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"To Calendar or Not to Calendar" Activity

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This activity explores the uses of calendar activities with preschoolers. It will help teachers examine the appropriateness of calendar activities in meeting developmental and learning goals, as well as addressing children’s interests.

by Linda M. Platas

Materials Needed 



This activity begins with participants reading the "To Calendar or Not to Calendar" Vignette and The Mathematics of Measurement. These readings can be assigned prior to the session, or read in the session before starting the activity. (If readings are assigned prior to the session, be sure to supply the questions to think about also).

This activity can be done with or without the accompanying worksheet and PowerPoint slide.  Participants should be provided with the questions before reading the handouts. Ask them to think about the questions as they read.

Table talk

Ask the participants to spend some time thinking about their answers to these questions prior to discussing the questions in their group. They can jot down their thoughts on the worksheet or a piece of paper.

Group share

Call on groups to share their answers with the class. Participant responses will probably fall on a wide spectrum of beliefs about the usefulness of a calendar activity, how the calendars are used, and which skills calendar activities do and do not support. Allowing participants to talk in a non-judgmental environment can set the stage for later exploration together. Their answers will help you understand more about what sort of support they will need to be able to examine whether classroom activities are supportive of children’s learning and development.   

Teacher Responses and Where to Take Them 

The Mathematics of Measurement handout provides participants with a general description of the mathematics of measurement. The "To Calendar or Not to Calendar" Vignette brings into question a traditional and very popular preschool classroom whole group activity. The purpose of this exploration of calendar use is to help participants examine some long-held beliefs about particular activities that may or may not support children in their mathematical development. A good technique for supporting understanding is drawing on the larger group to discuss whether participants’ stated goals of calendar activities are achieved through their use. Some participants may suggest community building as a goal. The point is not to disparage calendar activities, but to make sure that participants understand limits of such activities.

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