Calendar skills are essential for any child striving for independence. Traditional K-1 classes have a daily calendar routine filled with music, counting and reciting the days of the week. This is a great way for children to master their days independent living skills. I put a heavy emphasis on independent life skills for my students. Knowing this, I knew I had to adapt the traditional calendar routine so that it would be beneficial for my students and their significant needs. I have created a hands-on systematic routine with the use of my calendar books. I have these posted on Teachers Pay Teachers.
I created a larger version of my calendar books and put them on display in the front of my classroom. During our calendar routine, I model each step on the large calendar in the front before the students complete their own individual calendar books. The pages of the calendar books are each a different color. The colored pages in the calendar books match those posted on the whiteboard. This makes for easy instruction giving, "Turn to the orange page, please."
I have my "days of the week" and "month" calendar pieces attached with velcro to posters. As we listen to songs and determine what yesterday, today and tomorrow is, my students can select the correct choice from the poster.
Here are the pages of "My Calendar Book." At the beginning of Calendar, the Calendar Books are passed out to each student. As a class, we sing songs and complete the large whiteboard calendar. As we finish a page as a class, I walk around with the correct calendar piece and pass it out to each student. Before they get their calendar pieces, they must read the page. For example, "Yesterday was Thursday." They then attach their calendar piece to the book.
I have a "Days in School" interactive poster in the front of the classroom. The numbers are attached to a binder ring that allow for easy flipping. I bought cheap pots in the dollar section of Target and taped them. These were PERFECT size cups to hold our counting straws in. I like this system of counting the days of school because it is easy to read and understand for my learners.
Like everything else I do in my class, I have to differentiate my routine for individual students. I have created a Calendar Board that I have posted on TPT. This calendar board is a simple double sided sheet. It is full of vibrant colors to engage my lower students. It is also a flat sheet, no velcro attachments. This is good for my active students that like to mouth, chew and destroy little pieces! I love it because all of my students are still exposed to Calendar and are able to participate as a whole class.
In my classroom I use a lot of AAC Devices with my students. These allow my non-verbal students to participate in the routine. I use the LITTLE step-by-step switch communicator created by AbleNet. This is great and easy to program the days of the week. I also use a 7 level communicator for my higher level non-verbal students. This device is awesome because it allows my students to communicate in sentences in a voice output system. All of my students love these communication devices, so I like to incorporate them into my classrooms for all students, including my verbal students.
These calendar materials could be adapted for any classroom. They are easy to use interactive materials that can make a simple calendar routine fun and engaging.