Calendar Math -- Keeping them Engaged

One of the toughest parts to Calendar Math is keeping ALL of the kids engaged throughout the year.  I mean, with 36 students it can be a challenge to do just about anything!  So in order to keep the students focused, and really benefiting from Calendar, I have done a few things that I think have been successful and I thought I would share them with you.

1.  Hand Motions.  I shared this video with you earlier....but I am going to post it again for those of you who are new or might have missed it.  This is the number one thing that keeps my kids interested.  Because I am asking them to follow along and participate with me, they are all.....well...following along!  The motions serve a second purpose in that they help the students kinesthetically remember some of the more mundane mathematical vocabulary.  Each one of them can tell you how to find the median, mode, range, mean, and outlier in a data set because of the motions we use.  They know about numerators and denominators without fail.  It just helps them all around.

2.  Think-Pair-Share and Hand Signals.  I use A LOT of this during Calendar.  I am constantly asking the kids to "turn to your partner and tell them what the big number says" or "tell your partner why the number is prime".  It helps to keep them on top of it and awake.  I also am always asking them to "put the number in the tenths place on your fingers," or "show me on your hands what 24 divided by 8 is."  Again, keeps them involved.  I also have them respond whole group at times ("whisper to me the big number" or something like that)

3.  Student Teachers.  This is the favorite amongst the students.  Once Calendar is in full swing (even now, 3 weeks into school, I am starting this process), I choose a few students to come up and write on the boards.  They really like being involved that way.  But then, towards the end of the year, I step back and allow the kids to actually lead Calendar.  They LOVE this.  It is so interesting to hear them using the language and vocabulary of Calendar.  The other students also enjoy responding back to them and are, in return, engaged as well. there are some things *I* do to keep the students engaged.  For those of you using some form of Calendar Math, what do you do?  Let's get a big list going!

And if you are interested in learning more, here are the getting started basics.  You can get the recording sheet for free here.  There will also be links to all of the other Calendar Math blog posts I have written.

If you would like to purchase some editable calendar math stuff, here is 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade well as the bulletin board pieces.


  1. Hi Steph! I started Calendar Math from the first day last week, all thanks to you. We've already touched upon some very important concepts the kids will be seeing in later unit. PLUS, it has been great to have the board on display since these terms and topics come up later during the day. I LOVE IT!

    I've been asking students to come up and write on the board, with that same intention of them leading the board later in the year. I will definitely be working on the hand motions as well. Thank you for everything, your work is incredible and I am very grateful to be able to use this in class :)

  2. I am so glad it is going well in your room! So nice to hear. I am such a believer in it, that is it nice to hear when other are having success with it too :)

    The motions and "student teachers" really help to curb burn out toward the end of the year.

    (and thank you for your kind words, as always :) You are the best!)

  3. Thank you so much for introducing me to your way of doing Calendar Math! I have been using this since day one this year and it is going so smoothly!! I love it, Stephanie:) I'm going to try having some student teachers next week. I will keep you posted!

    1. Thanks Elizabeth. I can't wait to hear how it goes!


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