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Why are we still doing the calendar?

  • 1.  Why are we still doing the calendar?

    Posted 06-24-2017 11:12 AM
    Hello to all the early childhood professionals out there. I am curious how many of you out there have made the transition away from doing the calendar and weather as the staple morning meeting learning experience?  I have been in the field for 17 years and for all of this time I have been working diligently to inform my staff and students that doing the calendar every single day is quite limiting and there are other endless possibilities to what can transpire at morning meeting. As someone who supports project work, emergenct curriculum, and Reggio Emilia, I am struggling daily with the idea that we just can't seem to kick this part of morning meeting. I do not mean to offend anyone out there who is doing the calendar. I invite you to enter into this dialogue with an open mind and heart. Would love to hear from others who have taken the leap and introduced varied learning experiences at morning meeting. I need to know I am not alone!!!

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    Rosalie Witt
    Wilton CT
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  • 2.  RE: Why are we still doing the calendar?

    Posted 06-25-2017 05:06 AM
    I totally get what you are saying and I applaud using ingenuity during morning meeting.
    I do plan to order calendar materials for my new center.
    I stated in a previous thread on global warming that calendar and weather may not be understood by all children.  But this is what we do know.  Children need routines and they love repitition.  Some learn about taking turns. Calendar and the weather cover many curricula areas.  I think I will stick to it if my staff agrees because the calendar and weather brings consistency to the morning meeting.  Then we can delve into the other possibilities.

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    Patricia Jack
    Boulder City NV
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  • 3.  RE: Why are we still doing the calendar?

    Posted 06-25-2017 08:25 AM
    Recently, I was observing an early childhood classroom of three year old children. This is what happened at circle time:  (1) recite alphabet twice (once in English and once in Spanish)--then an individual child stood up and recited it--kinda. (2)  count to 100 twice (both in English)--then individual child stood up and counted to 100--sorta. (3)  chant the days of the week both in English and Spanish--then individual child stood up and said days of week in English and Spanish--maybe, maybe not.

    This is grueling ordeal continued with days of the month, colors, and shapes. It lasted 40 minutes and the teacher wonders why children's behaviors were so poor and attention so limited.

    So no to rote. Burn calendars and all so-called learning posters. Stop stuffing children's brains with what we think they should know. Stop being a drill Sargent. Recitation does not equal understanding. It just means young children are good at mimicking and memorization.

    Sandra Duncan, EdD

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    Sandra Duncan
    Schererville IN
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  • 4.  RE: Why are we still doing the calendar?

    Posted 06-25-2017 11:57 AM
    Sandra, I love your comments, but I want to suggest an alternative to burning the calendars.  Especially since lots of teachers spent their own money on that calendar.  In training I ask, "At home, if you sleep in the same bedroom as a significant other, do you wake up, turn to him or her and ask, 'What day is it?  What day was yesterday? What day will tomorrow be?'"  If you do, that s.o. is going to move out SOON!  You look at your cell phone, or you go to the kitchen where the calendar is hanging on the refrigerator.  So, I suggest that folks move the calendar to housekeeping.  Then they will see those children who are developmentally ready for the abstract concepts involved in understanding the calendar playing with the calendar and they can work with those children and not waste the time of all the others.
    Years ago, Young Children had a great article on this topic, by our favorite guru, Lilian Katz: https://www.naeyc.org/files/tyc/file/CalendarTime.pdf
    It describes perfectly what is really going on and why we need to change our practice.
    The other thing I ask in training is:  "If you want children to know what day it is, WHY NOT TELL THEM?"  It is rarely effective to tell people what is wrong with what they are doing and that they have to stop, unless you tell them why it doesn't make sense and WHAT TO DO INSTEAD.  I learned years ago from a very good young teacher to do the following:
    Take the words "Today is Monday." and write them separately on file cards or pieces of sentence strip.  Make a set of each day of the school week.  Laminate them.  During group time, say "Today is Monday" as you put up the words. After a few weeks, you can hand out the cards to the children and say such things as, "Who has the card with the big T on it?"  "Who has the card with the word with just two letters."  Later in the year, you might increase to "Today is Monday, January 10, 2017."  I also sometimes ask, "Who has the cards with words?"  "How do we know we are finished with our sentence?"  [might get the answer because the four numbers are there OR because there is a period after the number]
    THINK of all the skills children are learning, from putting up the cards left to right, to the use of punctuation.  And it takes a very short time.  And by the way, they don't know what yesterday was except the day they had pizza for lunch.  AND THEY DON'T NEED TO KNOW.
    Which reminds me:  In training, we look through the early learning standards for the state, and the kindergarten standards and we can't find anything there that would lead someone to think that they need to teach calendar the old way.

