Keeping Crucial Math Skills Fresh

When I was a fifth-grade teacher, I saw time and time again how important skills like computations will slide over the course of the year. As teachers, we teach a unit, test to see what the kids have learned, and then it is time to move on to the next chunk of the curriculum. There's just too much jammed in there to spend too long on any one thing...

This year as a primary teacher, I've made it a priority to visit number sense, addition, subtraction, and patterning daily. See, these are the things that my fifth graders still hadn't mastered when they got to me. How can I possibly fit all that in? The answer, my friend, is calendar math time.

I wrote about our calendar routine back in the fall, but much has changed since then. My kiddos have become MASTERS at addition and subtraction with regrouping (I'll get to that a little later), and the patterning we've moved on to is far more complex. If you read the post back in October you'll remember that the calendar page looked like this:
View the original post here.
View the original post here.
As you can see, our focus was on some simple patterning - ABC during the month of October. Now in April it looks like this:
As the basic patterning became easy for my students, I began adding a second pattern. They now have to identify the attributes that are changing - size and shape - and identify the different cores of these patterns. And they can do it! (I have taken a class list and placed all of the skills I'm assessing across the top. As we work through the routine I am able to record which students can demonstrate the required skills and knowledge, and who needs more practice or support, and I'm sure to reach everyone at some point!)

You can also see that the little clouds above the calendar have multiplied. Those link to various other pages within the file. We still do the Today's Number activities that we did in the fall (with much larger numbers now),
but I've also added a review of our daily "Swiper Challenge". (Note that these two pages are not included in my resource, but are an example of how the original can be easily modified to best suit the needs of your classroom!)
(The blue boxes are used to isolate the ones and tens columns for students who need this.)

This is the daily addition and subtraction practice that has helped my students master the operations with regrouping!
You can read about this motivating activity HERE and HERE! You'll also find links to some freebies so you can try this in your own classroom if you'd like!

You can read about all of the other features of our calendar math routine by heading back to the original post.


  1. Crushing on the calendar. Kids love drawings and putting labels on a dates and you managed to combine the two. I bet it's a hit with your students. This is a good inspiration for all math teachers. - Layce of

    1. Hi Layce! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! You're right - my kids love this! We use it every single day, and I've really seen so many skills mastered because of the daily practice!! Happy students - Happy teacher! That's a win-win! :)


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