Calendar lessons are a common part of the first grade morning routine. They help reinforce reading, sequencing and counting skills while helping students ease into the school day. Lesson plans based on the calendar and date don't have to be complicated. They should be short, simple activities integrated into your daily morning meeting or into a brief lesson during the day. They should offer students a chance to practice what they've learned and should accommodate all types of learners.
Keep a calendar on a wall or blackboard near your meeting area that's accessible to students. The calendar should be labeled with the name of the month, days of the week and dates. Keep small shapes or pictures near the calendar to cover each square as the days pass. Write the date out in a morning message on a black or white board each day, leaving blanks that children can help fill in. Blanks may be for one or more letters or numbers in the date. Choose a new student each day to help complete the date. The child will come up to the calendar to figure out what day it is. The child can also invite the class to participate. This activity familiarizes children with the days of the week, months of the year and the structure of written dates.
Create weather journals for each child. The journals should show one month or week per page, with a blank box for each day. Some children may need a full page for each day. Each box should include the number that corresponds with the date. Children may fill in the name of the month and the names of the days, or this information can be preprinted. Ask children to draw a picture and write a word about the weather each day. Keep a chart posted to present some options. For instance, a child may draw a small sun and write "hot" in the box on a given day. Incorporate the data from their journals in a graphing lesson in math, or discuss how weather changes from one season to the next.
Use a calendar for counting activities in math. A pocket chart calendar is especially useful for this activity. Ask specific questions based on the current unit of study. To work on counting skills, invite students to put the numbers in order on the calendar. Play an "I Spy" game to practice addition "ask" questions, such as, "How many more days until the weekend?" or "How many weeks are in this month?" Give clues to help children practice deduction skills. For example, you could say, "I spy a two-digit number that starts with an even number and ends in zero." Invite the students to ask yes or no questions about your number. Or you could make a community chart that shows the number of first-graders wearing blue during a particular week.
Calendar lessons can help strengthen penmanship skills in first grade. While learning about the days of the week and months of the year, children can practice writing letters and can learn about the use of capital letters in names and titles. Provide primary level lined paper with a dotted or dashed line that runs through the center of two border lines. This type of paper will help first-graders form their letters more easily. Have students practice writing the name of the month or day. Use this activity when a holiday is coming up. Children can draw accompanying pictures.
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