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Calendar Math -- The First Week

So, this is all fine and dandy once you are going for a while, but the most frequent question I get is, "How do you start on day 1?  The kids can't possibly know all of this information, so where do you begin??"

I begin, like most things, with the easiest concepts for the kids.

Day 1 ~
Coming to me in 5th grade, they know some of the basic concepts I have on calendar (like Odd/Even and How Many Ways) so I start there.  On the first day of school, I have all of the other sections, except Odd/Even and How Many Ways crossed off the Calendar worksheet.  The students are instructed to work on that portion of the sheet, alone, for 5 minutes.  After the 5 minutes is done, using my ELMO, I project the worksheet up.  I DO NOT USE MY CALENDAR BOARDS YET!  I want the students to know the correct way to fill in the worksheet, so for the first week of school I use the sheet to review Calendar.

Once we have gone over those two sections, I briefly show the students, on my sheet only, how to complete the arrays and factors portions (since they go hand in hand).

Day 2 ~
Today, the students work on Odd/Even, How Many Ways, Today's Arrays, and Factors.  Since I just showed them how to do the arrays and factors the day before, I am not expecting mastery...just that they try it.  (In fact, throughout the first month or two of Calendar, I am not expecting mastery.  But we will get to that later.)  I give them 5 minutes to work alone, then, using the ELMO, I project the worksheet and review it with them.  I then add on in my own review Prime and Composite and Prime Factorization.  Again, this lays the foundation for them working on their own the next day.

Day 3 and 4 ~
Continuing in the format of the two previous days, I give the students 5 minutes to work alone on the "old" and "new" parts of Calendar. During my review, I add on a few more pieces.

Day 5 ~
By now, the students have been working on Calendar for a week.  At this point, they pretty much have the basics down.  What I usually haven't introduced at this point is the Division and Multiplication, and possibly the Equation of the Day.  By this day, however, the students should be starting to grasp the routine of it all.

I KNOW they haven't mastered ANY of it by this point.  I am not looking for that.  The magic of Calendar lies in the daily routine of it all.  Eventually, maybe in a week, maybe a month, maybe three months, the students will one day take out their Calendar sheet and it will all click.  They will master it all.  I know this will work, because I have seen it countless times, in countless classes, over 4 different grade levels and learning abilities (struggling ELs, RSP students, all the way to GATE kids).  If you trust Calendar, it will work. You just have to believe! (I sound like I am talking about the Polar Express or something ;) )

Refresh your mind on getting Calendar up and running.

Setting up the routine


  1. I love the calendar math. We use to use Mountain Math until the state standards were changed. I would love to see what your fourth grade calendar math looks like. Could you e-mail me?


  2. Do you make a copy of the worksheet for each student for every day or do they write it in the format in their notebooks? With resources being so scarce, I was wondering of a way to make it less paper intensive.

    1. I make copies (I have just found that it is easier/faster that way, so I choose to use my copies on it) but you can definitely have them write the work in a notebook. I would just recommend numbering the boxes so that they can easily organize it.

  3. This is a great activity for Morning Meeting or Ten Minute Math! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Hey there! I love this and am using it this year. Would you mind posting a student's example after having filled out the calendar sheet?

  5. I would also love to see a student sample filled in. I do Calendar math everyday with my 5th grade students as well, but I love the sheet format to keep everything organized and accountable. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Cannot wait until you have a 6th grade one!!

  7. Hey! this looks great for morning meeting or warm up activities for math! thanks!

  8. This is an amzing routing that makes so much sense to me. In moving from first grade to third grade, I know the value of calendar math but was struggling to make it third grade appropriate. You have inspried me and given me the guidance I needed...just when I was about to throw up my hands and give up on third grade calendar math. Thank you!


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