Monday, November 24, 2014

Student-Designed Calendar Time!

Hello! I'm excited to be back to share more teaching ideas with you! 
I'm Elizabeth from Learning with Lizz R. 
My favorite spot in my first grade classroom is my calendar area. I just love meeting with my group of first graders to share new vocabulary, stories, have meaningful discussions, and engage in calendar activities. 

When I started teaching first grade this year, all of my calendar pieces were for 2nd and 3rd graders... That just wouldn't do! My school did not have a calendar program, so I decided to get inspired by a first grade teacher I once worked with, and have my students make their own calendar pieces! The results have been amazing! My students love calendar time more than ever!
At the end of each month, my students and I decide what we will draw for our calendar pieces. We tailor them to match what we are learning. I place their pieces on the calendar in a "secret" pattern. As the days pass by during the month, the "secret" pattern is revealed and we make daily predictions as to what picture will be revealed next. These discussions are very meaningful, and they are a chance for students to practice identifying patterns, algebraic thinking, and supporting their answers with a "because" statement. 

"I think ____ will be next because _________________."

In September, we learned about apples. I used a growing pattern for this month. Students used real apples to inspire their artwork. 

In October, my students loved learning about the different types of leaves. We drew leaves that grow near our school and learned about their names. My kids loved identifying leaves after drawing their calendar pieces for this month! It is hard to see, but I used an ABCD pattern. 

This month, students chose to draw turkeys and pumpkins. We went by the popular vote! I have two different patterns happening this month. Can you see the two patterns? 

To make our calendar more interactive, we take a class vote for our theme of the month. I have each student draw two calendar pieces, that way I can easily create multiple patterns for the month.

When the month is over, I display the calendar pieces in our classroom! This is a great way to see a timeline of our learning!

I hope this post inspires you to implement a student-designed calendar time!

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