How to Make and Implement a Linear Calendar


How to make, organize, and implement a linear calendar for your classroom (helpful hints to make calendar time fun for your preschoolers)
Calendar time.  What a hot topic!  Everyone does it their own way.  A linear calendar is basically a calendar cut apart and glued together in one long line. 
A linear calendar is presented in a linear form.  All the numbers are in one long row.  The top row has the box for each number and the box below is for events.  It is placed low on the wall, at students eye level in my circle area.  It does take up a lot of space but it is totally worth it!  MANY of my students go to each morning to see what we are doing (before we do calendar).  Students LOVE the calendar so much they even take their parents to it at pick up or arrival to show them something that we did or will be doing!  You know it is meaningful when students use it without teacher support or cues.  IT IS AMAZING!

Calendar Time:  I do calendar time every day and it only takes about 5 minutes.  It is quick but so meaningful and packed with learning!  I always start by saying the what month and day it is.  For example, "Today is September 4".  Then my calendar helper uses a pointer and they point to the numbers as we rote count to the date. It's also fun to jump or stomp as you rote count the days too!

One thing I want to point out is that when I say what day it is, I say the nominal number, not the ordinal number (1st, 4th).  I pause before I say the number so they students have the opportunity to read the number on the calendar.  If students call out the wrong number, I make it a teachable moment.  I show the number they called out on the calendar, and talk for a few seconds how the numbers look the same, how they look different and move on.  I mark an "X" over the number and ask what is happening today.  Students call out the event or say that it is a "normal day" (no special events happening).

A linear calendar provides real, meaningful reasons to count! If we have an event coming up soon, I will ask or a student will ask "How many days until ___".  As a class, we count together to figure out how many more days until the event.  

How to make and implement a linear calendar for your classroom (helpful hints to make calendar time fun for your preschoolers)

If it is a new month, I will go over what all the event icons are.  If we are at the end of a month, we may talk about the name of the next month.  If a child asks what day of the week it is we will talk about it.  Sometimes we talk about what we did yesterday if there was an event.

It is important to take the students lead.  The conversations that occur during calendar give me the opportunity to introduce time and calendar vocabulary in a way that is meaningful to them.  
How to make and implement a linear calendar for your classroom (helpful hints to make calendar time fun for your preschoolers)

That's it.  My calendar time is really that short.  Like I said, it takes about 5 minutes.  I rarely have behavior problems because calendar time is important and meaningful to them.  They want to know what we are doing today.  I also LOVE that it gives students meaningful reasons to count!  

Events

The more the better! I try to put as many events on the calendar as possible.  The events give us meaningful reasons to count to and ask questions about.  Every Friday during music and movement, we have a Dance Party.  Maybe you have Spanish, library, or do yoga on certain days each week. Put those on the calendar.

Emergency drills (fire drill, earthquake drill) are great to put on the calendar too. It is also a great reminder for me to review the emergency drill routines with students before we have the drill too.

Students want to know if their routine is going to be different. If you have an event on the calendar, students can prepare and know ahead of time that today is going to be a bit different.

I put "home days" aka weekends on the calendar too.  There are 174 different Calendar Icons included and are early childhood friendly.  Sometimes a student will draw a picture on a small rectangle if I don't have an event card for something.

Events get the kids excited about what is happening too.  When it is a new month or I add a new event, students will bring their parents over to the calendar to show them!  AMAZING!  You can purchase your own set of calendar icons, calendar numbers, and calendar month headers by clicking on the picture below.


   

Setting up the Calendar: On the first day or last day of the month, students take turns helping me take down the old month and put the the new month.  I do this in small groups.  Some students help taking it down, some help putting the numbers up, and some help putting the events up.  The calendar numbers are attached with Velcro to the calendar so we can take them on and off as needed.  The event icons are attached with tape.  
To take down the calendar, the students take off the numbers one at a time and erase the "X".  They also take off the events icons and take the tape off the back.  I have found if we erase the "X" marks when they are on the calendar, the black marker gets on the wall.

How to make and implement a linear calendar for your classroom (helpful hints to make calendar time fun for your preschoolers)

Now the calendar is blank.  Students take turns putting the numbers back up (in order) which can be tricky.  I only put out 10 numbers at a time.  A pile of 31 numbers would be too very overwhelming.  We put up numbers 1-10, then numbers 11-19, and numbers 20-31.  The older students help the younger students identify the number that is next.

How to make and implement a linear calendar for your classroom (helpful hints to make calendar time fun for your preschoolers)

How to make and implement a linear calendar for your classroom (helpful hints to make calendar time fun for your preschoolers)

Now that the numbers are all up in order, we can add events!  This is their favorite part! Students take turns putting the events up under the numbers. My calendar numbers are different colors. Some students may need cues to find the a number.  I may say, "Fourteen is a one and a four. It is yellow and in the middle of the month."  