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    Joseph Appleton
    Dayton VA
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  • 5.  RE: Why are we still doing the calendar?

    Posted 06-26-2017 10:37 AM

    Joseph - thank you so much for posting the Lilian Katz article. I hope that everyone takes a moment to read it and share it with their colleagues. At best, please engage in conversation about what the article says and begin to examine and explore other possibilities.  I had the privilege of seeing Lilian give a presentation about two years ago and when she brought up the calendar and described the why, as you so brilliantly stated, I thought most people's head was going to pop off. I felt like I was a three-year-old jumping around in my seat clapping and jumping for joy. I was very alone in sharing my strong emotions.

    The why for me is the most important piece in what we do. It is what defines intentional teaching. If we just do things because they have always been done that way then we lose our intentionality and purpose. This leads to practices that are not developmentally appropriate. If you understand child development then you understand why the calendar is not the best option for morning meeting. I also want to say that I agree that the calendar does have its place in the class and can be utilized in various different ways. Thank you for sharing your anecdote. I think as teachers we learn from each other. We are our most important network of supporters and cheerleaders. I started this conversation because I want to start having the conversation about moving forward in our practice and this topic is just one that really gets me.

     

    It's funny that you mentioned the house keeping corner.....this might be my next question on the forum!  :)




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    Rosalie Witt
    Wilton CT
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  • 6.  RE: Why are we still doing the calendar?

    Posted 06-26-2017 10:42 AM
    Sandra - thank you for sharing. Though this anecdote made me cringe it is the very reason why I think we need to rethink and revamp this practice. 40 minutes of morning meeting!  I had a student teacher who was working with five year olds. They had been through the program since 3 and every year, every day they did the calendar. My student teacher shared that after three years the students could not tell him what day of the week it was, the month, or even the date. They did not recongize any one element on its own. Only in sequence as it was recited. This is simple not learning. It is memorization. :(

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    Rosalie Witt
    Wilton CT
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  • 7.  RE: Why are we still doing the calendar?

    Posted 06-26-2017 10:58 AM
    Wow!  What a brilliant idea to put calendar in home living area!  This idea brings relevancy to the calendar. Thank you for this amazing alternative for the classroom calendar. Maybe even using an authentic calendar rather than catalog purchased calendar might be good.

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    Sandra Duncan,EdD
    Co-Author Inspiring Spaces for Young Children and Rethinking the Classroom Landscape
    219-743-2923
    Sandrdun@aol.com
    Schererville IN
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  • 8.  RE: Why are we still doing the calendar?

    Posted 05-27-2021 10:57 AM
    Dr. Duncan,
    I am star struck as you are a celebrity in the field of ECE!  I teach at a community college and we use your work to enhance the student's learning about environments!  Your youtube video is part of the Observation and Assessment curriculum that I teach.  I just wanted to say thank you for the work that you do and the contributions that you have made to the field of early childhood!

    Kathy Kashner
    Adjunct Professor  & Apprenticeship Program Lead; Northampton Community College (Bethlehem PA)

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    Kathryn Kashner
    Bethlehem PA
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  • 9.  RE: Why are we still doing the calendar?

    Posted 06-30-2017 11:32 AM
    ​So, now I am curious. I have seen beautiful and sensitive responses to the original question from extremely bright educators who have done research on this calendar issue. (and by the way, I know we can find research to back any of our practices) I have also been curriculum specialist who 15 years ago was almost escorted out of this program because I said we would no longer be using the calendar to "teach" any of the concepts that teachers were claiming could only be taught with the calendar- patterns, sequences, days of the week, months, numbers, and on and on. I asked the group to look at their concepts and realize that the pieces that are developmentally appropriate are already in place with cubes that are different sizes, colors,shapes, textures and that is just one manipulative in most classrooms that would be a concrete example.

