Calendar time. What a hot topic! Everyone does it their own way. Here is a bit about how I do calendar in my preschool classroom. I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching to share with you all about it!
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 it 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 everyday and it only takes about 5 minutes. It is quick but so meaningful and packed with leaning! I always start by saying the what month and day it is. For example, "Today is September 4". 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 and "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). 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. To end calendar, my calendar helper spins a spinner on my Smartboard to pick an action (jump, march, clap, or punch). Together everyone counts up to the number it is. If it is September 4, we will jump and count up to the number 4.
Here are some other quick things we may talk about during calendar time.
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. I 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.
Preschoolers don't fully understand the concept of time but starting to introduce students to these concepts is important too. A linear calendar will begin to help them understand the concept of time. We talk about what is happening today, what happened yesterday, and what will happen tomorrow. The events really help with this. They can remember that yesterday was a normal day, know that we are having a dance party today, and tomorrow (when they wake up) will be a home day.
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: I try to put as many events on the calendar as possible. The events give me teachable moments to talk and ask questions about. Every Friday during music and movement, we have a Dance Party. That is an event I add to the calendar. We have play group every other week called Superstar group and it is on the calendar. I put "home days" aka weekends on the calendar too. There are 174 different Calendar Icons included and are early childhood friendly. Sometimes I or a student will just write or draw a picture with dry erase markers if I don't have an event card for something. I will be able to add when the grocery store will be "closing" and the bakery will be "opening". The more events the better! 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.
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.
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."
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 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.
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!
Loving the linear calendar? Pin it!
I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have any questions. Don't forget to check out other amazing classroom ideas at Doodle Bugs Teaching!