How to make and implement a linear calendar for your classroom (helpful hints to make calendar time fun for your preschoolers)

A Traditional Calendar:  Now I know what you are thinking. What about a traditional calendar? In the spring, I introduce a traditional calendar. Students help me set it up every month as well. During calendar, they notice how the calendars are similar.
If you want to print out calendar icons smaller, just select 4 to a page when you go to print. The small icons fit perfectly in the corners. You can also still see most or all of the number too! WHOO!
I made the "x" pieces with old overhead projector pages. It's super simple, just cut the pages into squares and draw an X on each square with a Sharpie.

How to make and implement a linear calendar for your classroom (helpful hints to make calendar time fun for your preschoolers)

How to Make a Linear Calendar: Making a linear calendar isn't too hard to do.  Here is how I did it.  I cheated and bought 3 calendars from the teacher store and laminated them.  You could buy poster board and draw the squares by hand if you wanted.  My calendar had a border I didn't want so I cut it off.

How to make and implement a linear calendar for your classroom (helpful hints to make calendar time fun for your preschoolers)

The calendar needs one row for the numbers and one for the events.  Cut the the calendar so it is two rows high.


Last, tape the rows together and your linear calendar is done!  You can buy calendar numbers for the top row.  I attach my numbers with Velcro but you can attach them anyway you wish.  If a month less than 31 days, I just take off the numbers I don't need that month.  I added a purple boarder to make mine fancy.  The border is not necessary but I like it.

Staying organized!  I keep my calendar month headers, extra calendar numbers I am not using, and event icons in a plastic expandable file.  I got this one from Target in the dollar spot.  The month headers slide under the cover but don't fit in a pocket.  I love it because it keeps it all of my calendar pieces in one place! I can keep all the event icons organized into different pockets so they are easy to find!

How to make, organize, and implement a linear calendar for your classroom (helpful hints to make calendar time fun for your preschoolers)

How to make, organize, and implement a linear calendar for your classroom (helpful hints to make calendar time fun for your pre-k class)

Loving the linear calendar? Pin it!

How to make, organize, and implement a linear calendar for your classroom (helpful hints to make calendar time fun for your preschoolers)

Have more questions? Watch my FB LIVE below where I share ALL about the LINEAR CALENDAR!

11 comments

  1. I loved reading about your calendar! What a great idea to try a linear calendar - I can see that being very helpful and I think even for the Fall it would help my kinders. I like having them see a traditional calendar, however I think at the beginning I should perhaps try a linear one as we practice order and counting! I will have to think on this! I definitely love it for Pre-K. My sister taught Pre-K and I want to share this post with her - it's great!

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    1. In the spring, I introduce a traditional calendar to help my pre-k friends when they transition to kindergarten. I can't say enough about how much I LOVE the linear calendar. So amny fun reasons to count and to introduce/use time vocabulary.
      Thanks so much for sharing my post!

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  2. I stopped doing calendar time in my pre-school classroom for some of the exact reasons you mentioned. 1. They don't understand the concept of time yet and 2. They get antsy! BUT I LOVE this idea! How amazing is this! You need to kiss your brain! hahah I never would have thought of this! It's quick, the the kids understand the progression of the line, versus the month layout. And tying the events to the days is PERFECT! This truly is a great idea!

    Erin
    Creating & Teaching

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    1. You are so sweet! Calendar time in my room is a blast. The kids love it and get so much out of it. Thanks again for your super sweet comment!

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  3. Wow! This is great! I am definitely going to start my year with a linear calendar :) Thank you so much for this awesome idea!
    Andrea
    Maternelle avec Mme Andrea

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    1. Thanks so much! A linear calendar is an amazing too for preschoolers to use to begin to understand the concept of time. Good luck with your linear calendar.

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  4. Hi Jackie,
    This is a unique approach to calendar. Thank you for sharing! Definitely food for thought!

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  5. Hi Jackie,
    Thank you SO MUCH for sharing this. I too use a linear calendar in my prek classroom, however I did not like the way it worked so I started shopping around for a linear calendar pocket chart. I quickly found out that linear pocket charts do not exist. :(
    I will def buy some calendars at the dollar store and make my own. :)

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  6. I can not say enough about the implementation of a linear calendar. I have told anyone and everyone I can think of that if there is one routine/idea I am COMPLETELY happy about, it is my linear calendar. My kids ask such great questions during calendar time that allow me to incorporate math concepts in an authentic way. I never have anyone in my class ask "is it halloween?" or tell me "my birthday is tomorrow!". It has been an incredible learning tool in our room that also doubles as a number line in other aspects also. Great idea!

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  7. I did the linear calendar this past school year and the children loved it. So did I. I wanted something interactive and I found it. We loved seeing the activities for the month and it opened up discussion. Great for incorporating math activities. Thank you so much. I simply love it.

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