Monday, August 8, 2016

Functional Calendar Routine

Calendar skills are something that are super important. Students (of all ages) need to be able to look at and understand a calendar. There are also so many skills you can tie into a daily calendar routine. In the past I always printed cute theme calendar pieces that I laminated, Velcroed and stored in a cute little container by the board. Don't get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with doing this. However, I don't have time for that. It was so much prep work. And then.....something comes up and you don't have a piece you need AHHHH!!!! My friends, no worries. I have the answer, introduce this Functional Calendar Routine into your day.

This idea was one that came to me at 3:00 in the morning and I had to roll over and add it into my Amazon account before falling back asleep. In most of our special education classes we are teaching functional/life skills. So....why not get the kids using a REAL calendar? Since this idea just came to me and I haven't started school (heck I haven't even been allowed in my classroom) I don't have it set up and these pictures have totally made up activities on them but I wanted you to be able to see what the heck I am talking about.

Here it is......a standard (well school year) desk calendar. You can purchase any calendar but I liked this one because it has holes in the binding. That way I can hang it on Command hooks. I also liked that it has large day boxes and a section for notes.

Using this desk calendar allows me to do WHATEVER I want. If I want to work on patterns I can, if I want to add special days I can, if I want to show my students when school and non-school days are I can. Best of all, after I think I have the month complete and I get the news that "Mrs. Smith's" class is going on a field trip to the Dairy Queen I don't have to run to the computer, print off a picture, laminate it, velcro it and get it on the calendar. All I have to do is WRITE IT!!!! Actually I am going to have my kids write it. I am going to get them used to handling a real calendar just like I do everyday.

Here are a few things you could do:

Patterns- Since you are able to do whatever you want and you don't have to worry about prep work do whatever your kids need. Make the patterns easy or complicated. You could have monthly theme patterns like I have shown. You could do a color pattern (just draw colored dots), community signs, school supplies, core words, spelling words....honestly it's endless!!

Special Days- color in the box, outline the box, write inside the box, use the notes section and color code it. I am really excited about this because my students are assigned to a general education class as well as my class. There are so many different activities going on, it gets overwhelming having to make cute pieces to go along with everything. I know, I know I could just throw something up on my cute calendar students I won't have it. I can't deal with things not all matching. I think I am going to utilize the system I have below. I will write in the box when it has something to do with my class and then color code the boxes when it has to do with a gen. ed class. For example...students in "Mrs. Smith's" class will know their color is blue. So when something is outlined in blue they will know it is their day. Then I will write what the activity is in the notes section.

Weekends- Color weekends/no school days red. This was students can visually see when they don't have school. My students really struggle with the concept of school/no school days. This will be an added visual support for them.

Review Months- since the month before and after are listed on the calendar its a good way to practice/review.

Something else that is cool is when the month is over you can rip it off and hang it up like an anchor chart or take a picture, print it and store in a binder or have for student scrapbooks. That way you and your students can look back and see all of the things they did throughout the year.

Is this something you will be adding to your classroom? Do you have another use for this functional calendar routine?

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  1. Awesome idea! It's such A real life application. I've struggling with ideas to revamp my calendar system and I'm going to try this out! Thanks :)

    1. I find it very fun too. My students all have different general education teachers so I am working with about 7 other schedules on top of mine. This calendar is perfect for adding in special days and schedule changes on the fly. Plus the kids love seeing the drawings and watching the calendar come to life. Good luck with yours! This year I made sure to find a calendar that had larger numbers than the one I had last year because they were hard to see.