! I plan on doing the notebook page, weather graph and days in school chart every day. Someone also suggested having the kids complete the notebook page during a literacy or math rotation so I might try that too!

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  3. I just want to thank you for sharing this! I am switching from 5th to K, and I am trying to reset my brain to 5 year olds. This is a HUGE help. Keep the fabulous ideas coming.

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  4. This is amazing! You are such a rockstar!
    You are so inspiring! And when you sat next to me during Deanna's/Dee Dee's presentation (TpT conference) I almost lost it!
    Thanks for being awesome,
    Vera
    The Tutu Teacher

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    1. You are hysterical Vera!!! Loved sitting by you :)

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  5. Love this! I will definitely be buying it soon! I can't wait to see your updated calendar wall--I really feel like I need to switch things up in my room! :)

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  6. I start my firsties at this place every year and then grow from here. Do you do this all year or do you change it or add to it as the year goes on?
    Pauline at First Grade by the Sea

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    1. Hi Pauline! For the most part, we do this all year. Toward the end of the year, we introduce Incredible Equations. You can read more about that on my friend Christy's blog: Incredible Equations

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  7. What a great post! You always have great ideas that I love using an tweaking to work with my guys. I've been teetering about doing something similar with my class to keep calendar more meaningful especially as the year goes on. I teach a k-2 special education class. Any tips for how you differentiate or make sure you aren't taking up too much time?

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  8. I wish I did this during kindergarten! I'm sure your new kids are going to love it. Oh how we don't always get to do cute ideas for 3rd grade.

    Leanna
    A Little of LiLi
    lilismilee.blogspot.com

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  9. This is amazing and I can't wait to download all these pages!!

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  10. Love these, Hadar! Perfection! What calendar project were you referring to each month?

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    1. Hi Ashley, at the beginning of each month we trace the numbers on the calendar and add a little craft at the top. You can see an example of September's here
      , I'll see if I can get a blog post up about the others soon!

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  11. I like how you use the ones and ten rods for counting the days in school. I am so over the straws!

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  12. Hadar....this is exactly what I have been looking for. I have wanted to do calendar notebooks for a couple of years now. Everything I was looking at was good, very good, but not quite what I wanted. I have been too overwhelmed (lazy) to make my own. This is so close to exactly what I was looking for. I think I will give it a try.....now to find a spot to store them. Wait, I just thought of one. You have inspired me!!!!

    Thanks!!
    Terri Izatt
    KinderKapers

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    1. Awesome!!! You are too sweet to me Terri!

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  13. This is perfectly amazing! Can't wait to grab this gem and use some of it with my Firsties!

    Thanks so much,
    Janice
    @1islandlover :)

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  14. YOU ARE MY SAVIOR! I have been looking and looking for something like this to make calendar time more meaningful! Thank you so much for creating such a phenomenal resource that is K friendly!!!!

    You are the best!
    Miss M
    The Fabulous First Grade

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  15. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! I have been looking for the perfect calendar binder! There are so many out there, but always something I didn't care for in each one. This is EXACTLY what I was looking for! I am moving from teaching pre-k for the past 11 years to teaching Kindergarten this year and wanted to beef up my morning meeting time. I can't wait to print this off and start prepping for the year!

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  16. Love the poem, Hadar! I sing everything to that tune too, as well as use an interactive calendar binder! It has drastically improved my calendar time!

    Ashley
    One Sharp Bunch

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  17. This is a terrific way to start the day in an amazingly mathematical way! I do have a question. Do the kinders keep the WHOLE year in the binder or do you send them home with a month at a time? Thanks for sharing this teacher pleasing-admin-teasing activity. (I love it when my kinder-bears are fully-engaged when the POWER people walk through my door. This will, definitely, be a time the leadership team might like to visit.)

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    1. Hi Besty, I just load one month's worth of work at a time, otherwise it's too overwhelming. At the end of the month, you can staple the notebook pages together and send them home!

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  18. Love this, especially the pencil case in the front! Definitely going to try this with my class (I'm new to Kindergarten this year!). When do you do Calendar, and about how long does it take?

    Lisa
    Primary Explorers

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    1. Hi Lisa! We do calendar during our overlap period when all of our kinders are at school from 11-11:20!

