Using a Calendar as a Teaching Tool (page 2)
A calendar provides a wealth of instruction opportunities across many grade levels. Lower grades (K through grade 2) use the calendar as part of a daily morning routine. Upper grades (Grades 3 through 6) might use the calendar primarily for math.
- Use calendars that are either store-bought or created from poster board.
- Consider having students create the numbers—for example, by illustrating numbered squares that you prepare for them. The squares can be related by theme to a specific unit or holiday season.
- Consider relating the numbers by shape to the months they represent—for example, pumpkins for October or turkeys for November. Pattern recognition can be taught by alternating shapes.
- Consider including bilingual labels for the months and days of the calendar for English Language Development (ELD) support.
- Appoint a calendar monitor to lead the class in calendar activities. This gives you time to get ready for the day, and it empowers the students.
- Review the days of the week and the number of days in a month: “What day is the fourth day of this month?” “What day is the second Tuesday of this month?” “How many Wednesdays are in this month?”
- Review the weather: “Today is ------ (sunny, cloudy, foggy, rainy, snowy, hot, cold, mild, etc.).” All of these weather terms can be written on cards and illustrated for ELD support.
- Review “Today is -----,” “Yesterday was -----,” “Tomorrow will be -----.”
- Review counting by twos, threes, fours, etc.
- Create and review patterns with numbers and colors (for example, red-red-blue).
- Create “ones” and “tens” groups using items such as coffee stirrers or popsicle sticks. Start with one, then two, then three, etc. Once you have ten, they can be bundled and placed in a “tens” container. This can be done monthly, and after a time the class will bundle a “hundreds” group.
- Represent the date with money, counting out coins to symbolize the date. The 12th of the month could be represented by one dime and two pennies, two nickels and two pennies, or twelve pennies.
- Represent each day that passes with tally marks.
- Assign research projects related to the history of the date—for example, each student is assigned a date to research for that month and reports out on that day.
- Assign math problems that equal the date—for example, on the 14th of the month you could assign (3 + 4) x 4 ÷ 2 = 14, or if b - 6 = 8, then b = 14.
- Work with students to calculate the day on which a date would fall next year, in three years, etc.
- Work with students to calculate the percentage and fractional part of the total number of days in the month for any given date—for example, for the 4th of the month you could calculate 4 ÷ 30 = 2 ÷ 15 of the month, .1333 of the month, and 13% of the month.
- Use conversions to illustrate the date—for example, for the 3rd of the month you might use 3 feet = 36 inches, 3°C = 37°F, or 3 pints = 5 ⅜ gallons.
- Having students write a poem or journal entry using the same number of sentences as the number of the date—for example, for the 4th of the month, students would write four sentences for the assignment.
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