    So, place a calendar in the Dramatic Play area on the refrigerator so children make that connection and save your money to buy appropriate materials or, better yet, use natural materials and stop buying expensive items. Babies teach us what they like when we buy an expensive toy that "teaches" and watch the baby ignore the toy and play with the box, wrapping paper, ribbon and are not interested in the toy.

    I truly hope that early childhood professionals will support what many contributors to this question have said about using a calendar with our youngest children. Stop following the crowd and take a stand for your children.

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    Carol Rowland
    Community Action Project of Tulsa County
    Tulsa OK
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  • 10.  RE: Why are we still doing the calendar?

    Posted 06-01-2021 11:16 AM
    Hello everyone
    Wow! Such an interesting discussion. Back in 1986 I was a Kindergarten teacher feeling uninspired by the calendar routine and also appreciating that my kids really liked it as part of an engaging, developmentally appropriate morning meeting. So I started thinking about the origins of how humans mark and track time to see if I could make it a better learning experience. Over time I, and teaching colleagues and thought partners, especially my sister, who taught Early Childhood Special Education to 3 and 4 year olds, developed an approach to marking time that escapes the traditional calendar grid and connects to the cycles of nature that are the origins of how humans mark time passing. It evolved over time into a framework for engaging with young children in a developmentally appropriate nature and place-based emergent curriculum. And we got the families involved with home-play activities. At the height of our teaching careers in the 90s we were doing a lot of training and mentoring on this and considered writing a book. Time passes and life happens. I got into public policy for 20 years and she retired to care for a family member. I retired last year and we are going back to our old ideas and thinking about getting them out there again with my daughter, who is also in the field (and told us this is still a hot topic) . Its hard to believe that the calendar debate is still raging.  Your different perspectives and this thoughtful discussion makes me feel like what we developed is still relevant. Thanks for the inspiration!


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    Reeva Murphy
    Early Care and Learning Consultant
    Heart of a Child
    Stowe VT
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  • 11.  RE: Why are we still doing the calendar?

    Posted 06-25-2017 06:58 AM
    OMG Rosalie!  I have been in early childhood education for over 40 years and this is one of my pet peeves of all time!  I'm convinced that American educators don't think any child will ever survive unless they drag them through these silly routines every morning, especially since developmentally, children at this age can't understand time and symbolism of the calendar, etc.  I do lots of consulting work and college-level instruction in early childhood and this comes up all the time!  The daily recitation drives me crazy---a friend of mine and I call it "pagan calendar worship"!  The chanting in unison (e.g., "Today is Monday, March 17, 2017") just reminds us of natives worshiping a totem!

    Just because children are perhaps reciting this accurately does NOT mean that they understand it or know what to do with that information.  This is one of many non-developmentally appropriate practices that I observe in many early childhood settings, and teachers and parents feel impressed by the children's false positive performance.  Let's band together to change this practice---way too much time is spent on it for nothing!  These children are concrete learners---there will be plenty of time to move into symbolic learning as they get older.   I hope people will finally begin to realize that the content does NOT match the learner's developmental level and cease this time-wasting practice!

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    Rick Ellis
    Rick Ellis
    Bordentown NJ
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  • 12.  RE: Why are we still doing the calendar?

    Posted 06-25-2017 07:36 AM
    Developmentally, children are not ready for abstract thought, they live in the here and now and are concrete thinkers.  Concepts such as time are very difficult for young children to grasp.  Group time has tremendous opportunity for learning, and yes children love repetition because that is one of the ways they learn concepts (how many of us in the field have read the same book over and over!), but the calendar is not the best use of creating a environment for learning. Personally I value, song, book reading, and discussion about topics that are relevant to the children in our class.

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    Susan Ferguson
    Wellesley College
    Wellesley MA
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  • 13.  RE: Why are we still doing the calendar?

    Posted 06-26-2017 11:23 AM
    I accept your challenge Rick!  We do need to band together. It's the only way. When there is a ground swell and more people are talking then there is a chance. When we just allow it and accept it we may as well just be giving our endorsement of it.

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    Rosalie Witt
    Wilton CT
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  • 14.  RE: Why are we still doing the calendar?

    Posted 06-29-2017 05:24 PM
    ​Oh, I couldn't agree with you more about calendar chanting being like a ritual! I believe this also rings true for those that believe a child know the alphabet because they can sing a song ... A B C song. While singing the song is a good introduction, it does not teach children to recognize those squiggles and symbols that represent our alphabet letter.

