Guest Post: A Differentiated Calendar Routine

Categories: Resources

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:

Yesterday was

Today is

Tomorrow is

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.)



5. 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!


  1. Thanks for posting this! The differentiated levels are great and so clear.

  2. Could you do this for 4/5 year old?full day full instructional Autism class?
    Maybe, cut it down to day ? Month ? Who is here today ?
    What o you think ?

  3. Hi Liz- it is totally perfect for 3/4 year olds! I would do day, month and weather! I would incorporate a lot more songs to the routine as well. In the beginning of the year it may be good to just use the calendar board before you introduce the books! just my thought 🙂

  4. I would love to know how you incorporate music more into your morning routine, as well as throughout the day. I have a student draw to certain music and specific songs and often gets stuck(ocd)on those. I really need more variety too!
    Thank you for adding to this already wonderful blog! ~Dara

  5. I’d love to know how you bind your books. I have a book binding machine but the plastic bindings are loose and widely spaced and my kids love to pull them apart. So frustrating! Your binding looks much more sturdy!

  6. Hi Dara! I use a song PEC book for those student’s that just LOVE music… I have them request songs through PECs. Read more HERE

    I also use an iPod to store all of my favorite songs so I can easily flip through my organized playlists! Read more about this HERE

  7. Hi Jessica- I have the rubicoil binding machine. You can buy it on amazon for about $150. I also buy the spines on amazon.. I have 7 mm, 9 mm and 14 mm. For the Calendar Books I use 9 mm spines! Plastic coil binding is THE best… I’ve learned that comb binding is just an invitations for my kids to rip it apart~

  8. Love both of your blogs! I’m not familiar with the rubicoil binding- just wondering if it can be opened/closed to modify or add contents to the book? I always “tweak” my calendar routine as we go through the year to maximize students’ learning.

  9. Yes. With spiral binding you need to crimp/bend the end so it doesn’t slip out. You can simply straighten it out, un coil it, rearrange, and re-bind! I’ve done it a bunch of times 🙂

  10. Totally agree, Melissa! I love that idea!

  11. Dara, I have an interactive white board and use Kids Can Dance 2 clips to incorporate music and movement (5-7 year olds with ASD, intellectual impairments and speech language impairments). Gummy Bears is a favourite, as is Barbara Ann. I also use Cosmic Kids Yoga clips (you tube) to calm after crazy mornings. These are worth checking out!

  12. This is amazing and exactly what I was looking for! I’m taking over a Life Skills classroom mid-year and looking for resources that are ready to go and can be implemented quickly. This is perfect.


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