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Using Classroom Calendars as Learning Tools

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Large wall calendars at House of Doolittle

Everyone seems to have an opinion about calendars, but no one is doing anything about it. Okay, of course, the real saying is about the weather and the underlying meaning is that it is impossible to adjust something so large and fixed to fit our daily needs.  

While Mother Nature and the weather she gifts or inflicts upon us cannot be changed by any human intervention, the way we use calendars is most definitely under our control. And in a school environment, they are essential tools for adding depth to any curriculum. Large wall calendars should be a reference point for teachers and students as they lecture and learn about various subjects.   

Wall Calendars: Not a Thing of the Past 

Most people, even younger children, have become quite tech-savvy as they are used to laptops, tablets, smartphones, smart televisions, and gaming devices serving our practical and entertainment needs. Calendars can open immediately with a click or a tap. They can be handy but lose a little something regarding the translation of time. This can be highly relevant when teaching younger students this rather abstract concept.   

teacher lesson planner can be thought of as the very handbook about how a school year is organized to meet the educational standards every student must receive. Planners are an invaluable tool for teachers to keep their classrooms humming along and achieving goals. 

But how do students keep track of time, especially when in their very nature they often seem immune to its meaning? We have all run across a student mixing up the names of months or not knowing the next leap year. Mastering how time is identified and tracked in our society can be incorporated into a classroom’s daily, weekly, and monthly schedule so that students know how to read and use calendars to augment their studies. 

Wall Calendars: A Thing of the Present 

Teachers can use large wall calendars in the classroom to help students learn the fine art of time management. Even the most organized of us can walk the big blurry line between military precision and unbridled mess. While we can control many aspects of how we handle our time, external factors often force us to do course corrections to get through our days. 

For children, time can be a big murky, nebulous thing that exists only as a connection between meals, snacks, and playtime. Calendars can help children define in minutes, hours, and days what to expect and what is expected of them. Teachers do not have to turn them into time management robots capable of subdividing their days but can encourage them to look at the classroom as a gentle reminder of what comes next.  

Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic: There’s a Calendar for That   

Large wall calendars can be an important part of the teaching toolbox. Every subject taught should have a calendar component that corresponds to the topic.  

Spelling and Writing. Is there anyone out there who has not spelled out Wed-nes-day in their head to ensure it is spelled correctly? Even the best writer or spelling bee winner has used this little internal cheat sheet. Days of the week and months of the year are perfect examples of a practical spelling lesson. Teachers can make this lesson more fun by telling children about word origins like Sunday derived from the Sun and Monday from the word moon. 

Math. Calendars can support math lessons as well beginning in elementary school and even going through middle school. Many of us learned the old mnemonic saying, “Thirty days hath September, April, June, and November…” and it still is useful today when realizing we cannot write “June 31st.” Another math lesson can include the riddle, “How many months have 28 days?” A few students may quickly shout out “February,” but the critical thinkers will know the answer as all of them do. Middle school students can take on more difficult time concepts like calculating how many seconds or minutes there are in a day or a month or learning about why we have a leap year.  

Science. Students can use their classroom calendars as part of their science lessons. Almost without conscious thought we constantly look at calendars for a lot of scientific information- weather predictions, full moons, and the change of seasons. More in-depth information can be added by using a calendar to talk about climate change affecting tornado or fire season, average rainfall and snowfall during the year, or when to plant crops. 

Social Studies and History. What are calendars but bookmarks for history? Classrooms can mark specific days to indicate historical events, national holidays and days of remembrance, and periods marking eras and trends. Activities using calendars can include finding birthdays of famous people in United States history, identifying defining moments in time like women finally having the right to vote or the civil rights movement as well as infamous years like 1945, 1963, and 2001.  

Large wall calendars are not a thing of the past or a tool we sometimes consider with a cursory glance. In the classroom setting, they can be tangible support for teachers to reinforce the basic curriculum concepts all students must learn as they navigate elementary and middle school.  

Could your classroom benefit by having one or several wall calendars to add interest to instruction? House of Doolittle can help all teachers find the right calendar for their classroom needs.