    Quite a number of years ago I too decided to limit my calendar time. At first I received some resistance from my colleagues, but upon discussing it with a mentor & former professor, I was encouraged to move forward and past the old calendar days. I talked with my students about making a change in our routine before hand and  then started using a special song to let children know it was time to clean up their choice time materials and gather together for a short Group Meeting. It took a couple weeks to get the children tuned in and used to coming together when the song played, but did work out well after that initial introduction period, especially since it was done at the same point of our daily routine. Using the phrase Group Meeting also seemed to help the children feel like this was their special time for sharing ideas and/or problems that may have come up during another activity or play time. After a several months, I could even use that same song to alert the children we were having a group meeting in the afternoon if we needed to have a discussion about an upcoming change in the routine for the next day.

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    Jane P.
    AK
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  • 15.  RE: Why are we still doing the calendar?

    Posted 05-25-2021 04:21 PM
    "The daily recitation drives me crazy---a friend of mine and I call it "pagan calendar worship"!  The chanting in unison (e.g., "Today is Monday, March 17, 2017") just reminds us of natives worshiping a totem!"


    Rick, I really truly hope that during the time between your post and today in 2021, that you have learned how racist your statement is. I also hope that the children you teach are not learning these awful ideas from you.
    • Indigenous people are not pagan.
    • They sing in unison like most cultures do, perhaps you do the same in church.
    • Totems are not worshiped. They are sacred objects, much like a crucifix or stained glass windows in a church.


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    Mars April Caulton
    Education Coordinator,
    Mary Crane Centers
    Chicago IL
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  • 16.  RE: Why are we still doing the calendar?

    Posted 05-26-2021 05:13 PM
    I am not a fan of doing the calendar, however, the preschool 4 teacher is and she expects that the children coming from my room will be able to "do the calendar".  For this reason I go over the days if the week with the children, we talk about today is, yesterday was and tomorrow will be. I also use this time to talk about syllables, we count the syllables the month and day. We also use it for number recognition. Towards the end of the year I use the calendar to talk about patterns. While it's not my favorite thing to go over at morning meeting, I'm trying to make it work.

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    Tiffany Myers
    Lead Teacher
    Ymca
    Franklin PA
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  • 17.  RE: Why are we still doing the calendar?

    Posted 05-27-2021 10:08 AM

    Hi Tiffany,

    You touched a nerve on another topic that has given me a fair amount of grief: the pressure to "get kids ready." You accommodate the 4 yo teacher and drill the calendar, in a modified way, despite the fact that you know it isn't a worthwhile or appropriate experience.

    When I taught PreK, we had the long arm of "kindergarten readiness" directing our practice. In 1st grade, my (ADHD) daughter was expected to do homework, because she needed "to get used to it" for 3rd grade. And the cycle just escalates, putting pressure on children, teachers and parents to force our children into developmentally inappropriate exercises.

    However, we know a few things about development: teaching these readiness skills ahead of where a child is developmentally is both ineffectual and harmful. If a student (any age) is ready to learn something, they can do it quickly, there is no need to devote years of tedious repetition to ramp them up for it.

    Wherever possible, I would like to shift the responsibility for non-DAP "readiness" back on to the teachers and systems that are making the demands. Sadly, I am aware we do not always have the power or backing to take that stand. 



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    Karen Lefkovitz
    Independent Consultant
    Philadelphia PA
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  • 18.  RE: Why are we still doing the calendar?

    Posted 05-27-2021 05:28 PM
    Just curious as to why you aren't a fan.  I was relying on doing the rote things and the first time I was observed, (this is my first year as lead PreK teacher), the observer pointed out how I could change it up to put some higher level thinking skills in there.  We mostly go over days of the week, what the current date is and then do letter of the week, shape of the week, rhyming words, and numbers (with patterns coming in at some point).  I am still in the process of learning how to use the short amount of time that we have for the kids to sit and listen.  That's why I'm curious.  I like that you add the syllables in there.

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    [LaJuan]
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  • 19.  RE: Why are we still doing the calendar?

