How to Use Calendar Time to Teach Fundamental Skills

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This is going to seem fairly obvious, but when you plan ahead and optimize calendar time, you can orchestrate an enormous amount of learning.  And the best part is that when used appropriately, all of these concepts just naturally evolve through discussion.  However, it will require you to be specific in your questioning.

So, I am going to introduce the fundamental skills you need to be covering and share a variety of targeted sentence frames that you’ll want to use regularly.  Depending on the age level you teach, all of the sentence frames may not be developmentally appropriate.  

So simply pick the ones that will help you focus your learners’ attention on the skills they need to know.  Then you will be able to maximize the learning that is taking place during calendar time.

Calendar Time Skills

Days of the Week

One of the first things you can encourage during calendar time is memorization of the days of the week.  Each day make sure that your verbiage includes the day of the week.

Talking about the days of the week is a perfect time to incorporate the five weekdays (or school days) and the two days that make up the weekend.  The most important thing to consider is simply the relationship between the days of the week.

⇒ You can access a FREE set of days of the week strips in the PRINTABLE LIBRARY.

Target Sentence Frames
  • “How many days are in a week?  There are seven days in a week.”
  • “How many Mondays are in a week?  There is one Monday in a week.” 
  • “How many days do we go/come to school in a week?  We go/come to school five days a week.”
  • “Which days do we not come to school?  We do not come to school on Saturday and Sunday.”

Months of the Year

Calendar time is the perfect opportunity to spend time discussing the months of the year.  While these will also need to be memorized, the current month should be mentioned daily.  Remember to discuss the fact that there are twelve months in a year.  This will also be the perfect time to introduce the seasons.

⇒ You can access a FREE set of months of the year strips in the PRINTABLE LIBRARY.

Target Sentence Frames
  • “How many months are in a year?  There are 12 months in a year.”
  • “How many Mondays are in this month?  There are ____ Mondays in this month.”
  • “How many weeks are in this month?  There are ____ weeks in this month.”
  • “How many days are in this month?  There are ____ days in this month.”

Seasons

Obviously, the seasons tend to coordinate (at least loosely) with specific months of the year.  This is the opportune time to discuss that there are four seasons and they always follow the same pattern.  Spring always follows winter.  Summer always follows spring.  Fall always follows summer.  Winter always follows fall.

Target Sentence Frames
  • “How many seasons are there?  There are four seasons.”
  • “What are the four seasons?  The four seasons are spring, summer, fall, and winter.”
  • “What season comes before ______?  _______ comes before ______.”

Past, Present, Future

The most natural way to introduce the supremely abstract idea of past/present/future is through calendar time.  You see, we generally tend to use the sentence frame “Today is _____.”  This leads into the concept of “Yesterday was ______.” and “Tomorrow will be ______.”

Incorporating the days of the week into calendar time is simple using these sentence frames.  Then add in the months of the year by using the sentences “This month is ______.  Last month was _____.  Next month will be _____.”  Make sure to use the past, present, and future tense helping verbs in the target sentences so that you are leading your learners to the correct complete sentence.  

Target Sentence Frames
  • “What day is it today?  Today is __________.”
  • “What day was it yesterday?  Yesterday was _________.”
  • “What day will it be tomorrow? Tomorrow will be _______.”
  • “What is this month?  This month is ____________.”
  • “What was last month?  Last month was ___________.”
  • “What month will be next?  Next month will be ____________.”

Before & After

When you are talking about past, present, and future, this is the perfect time to introduce and discuss the concept of “before” and “after.”  These prepositions align with the days of the week and months of the year seamlessly.  

Target Sentence Frames
  • “What day comes before  _____?  _______ comes before _______.”
  • “What day comes after ______?  ________ comes after _________.”
  • “What month comes before _____?  ________ comes before ________.”
  • “What month comes after ______?  ________ comes after _______.”

Ordinal Numbers

This is another no-brainer when it comes to calendar time.  Obviously as days of the week and months of the year are introduced and discussed, ordinal numbers will be mentioned.  (For great tips on teaching this skill, check out this post entitled 10 ways to teach ordinal numbers.)

It’s important to make sure your kiddos recognize that ordinal numbers have both a standard form (number form) and a word form.  This will help them distinguish the relationship between numbers and words. 

⇒ You can find a FREE set of printable ordinal number flashcards in my PRINTABLE LIBRARY.

Target Sentence Frames
  • “Which month comes first?  January comes first.”
  • “Which month comes second?  February comes second.”
  • “What is the third day of the week?  Tuesday is the third day of the week.”
  • “What is the sixth day of the week?  Saturday is the sixth day of the week.”

Calendar Sets

Because calendar time is so essential, I created two different calendar bundles that would help you facilitate learning.  However, I also wanted to make sure that these bundles coordinated with the other items in my farmhouse decor line.

The first is a Rustic Wood Calendar Bundle and the second is a Rustic Coastal Calendar Bundle.

 Both sets include:
➠ Months of the Year
➠ Days of the Week
➠ Numbers 1-31 (2.25″ x 2.25″)
➠ Holidays & Special Events (2.25″ x 2.25″)
➠ Headers (Yesterday was…, Today is…, Tomorrow will be…, The weather is…)
➠ Weather (Sunny, Rainy, Snowy, Windy, Cloudy)

Having a classroom calendar is essential to most early elementary classrooms. Whether it is a bulletin board or just slapped on a wall, kids benefit from the skills they learn during calendar time. Find ideas and links to printables that will help you make the most of your classroom calendar time. #calendar #classroom #teaching #homeschooling

By incorporating calendar time into your day, you’ll be addressing foundation skills that our learners need to know.