Friday, July 10, 2015

Calendars for Students

Do you do calendar activities with your students? I'm willing to bet that a large percentage of kindergarten, first grade, and second grade teachers have a whole group calendar time every day. Do your students also create their own calendars?

I provide my students with a blank calendar for each month of the year.  We typically work on monthly calendars on the first school day of each month. After orienting students to the days of the week, singing the "Days of the Week" song while pointing to each name, and talking about what the columns on the calendar means, each student creates a calendar. Students simply find the day of the week on which the first day of the month falls, and then they write a numeral "1" in that square. Next, they write 2, 3, and so on. It does get tricky with very young students when they get to Saturday, and run out of space on that top row. When they move to Sunday, it's often tricky for them to go to the next row. After a few months of making calendars, even kindergarteners can complete this activity with little support.

Why make calendars, you ask? Well, the provide additional practice in numeral formation, counting, handwriting, fine motor skills, following directions, and more! When students write a few numbers and then pause for a break, continuing the activity requires them to count on. I absolutely love this activity, and and because it provides an opportunity for students to practice counting and numeral formation in a meaningful, productive way, they love it! Not to mention the picture on each calendar... students are always eager to finish writing numbers and color the picture.

After students create their calendar, teachers can ask questions and lead students through analysis of the calendar.

How many days are there in this month?
How many Mondays in this month?
Is the first Sunday in this month an even or an odd date?
Why are there more _______days than ______days?
What day of the week will the first day of the next month be?

After students have some practice listening to questions and using the evidence on the calendar to answer questions, they can make up their own questions. When students create their own questions, the activity increases in difficulty according to Webb's Depth of Knowledge system.

I created this set of calendars for students to use, and they can be used year after year! The names of the months are printed in kid-friendly fonts, and the calendars feature darling graphics by Melonheadz. Get them here!

And continue to enjoy July! It's my favorite month of all: Independence Day, my birthday, and my grandfather's birthday!

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