    Posted 05-27-2021 05:55 PM
    Hi LaJuan,
    Did you read the other posts?  The one person posted that their teacher noticed that after THREE years of the calendar-children still did not know days of the week or any of the concepts taught during "calendar time".  It is proven that understanding the days of the week, the months and the passage of time was well above their development.  Educators have also found that insisting children sit for this amount of time made for problematic behaviors.  You comment that you have so little time to do it, then ask yourself "why" are you doing it?  We enjoyed singing "Days of the Week" the the tune of the Addams Family or Macarena-but that can be taught while waiting in line for the bathroom or waiting to go outside.
    I have never been a fan of calendar b/c children never understood the concept and when the wiggly children couldn't sit still, the teacher lost their cool and sent children to "the chill zone" (so a blatant misuse of our social/emotional area-but that's a whole other post).

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    Kathryn Kashner
    Bethlehem PA
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  • 20.  RE: Why are we still doing the calendar?

    Posted 05-28-2021 12:09 AM
    Most children are developmentally ready to learn the calendar in first or second grade.   Instead of wasting precious time in the preschool classroom on rote learning, I have worked with many teachers to use a different format for morning circle:
    (1) A song to gather everyone together (2 min)
    (2) Announcements and class business (2-3 min)
    (3) Acknowledgements:  "I want to acknowledge Juan Carlos for sharing with Latisha the Magna Tiles he was using."    "I want to thank Monique for cleaning the art table."   (2-4 min)
    (4) Problem-solving:  "We've been having problems with sharing the tricycles during outside time.  What are your ideas for solving this problem?"  (4-6 min)
    (5) Closing song or fingerplay. (2 min)
    This type of morning circle creates community, address the daily life of the preschool classroom, and develops children's appreciation and problem-solving skills.

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    John Gunnarson
    Woodacre CA
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  • 21.  RE: Why are we still doing the calendar?

    Posted 05-28-2021 11:50 AM
    This sounds like a beautiful 15-minute Morning Meeting, John. If we keep the focus on the classroom as community during the morning meeting, that lasts all day long.  Rote memorization only lasts if the child has some mental experience that they can cognitively connect a calendar to. And if they are not developmentally understanding periods of time yet, why force them to memorize it?

    This years-long thread is full of thoughtful alternatives in response to the impulse that so many have to keep doing something because they did it when they were a kid.  We know better now, thanks to research and the higher standards for ECE teachers.  So we can DO better now.

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    Mars April Caulton
    Education Coordinator,
    Mary Crane Center
    Chicago IL
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  • 22.  RE: Why are we still doing the calendar?

    Posted 05-29-2021 10:03 AM

    I agree with all the reasons to limit calendar time in preschool. I add a few of my own.

    1. Our numbering system is base ten. The calendar is base seven. Not really that useful.
    2. Young children typically know the 1-9 sequence and a bit beyond but often have difficulty identifying the counting patterns for decades (10, 20, 30) and transitions (for example, that 39 signals 40 next) (Baroody & Wilkins 1999). The calendar does not give any counting practice beyond the number 31.
    3. Preschool-age children do need to know about passage of time (not telling time) but this is best learned within the body of a school day. E.g. "Before lunch we had centers time. After lunch we will have quiet time." so that we all have a common experience to discuss and build understanding around.
    4. Patterns on the calendar cards often rely on AB pattern. E.g. circle, square, circle, square. That's a good start but definitely not a finishing point for patterns.
    5. Takes time away from more effective, time-efficient math experiences such as centers.
    6. It's whole group! In my experience, children generally learn better when they can get their hands on materials, talk with peers, and engage with big ideas rather than sit passively, watch another child doing something, or chant repetitiously.

    May I offer an alternative. Instead of a calendar, hang up a pocket-chart-style hundred chart and use it to build foundational number concepts. Here are some ideas to get you started.

