It’s official! The New Year has arrived. Across the country and around the world, January 1st signals the official end of the holiday season and a return to a noses to the grindstone time of year—in the workplace and in the classroom. The start of a new year, fresh with energy, is the perfect time to conduct a mini unit utilizing the new calendar.
Below you will find some of the many ways that a calendar can be used to teach, reinforce, and review essential skills. Many of these suggestions can be easily modified to meet age and ability levels. They can be used as center activities, small group review, or as a homework activity that involves the entire family.
1. Begin the unit with a quick review of the months of the year in order. Enlarge and print the monthly calendar to use for this activity
2. Provide each child a copy of the calendar to use for the following activities.
- Guide the children in finding and coloring the block on the calendar that corresponds with their birthday.
- Play the “Standing Up for my Birthday” counting game where the children orally point and count each day of each month. When the month and date match the child’s birthday, they are to stand up and shout. “Hey! That’s my birthday!”
- Take turns reading the months of the year and having each child with a birthday that falls in the month stand up. Record those numbers on a page printed with the months listed in order.
- Use the bar graph template (provided) to create a bar graph based on the number of birthdays that occur each month.
- Practice left-to-right tracking and the concept of rows by pointing and reading the days of the week or dates for a particular week of each month.
- Practice the concept of columns verses rows by finding and reading the column in each month that begins with 7. This is great to provide a foundation for multiplication and skip counting.
- Locate and color the dates for important holidays.
- As a homework assignment, use the calendars to locate and color the block that corresponds to each family member. Remind children to use a different color for each one.
- Create a bar graph with the number of months that have the EXACT number of days—28, 29*, 30, 31. (See silly duck joke)
- Cut the calendars out and laminate to use in a learning center. Create task cards to place in chronological order, sort by season, sort by total number of days, etc.
*The calendars are also great additions to the morning warm-up folder for your children. They can be used to mark each day that has passed, identify weekend days, record the daily high/low temperatures, or provide sticker incentives and rewards. The possibilities are endless.