Best of 2014- Calendar Time

My 3rd most popular post from 2014 was about my Calendar routine.  I love my routine and have not really changed it for years.  My students benefit from the routine and visuals and make progress daily! 

Today, we're chattin' about Calendar Books! For those of you who have been following me for quite some time, you may already know about our Calendar routine in Room 83.  But I wanted a refresher post about this as it is such a crucial life skill for our students and such a systematic routine in our classroom each day!

I am a firm believer in teaching essential life skills to my kiddo's.  One of the most important life skills we teach our kids in elementary school is basic calendar skills.  Calendar skills carry over into many aspects of our daily living.  With that being said, I am sure to differentiate the "traditional" calendar routine so that each kiddo gets the most out of it.

I choose to do my Calendar routine as a whole class right before the kids go to lunch.  Following our second round of work centers, students check their schedules and get ready for Calendar time!  It is a good way to bring the whole group back together after rotations.  At this time I have two of my staff members take their lunch so I'm only left with one staff member to assist.  I use this time to promote independence so I have my aide stay back and only assist on an as needed basis. (Or with bathroom emergencies!)

In the front of my room I have a LARGE calendar set-up on my white board.  The calendar is all laminated and interactive to keep my student's engaged.  All of these pages up on my bulletin board are the individual pages from my Interactive Calendar Books that are for sale in TpT.  I just mounted them on black construction paper to make them "pop" on my whiteboard.  While utilizing this calendar bulletin board to drive the calendar routine, my students all participate in their own way through individualized calendar materials.  We go through each step together in a strict routine.  I also incorporate TONS of music from various CD's I have collected and songs I have downloaded from iTunes!  Yes, I have spent MY momney on countless weather songs.. LOL!

 Here are all of the variations I use during my calendar routine!

Here are some pictures of my books I created for my own classroom :)
I use Calendar Books for most of my students.  These books I created are printed, laminated, binded and velcro'd.  During the calendar routine, student's follow along with the rest of the class.  The calendar books mirror the calendar bulletin board in the front of my classroom.  As we cover each page in front of the class, students attach the correct velcro PEC to their own book and read the page, "Today is ___" etc.  I use Big Mac switches for my non verbal student's so that they are able to participate as well.  In the books I have the following pages:
Yesterday was
Today is
Tomorrow is
The month is
The date is
The weather is
The season is

For each page of the Calendar Book, I create a poster of all the visual answers to provide prompting for the students that need it.  Here are the pictures of the posters we use to complete the calendar bulletin board.  Once we answer it as a class, I simply pass out the calendar piece to each student.  Students read each page to me as I pass them out!

For the date's page of the calendar book, I use a star PEC to have the student's mark today's date.  I found it to be much easier to manage one PEC per date page rather than passing out ton's of little numbers! I also created simple birthday, holiday and no school PEC's that can be attached to the date page of the calendar books!

Here are the individual pages of the Calendar Books for you to see!

I created a Calendar Board to match the Calendar Books that many of my student's use during Calendar time.  This calendar board is used for two of my student's who become overwhelmed by the calendar books.  These students are not yet holding a pencil on their own so they are not ready for a worksheet.  I like implementing the calendar board because it is sturdy, and this students are able to participate without being dependent on an adult for help.  Students simply follow along the calendar routine and point to the days of the week/month/date/weather when I ask them.  There are no velco pieces to the calendar board so it is super easy to introduce!
3. 7 Level Communication Device

I have one student with an Orthopedic Impairment who is limited with her physical mobility.  She uses two low-tech devices, the 7 Level Communicator and the Go-Talk 9.  I set up the 7 Level Communicator so that she is able to fully participate during each step of the Calendar routine by pushing 2 buttons to complete a sentence. (Yesterday was Monday or The Weather is sunny).  She also uses a LITTLE step-by-step  communicator from AbleNet to participate. I program this switch with three options: 1. The current month 2. Yes 3. No 

I created a Calendar worksheet for beginners.  This double sided worksheet is great for students who are able to independently hold a pencil and circle/find objects on their own.  This is a stepping stone to being able to work on the Daily Calendar Worksheet (fill in the blank.)

Like the worksheet above, this is for students who are independently holding a pencil and able to attend to a worksheet with minimal prompting.  This worksheet has fill in the blank sentence frames with a word bank to assist.  This worksheet matches the calendar books and bulletin board in the front of the room as well.

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