    1. Since the cards are moveable, you don't have to use all 100 numbers in the set. Fill in only the first twenty numbers or even ten or five. Use the chart to practice the number sequence. Mix up the cards and have children "fix the chart." Do lots of discussion but keep it brief.
    2. If children struggle with teens, build the chart just to twenty. If desired, flip the teens numbers over to red to make them stand out. Do lots of discussion like, "What number is ONE LARGER than 17?" "What number comes BEFORE 15?" Support this experience by having children make sets of fewer than 20 objects (buttons, counters, flat marbles) in a center then having the children show you how many objects there are by pointing to the correct number on the hundreds chart.
    3. Build the chart to 50 then show the multiples of ten in red, the multiples of 3 in red (cool design on the board), etc.
    4. Ask the children to identify a missing number.
    5. Ask the children to flip over a number then tell why that number is special (E.g. it's the number of puppies my dog just had, it's the number in my address).
    6. Ask the children to complete a row or column on the chart. (The column one is tough!)
    7. Build the chart to 100. Play "Secret Number." For example: Start at 27. Go down one, go to the right one, go down two. Where did you land? 58. Can the kids do it in their heads after a while?
    8. Play games where you say a number and the child tells what is one more/two more/one less/two less.
    9. Flip the number cards over to create patterns (red, white, red, white for skip counting), red for every multiple of five or red for every multiple of ten, etc. Have kids discover other patterns.
    10. Make the chart one of your centers so that more children can interact with the materials.
    "Shrinking" the amount of time and space calendar consumes in our preschool classrooms will free up time and space for rich, developmentally appropriate explorations of our number system. Give it a shot! I'd love to hear what you think of these ideas!

    ------------------------------
    Carrie Cutler
    Clinical Assistant Professor
    University of Houston
    The Woodlands TX
    www.carriecutler.com
    ------------------------------



  • 23.  RE: Why are we still doing the calendar?

    Posted 05-30-2021 12:22 AM
    I'd recommend this post 31 times if I could!  What, 31 isn't a particularly significant number?  My point exactly.  Thank you all of the alternatives, and especially for spelling out the reasons why a calendar is a very confusing way to teach children numbers.  Until we evolve to having 7 fingers altogether, then we need to get children comfortable with the rhythms of 5 and of base 10.

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    Mars April Caulton
    Education Coordinator,
    Mary Crane Centers
    Chicago IL
    ------------------------------



  • 24.  RE: Why are we still doing the calendar?

    Posted 05-30-2021 12:06 PM
    When I taught, instead of the calendar, we did the number of the day, i.e. how many days we had been in school, so it started out easy and built. We did the 100 Day thing when we got there. To keep it short, once we were in the twenties and beyond, we counted by 10s to the correct decade and then to the number (10, 20, 30, then 31, 32, 33, 34, "we have had 34 days of school"). If we had a "special" coming up, I made a card the size of the number cards with a simple picture (fire truck for field trip to station) and put it in the future pocket so we could anticipate. During open play time teachers would play the type of game Carrie suggested. Sometimes "that kid" would take all the numbers out but that just made for a big sorting puzzle (the ones that begin with 1, begin with 2, have a single digit...) to get them back in correctly. Easy to count by 2s, 5s, or 10s for those interested and ready for that.

    ------------------------------
    Vicki Knauerhase M.Ed.
    Child Development Specialist (retired)
    Weston OH
    ------------------------------



  • 25.  RE: Why are we still doing the calendar?

    Posted 05-30-2021 08:57 PM
    Carrie - I love the ideas - thanks for the detailed suggestions for use!

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    Susan Ferguson
    Manassas VA
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  • 26.  RE: Why are we still doing the calendar?

    Posted 06-01-2021 02:31 PM
    Thank you so much, Susan and Rosalie, for your kind words. I am passionate about early childhood mathematics. I am glad it shows! Please let me know if you have any other suggestions for incorporating the hundred board into preschool instruction and experiences. I'd love to add to my list.
    Thanks!

    ------------------------------
    Carrie Cutler
    Clinical Assistant Professor
    University of Houston
    The Woodlands TX
    www.carriecutler.com
    ------------------------------



  • 27.  RE: Why are we still doing the calendar?

    Posted 05-31-2021 10:09 AM
      |   view attached
    Carrie - first, let me say thank you for this most excellent response. When I started this thread four years ago, this was exactly the kind of response I was looking to provoke so that our colleagues could come here to be inspired to try new practices. Through advocacy and permitting to deviate from the norm, I have found that we can encourage our workforce to step outside the box. If there was ever a time for this to take place, it is now.

    I hardly ever check this site as life has taken several turns, and my time is limited. I was compelled to check the other night, and I was shocked that this thread was listed!  Many thanks to the person who got this going again. There are so many thoughtful and creative responses on this thread, and I am hopeful that we can move this subject forward and embrace best practices. Our children face a considerable amount of stress and anxiety as we emerge from this pandemic, and the last thing they need is to be subjected to practices that do not support where they are. Children need to experience joy and community. We need to focus on social and emotional support and build out from there.