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  19. This looks fabulous! How do you plan to store and manage the binders each day? What is your process for changing out the monthly worksheets when a new month starts? Thank you!

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    1. Thanks! I plan on having each kid keep their binder in their cubby. Then at the beginning of the month, send home last month's notebook pages and put it the new months.

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  20. I tried interactive calendar notebooks last year and ended up getting rid of them because they were a mess, the kids were forever losing pages! They did keep the kids much more engaged! However, you inspired me to update mine a little, possibly with a laminated main page, and give it another go this year!

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  21. I'm a first year kindergarten teacher this year and I've worked in kinder classes before and we used interactive pages in one class and I loved them and had totally forgotten about them. Thanks for this post! It is super helpful!

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  22. Hmm my comment disappeared... anyways... I was just saying how I loved this idea! I'm a first year teacher this August and I'll be in Kinder! I was just wondering, when do you introduce this interactive journal? Do you begin on the first day of school or later on? Sorry if that's a silly question! First year teacher! :P

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    1. Not a silly question at all!! I would probably start a few weeks into the year, after your kids get the routine of calendar down :)

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  23. I can't tell you how amazing you are !!! Thank you sooo much, and for the amazing idea with the tablecloths :) Makes me want to rip down my calendar to add a tablecloth ;) You are wonderful and I LOVE YOUR PRODUCTS!!

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  25. Holy moly you are incredible! This may be the perfect opportunity for me to try out interactive notebooks. I have been a little afraid of them haha Thank you so much for sharing! I can't wait to try this out!

    Tasha Emmerson
    Confessions of a Tiny Teacher

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  26. Thank you so much for this perfect way to keep all engaged and practicing math skills, handwriting and science with the weather observation. I'm excited to try it and am so grateful for ALL your wonderful ideas and activities!

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  27. Heavens to Betsy! You totally make me want to teach Kindy, and I would NEVER dare teach kindergarten. I'll stay in 4th, thank you very much, but you really do make it look so fun and cute!

    Ali
    Teaching Powered by Caffeine

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  28. I was just thinking the other day that there wasn't a calendar with the packet for the kids to fill in. Thanks for sharing them! I have yet to use the packets; it's our students 6th day of school and there are so many who are just learning how to sit on the floor. Once we get there, I will pull the calendar packets out.

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  29. We have been using this since the first day of school and it's going great! Thank you for this fabulous idea :)

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  30. Ok, so I decided to try these with my class today and we spent a very long time doing the first page together. How do you introduce these? My class had a lot of trouble following along and with writing things and in the correct place. I had tally marks starting in the middle of the page and all over, and students crying because they didn't know how to write numbers. My ESL student wrote his name all over the pages. I am hoping that it will get easier, but it took us most of our afternoon to get through it. that's the only time I had to get them started as I don't have my class all day; we are departmentalized.

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    1. Hey Lee Ann! It works best if you are able to project the sheet up on a screen if you have a document camera, or even project the PDF on a smart board so that students know exactly where to follow. Just like any guided worksheet you would use, it's easier for the kids to see you completing an example along side with them. Hope that helps!

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    2. Well, it is now the middle of the school year and the kiddos are doing much better with the calendar notebooks! How do you have the kids fill it in, as you go or do they do it independently? The kids won't fill anything in unless I tell them to go ahead and do it now. I think they like to watch what I do first and then fill in the next part. No document camera at our school and I'm not really sure what it is. I'm technically challenged! :)

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  31. I LOOOOOVe calendar time! So many great ideas on this post - thanks Hadar!

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  32. I absolutely love these Calendar books that you made!! So many great ideas! One idea that may help eliminate some of the tears also is to pick a designated student of the day each day and that student will be the one to help you at calendar time. I really like the books though!! Thank you so much for sharing this!!
    ~Lanna

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  33. My kids absolutely love doing the calendar books! These are wonderful! On the January notebook page where is says, "Frame the date" and then it has 3 ten frames, how do you do that part?

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  34. Wow 33 Kindergarten kids! That is just plain crazy. As a first grade teacher this is exactly what I am looking for. I eventually stopped doing calendar because it became more of a management piece than learning.

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  35. Love all your ideas! Where and how did you find your new calendar items you have on your wall? I am hoping to do this next year!

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    1. They are from teacher created resources or really good stuff, I don't remember! I got them a few years ago!

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