Hello, Teaching Friends!
With 2012 just around the corner, it's a great time for some calendar activities! In view of how totally wiggly everybody is on the first day back at school, one favorite activity of mine is to make super-sized calendar scrolls. This activity gets the kids out of their seats and sprawled out on the floor (which they love!), while practicing the sequence of months and building general calendar skills.
To get started, you'll need a long roll of paper about 12 to 15 inches wide. If you don't have a roll, you can substitute a few sheets of 12x18 construction paper stapled together the long way. Prepare copies of blank monthly calendars for each of your students. Jan Brett's website is a good source for these! Trim them, but keep the name of the month intact on each one. Before you run your copies, it's fun to write in all of your kids' birthdays - and don't forget your own. They love this detail! It's helpful to give some support to strugglers by posting a list of the months, somewhere visible to all, like on your SMARTboard. Now, be sure that everyone has a gluestick and you're good to go!
Having done this a few times, my best piece of advice for this project is to "cluster": put out January though April on one table, May-August on another, and September-December off in another corner.
Here's why I've found this works: there's a good bit of listening and following directions involved, every child will still need to do some reading and sequencing, and nobody will get completely overwhelmed by getting all 12 months at once. Take it from me, putting all 12 months on one long table cafeteria-style has DISASTER written all over it! This project can get quite chaotic enough, thank you!! Parents always have stories to tell about the 6 foot tall calendars hanging in their kids' bedrooms all year - that makes the chaos worth it, don't you think? :)
Other calendar activities you might want to try:
* Cut up old calendars to make puzzles. You can zigzag cut individual months apart (great for sequencing through 31!) or make long vertical whole-year puzzles. This is a great way to get across the concept of one month "fitting into" another, e.g. if March ends on a Wednesday, April will begin on a Thursday.
* For the Pocket Chart Center (photo at top of post): Cut apart the letters in the names of the months and have students reconstruct them. Another "control the chaos" hint: label separate ziploc bags for January-March, April-June, July-September, and October-December. Color-coding is also helpful for when all those little letter pieces start to fly around!
Here's a set of cards for the months to use for sequencing or cut-aparts. Click on the picture to download yours from Google Drive.
If you're looking for some great New Years ideas, click on the button to head over to the Show and Tell Tuesday Linky at Sunny Days in Second Grade!
I'm sure you have some great calendar activities to share... please leave a comment! Thanks!