    We live in a time of extreme access to content at our fingertips. I realize that access to technology and resources is not equally available. The issues of equity and social justice are profound. We remain the first line of defense for children and families. But we are early childhood people, and we know how to be creative, resourceful, and make something out of nothing. As we begin to gain traction with national attention and funds coming to our states, I hope to harness the power of this moment and truly propel ourselves into the world as the valuable professionals we are. Let's embrace what brain science and research tell us about the power of play. NAEYC has invested years of research and funding into defining developmentally appropriate practice to help us define what high-quality early care and education can and should look like.

    So, let's move on from the calendar, weather, worksheets, long meeting times, rigid schedules with too many transitions, letter of the week, product-driven, cut-out art experiences, not enough time for open-ended play, etc., and move into the 21 century.



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    Rosalie Witt
    Adjunct Professor
    Norwalk Community College
    Wilton CT
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  • 28.  RE: Why are we still doing the calendar?

    Posted 06-01-2021 01:38 PM
    We briefly touched on the weather each day because it impacted everyone's favorite time of the day -OUTSIDE TIME! We planned for jackets/not needed, snow clothes (involves extra time to dress) alternative indoor activities for rain or frigid weather etc. It was just part of planning the day.

    ------------------------------
    Vicki Knauerhase M.Ed.
    Child Development Specialist (retired)
    Weston OH
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  • 29.  RE: Why are we still doing the calendar?

    Posted 05-28-2021 07:34 AM
    I do more of the rote things during my daily math center.  I prefer to work in smaller/one-on-one groups, I think that is my biggest reason for not being a big fan of calendar time. I feel like the children don't get as much out of it.

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    Tiffany Myers
    Lead Teacher
    Ymca
    Franklin PA
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  • 30.  RE: Why are we still doing the calendar?

    Posted 06-25-2017 08:54 AM
    This topic is one that I have been contemplating as well. My meeting area is completely stripped and awaiting materials for the fall. The one item that remains is the heart, which is how we determine which of our classmates we need to "keep in our heart" until we see them again.

    I am on a new "intentionality" focus, well maybe not so new to me, rather I am examining actions, choices and so on at an especially deeper level. The conversations on this site are very helpful and meaningful to me as I go through this process.

    Last year, I was welcomed into a new school. The EC program had a director that was there before was burned out and had become very comfortable in the methods she earned early in her career. Her assistant was then allowed to be in charge, and she too, was stuck in the 70's and 80's. I discovered materials and routines that were archaic and just plain bad for kids. I had to take a deep breath and decide how best to approach the situation with as much grace and tactic possible.

    I am approaching my 29th year in the EC field, yet I am not so "old" that I want to do what is comfortable, Eady or even familiar. I will continue to read this thread as I formulate my plan for the fall. Thank you to everyone who has participated thus far and for thank you to Rosalie for presenting this topic for discussion.

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    [Sheila] [Anderson]
    [Director]
    [St. Mary Catholic ]
    [Traverse City] [MI
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  • 31.  RE: Why are we still doing the calendar?

    Posted 06-25-2017 09:03 AM
    As a consultant, I work to help teachers and school administrators to understand how to conduct more effective large group times. <g class="gr_ gr_42 gr-alert gr_gramm gr_inline_cards gr_run_anim Grammar multiReplace" id="42" data-gr-id="42">Calendar</g> is not a good use of this time. People just need to understand why. I do webinars about this and it is in my book "Teach the Whole Preschooler: Strategies for Nurturing Developing Minds" which is published by WW Norton. In it, I talk about "circle time" in the chapter about rethinking routines. Please message me if you'd like to learn about this book.


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    Cindy Terebush
    Early Education Consultant & Speaker
    Author of "Teach the Whole Preschooler: Strategies for Nurturing Developing Minds"
    Old Bridge NJ
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  • 32.  RE: Why are we still doing the calendar?

