Two years ago, I did some research and crowdsourced information on Instagram about calendar / meeting time in Pre-K — I even wrote a blog post about it with the information that I had collected. It had become monotonous in my classroom and I was so bored of it, which in turn made my students completely over it. I know, and knew then, the benefits of having calendar time in a classroom: tracking, counting, number recognition, days of the week, months of the year, etc. but I sided with the fact that time being such an abstract concept for my four year olds. It turns out, I was bored how HOW I was implementing calendar time in my classroom and not calendar time itself. It just wasn’t meaningful anymore, for any of us.
I did end up stopping calendar time in my classroom for the last few weeks of school that year. It felt weird. Once I started looking into if calendar time was developmentally appropriate for young children (spoiler alert: it is, in the right way) and hearing from others about how implement it in their classrooms, I knew that just needed to try something new and shift my teaching a bit. I read an amazing article from the Nation Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC, a source I think is highly credible!) called “Calendar Time for Young Children – Good Intentions Gone Awry” and was inspired to bring it back.
With all this information, I spent time last summer switching from a traditional calendar to a linear calendar for my classroom. Using two rows of laminated sentence strips stuck with magnets to my whiteboard, I added velcro dots to my existing calendar pieces and stuck them to the strips. I added magnets with a hot glue gun for some pieces that would move more frequently. I found a linear calendar set on TPT that I downloaded and used for the home / school day cards. I had to make a few of my own pieces — birthdays, special days, etc — but it worked really well! There were two big struggles for me though: the sentence strips needed a LOT of magnets to hold taut with all of the pieces on, and it wasn’t easy to pull the pieces off when it was time to change the calendar at the start of the month. Once the cards started ripping and the sentence strips were pulled off of the magnets, I knew I had to rethink my linear calendar. Sooo, naturally as I do with many things in my classroom, I made my own!
Making my own, I was able to add a VERY important piece that I didn’t have with the set I had bought: a card for a half day, when I would have my morning students but not my afternoon students. I also knew that I wanted the letters / words to be BIG and the overall theme of the calendar to be bright (to visually pop with the removable wallpaper and whiteboard that it would be on). I also decided to use StikkiClips for the calendar pieces. They stick really well (much better than I was anticipating!) and it will be SO MUCH easier to pull the cards off of them to reset the calendar! Last year, I used mini clothespins to clip birthday cards to the dates, and this is how I will show holidays with this new setup.
School hasn’t started yet, but I am so excited about calendar time this year! Here is a full view of our calendar area, including cards and headers for the month, year, weather, and season — all things we go over during calendar time!
This calendar set, with the home / school / half day cards, holidays, numbers, headers, and MORE is in my Teachers Pay Teachers store — click the photo below to see more details about it!
I am also working to make month-specific sets to go along with this. These will have more holiday options that might not be in the original set and have multiple pattern cards for the days (with matching month cards). Of course, I love to share freebies of things, so I’ve made a mini September set for you! This includes a special set of number cards that isn’t included in the full September pack!