If you have been reading my blog posts you may know that I have started working in a kindergarten classroom. If you are just joining my journey, read my previous two blogs here: (New Adventure and Introducing Stef the Moose). My work in the classroom has brought up many questions regarding why teachers do the things we do. One thing that almost all kindergarten teachers do in their classrooms is calendar. As a kindergarten teacher for many years, I was no different. I may have moved my calendar time from first thing in the morning to after first recess or even after lunch, but for the most part I covered calendar time with my students everyday.
Calendar time could cover many topics. It was a time to cover what was to be discussed throughout the day, and a time to teach the months in the year and days of the week. I now often hear many teachers say, “I just don’t have time to cover calendar.” Yet, this is time that I now find to be even more valuable than before. Knowing what to keep, change, and emphasize in calendar time is key. We should not continue to do things just because they are what we have always done. We need to start looking at our calendar time and think what elements are crucial and which ones we can do without. Also, we should think about how we can shake things up with calendar time.
One area that I have been thinking a lot about is using a linear calendar as opposed to a traditional calendar. I have set up a linear calendar to use with my kindergarten students. Using a linear calendar with young students helps facilitate the classroom discussion around before and after without the left-to-right orientation. I am also using the linear calendar to mark days in school and days that are spent at home for the weekend. Eventually, the calendar will be a place to record upcoming events as well as past events. I plan to use this time to have students count days until an upcoming event, count how many days of the month were spent at school, and how many days in the month were spent at home. Les Steffe, in his interviews at the AIMS Center, talked about the importance of having students sequencing their day as well as reflecting on important markers throughout their day. These are things that I plan to use during calendar time.
I know that many more topics are covered in a traditional calendar time. I would like us to have a discussion about why do we do the things we do within calendar time and what elements we are willing to change. Have you given up your calendar time? Do you find you have been doing the same calendar routines for years? Have you ever used a linear calendar in your classroom? Let’s get this discussion going, and please join me as I share more experiences around my use of a linear calendar with kindergarten students.