    Posted 06-26-2017 12:12 PM
    So great that you focus on effective large group times in your book! Joining into the company of Lillian Katz, whose article was posted in this discussion forum.  I have a book that should be coming out next year (still have to see the editing process through) with NAEYC, written by me and co-author Seong Bock Hong, on an approach to learning to plan an implement emergent curriculum.  Within the book we focus a section on the structure of environment, which includes classroom meetings.  We have identified two types of meetings:

    • informal classroom meetings:  song, movement, finger play, and even calendar.
      • I think when used in a developmentally appropriate way, that is not lengthy or beyond children's potential for understanding aspects of thinking about a calendar are OK. Still, using these informal times for developing community and continuity of routine seem to be most important.

    • formal classroom meetings: teachers plan carefully to present ideas from their many observations of thinking that are taking place throughout the classroom. What might be a problem children are posing in a center that would benefit from them sharing with peers to discover a solution? Building a tall tower perhaps? The problems and questions posed can be presented with documentation (evidence) from the classroom, which engages children easily in discussion because it reflects on their work and interests and needs.  Teachers can consider introducing a new material to perhaps provoke new ways of approaching the problem and use the group gathering as a time for children to problem solve ways to incorporate the new materials.  Think of this as a time for small groups to share their work with the whole group. Like we do when we go to conferences and share our work with colleagues. The classroom meeting is like a professional conference in this way. Also, when children are presenting the work of their small group others might gain interest and choose to participate in the work of that classroom center on another day. Of course, all of this is consistent with classrooms where project work is ongoing, so that materials in centers are left out and available for long term exploration and focused work
      • these might occur 2 - 3 times a week in the AM instead of informal meetings or daily in full day programs at another time of day (end of AM for example.

    Jane

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    Jane Broderick
    Professor
    East Tennessee State University
    Johnson City TN
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  • 33.  RE: Why are we still doing the calendar?

    Posted 06-25-2017 09:50 AM
    I work with 2 1/2-year olds, and have for several years. I don't do calendar/weather at group time. We sing a gathering song, a 'who's here today' song, read a story, and finish by using a photo chart to indicate how we feel today. I see the three's on up doing calendar and wonder what the purpose of it is. I get the weather part-it is something we can see and feel and does affect what we do that day, but why the chanting of the days of the month? I'm not saying it's a bad thing, I just wonder why is it important?

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    Catherine Roach
    Milwaukee WI
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  • 34.  RE: Why are we still doing the calendar?

    Posted 06-25-2017 10:19 AM
    I take this discussion as evidence regarding how difficult it is to use information from science to move early childhood education forward. We seem to trust science when we turn on a television, drive a car, fly to a far city, but new science has many skeptics. Education has let us down when it doesn't get a student engaged in scientific method. Science has been wrong many times, that's generally about failures of research design, but it always retests hypotheses when something appears incorrect. One of problems may be that science since Copernicus has been a challenge to religious beliefs. Being new to the early childhood education field, since retiring from licensed psychological practice, I think that I'm noticing another problem with science not strongly influencing things like letting go of common practices like calendar routines. It appears that education departments are strong on researching theories, but weak on scientific--experimental--research. That's a guarantee of being out of date quickly.

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    Jack Wright
    Success With Children
    St. Ignatius MT
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  • 35.  RE: Why are we still doing the calendar?

    Posted 06-26-2017 11:50 AM
    Interesting comment re scientific method and studying of practices! There is a great book on "teacher research" by my friend Kathryn Castle, that presents ways that teachers can engage in research in their classrooms for many purposes, including assessing the effectiveness of their practices.

    Castle, K. (2012).  Early childhood teacher research: From questions to results.  New York: Rougledge.



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    Jane Broderick
    Johnson City TN
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  • 36.  RE: Why are we still doing the calendar?

    Posted 06-25-2017 01:51 PM
    What is the teacher's expectation for including the calendar?  Hopefully not for mastery, but if it's used as part of active discussion and conversation with the children, I see nothing wrong with it--the days of the week are after all just words and vocabulary is so important. Learning can and should be found in all things, I do believe it's what we as teachers expect the outcomes to be which makes lessons inappropriate.  Calendars, weather ---none of this needs to be painful, tedious or boring--if it is, then let it go.  The conversations we have with the children open the door and provide the children with an introduction to a wide variety of topics---letters, numbers, colors, words, animals, feelings, families... the list is inexhaustible.

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    Lorraine Hegarty
    Jenkintown PA
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