Guest Post: A Differentiated Calendar Routine
Today we have a great back to school guest post from Melissa at Adventures of Room 83. She shared all about how she differentiates her calendar routine to meet the needs of a wide range of learners. If you are interested in writing a guest post, click here. Check it out:
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. 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. 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!
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:
The month is
The date is
The weather is
The season is
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!
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.)
Click on image to get your FREE copy
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.
I am Melissa from The Adventures of Room 83. I teach severely handicapped students grades 3-6. I absolutely love my job and all of the wonderful bloggers I have met so far I am so happy to have been given the opportunity to guest blog for Sasha! I love her blog and everything she has to offer. I hope you get a chance to visit my blog over at The Adventures of Room 83!