As a teacher, you know that calendar skills are important. They help students keep track of time, understand when events happen, and develop a sense of sequencing. In this blog post, we will discuss why calendar practise is often overlooked and detail easy ways you can prioritize calendar practise in your classroom. We will provide examples of how to teach this skill and easy resources you can start using in your classroom today!
Why Aren’t Calendars Taught?
I am going to be real with you right now, it took until my 3rd year of teaching to realise I hadn’t taught reading calendars to my students… I had been teaching for 2 YEARS, and nothing, crickets… Teaching is HARD, and to start with you can’t do it all. I don’t think I even realised I wasn’t teaching it. I just expected the students to know that sort of thing. But you know what, they didn’t. I was continually frustrated that I would ask them to write due dates in their diaries and I had to check every single one to make sure they were on the right date, let alone page in their diary. So, I have learnt from my mistakes. Since then, no matter what the year level and what the curriculum says, I have explicitly taught calendars.
Calendar Practise is Often Overlooked
Teaching Calendar Skills are often overlooked, because it simply doesn’t have a place in the curriculum. If you look through the US Common Core Standards or the Australian Curriculum, reading, interpreting and creating calendars receives little mention! But we still need to teach it, yeah? So where does it fit in when we already have a crowded curriculum?
We Asssume Students Will Just Know How to Read Calendars
We often assume that if students know the days of the week and months of the year, they will know how to apply that knowledge to read calendars. But teaching them the days and months doesn’t teach them features such as leap years, or the difference between the number of days in each month. It doesn’t show them how one week goes into the next week and what the date actually means! I couldn’t count on one hand the number of times I have had a discussion with students about the first day of the month won’t always start on a Monday!
My Favourite Ways to Teach Calendar Practise
Reading calendars is an everyday skill, so practising reading calendars should be happening on a daily basis. No teacher has the time to have a dedicated lesson towards teaching calendars, so activities need to be quick, easy and routine. Here are my three favourite ways that I have found calendar practise can easily be incorporated into your day.
As Part of Your Morning Maths (Morning Meeting)
Have a large calendar on display in your classroom. Refer to the calendar everyday, cross off days or turn cards over. Say the date aloud and get students to copy. Today is “Monday August 1st, 2022” etc. Put special events and birthdays on the calendar. Count the number of days until a special event happens. Talk about what date was it 3 days ago. What will the date be in 5 days. During your quick 5 minute discussion, have students reading and interpreting the calendar as much as you can.
Read more about my Morning Maths routine.
Don’t have a lot of space in your classroom for calendar to be displayed? Download my FREE Daily Calendar Posters resource. Print all pages in A3 to make it easier to read!
Have Students Write the Date on Their Work
It sounds simple, but how many times do we stamp the work or tell the students not to worry about putting the date in their workbooks or on worksheets. Make it a priority. Write the day out in words and shorthand everyday on the board. Don’t accept work unless it has students name and date on it. Emphasise this skill right from the start and they will catch on quickly.
Use Calendars to Record a Daily Task
Use a blank calendar for students to write on and record a daily task in the classroom.
You could record:
- Classroom special events including birthdays
- Recording a word of the day
- Answering a maths problem of the day
- Countdown Calendar
- Advent Calendar
- Kindness Calendar
- Daily feeling
- As a gratitude journal
Teach students to get into the habit of coming in from recess or lunch and getting out their calendar straight away to record their daily task.
These blank calendar templates are the perfect templates or any year level and any year. Including both a Northern and Southern Hemipshere version, they are not dated so can be used any year. For younger students, simply date the worksheet before photocopying for each child. You can download this featured product in my store or on Teachers Pay Teachers.
Like the idea of doing a check in every month to see how students understanding of Calendars is growing? These Calendar Worksheets are perfect for you! Including an easy and more challenging worksheet as a well as an extension worksheet. Differentiate with ease, the perfect 15 minute task to do once a week! Best thing yet, you will receive a FREE update EVERY YEAR!
Here’s what other teachers are saying about this pack:
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ “Probably one of my favorite resources!! Can’t believe it keeps updating so I can continue to use it. Very good calendar practice for my kids.”
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ “This product has become essential in my morning calendar routine for my higher functioning students. I can’t wait until the next portion is brought out and I can introduce it to my students for the next school year.”
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ “this is such a great support for my struggling math students–thank you for consistently updating your product!”
Download the Northern Hemisphere (July to July) version
Download the Southern Hemisphere (Calendar Year) version
Don’t forget to download my FREE Calendar Display, perfect for any year level!