When I started teaching 20 years ago now, I spent a lot of time on a calendar routine. This included adding the number for the day, going through the days and months, counting the number of days at school, and discussing the weather. At one point, I think that I even had a Weather Bear where children chose the items to dress the bear based on the weather.
My teaching has changed a lot over the years based on updated program documents, new learning, and interactions with other professionals, including my amazing teaching partner, Paula. The entire calendar routine is something that Paula and I have reconsidered, and largely eliminated, thanks to the Kindergarten Program Document and blog posts like this one by Mardelle. While we’ve attempted a full year calendar before, it’s never quite worked as we hoped. Maybe we need to consider another time or another way to introduce it. This blog post though is less about the calendar, and more about the other part of this calendar routine: the weather.
While Paula and I do not sing a Weather Song with the class, dress a Weather Bear, or graph the temperature, we do discuss weather with the kids … all the time. As many of my blog readers know, we start our day outside. We go out in all kinds of weather, including on cold, snowy days and on rainy days. Recently, I had an epiphany: a look at the weather becomes meaningful for our kids based on how they apply this knowledge to their play.
- Where can they play outside?
- What choices can they make?
- What do they need to consider about their clothing choices and material choices? Why?
- What might they do to stay safe?
I can’t help but listen back to this conversation from Thursday about the rainy weather. This weather became meaningful because of the association that kids made between rain and worms. Would they find worms outside?
It turns out that yes, it was warm enough for at least one giant worm.
Looking back on moments like this one on Thursday, I can’t help but think more about why the old weather routine is a thing of the past: a rote regurgitation of the weather seemed to provide little options for thinking and application. I have to wonder if our short, daily weather conversations accomplish even more than the Weather Bear used to, and in a more authentic way. What do you think? As we consider what we might be eliminating, do we also have to think about why we’re doing so and what learning we might need to address in a new way? The weather routine of long ago has us answering these questions. What are some of your moments of re-thinking and change? Practices of the past do not always need to be forgotten, but maybe some of them need to be re-thought.