Many preschool and elementary classrooms start each morning off with a calendar routine. While doing distance learning at home with my kids, we even started our morning routine with calendar time! Here are some ideas for how to enhance your calendar routine – whether doing distance learning, homeschooling or in the classroom. I’ve included manyfun English and Spanish song choices to try! And if you’re a teacher doing distance learning this fall, they can be sent to students to watch or listen to at home.
While teaching in dual language classrooms, it was important that I had routines that worked for both English and Spanish lessons. So I’ve tried to find you corresponding English and Spanish calendar routine songs for those of you who use both with your kids or students!
However, I’ve also taught entirely in Spanish with an English partner teacher. Perhaps you do, too! For this reason, I’ve included a few extra great song recommendations that are only available in Spanish.
Days of the week
We sing a catchy little “Días de la semana” or “Days of the Week” song to help kids learn the names of the days and to listen carefully to their order. Students can tell what day it is today – practicing present tense with the language frame “Hoy es ____.” We can tell which day it was yesterday – practicing past tense by saying “Ayer fue ____.” And then we practice future tense by saying what day tomorrow will be – “Mañana será ____.” It might seem short and sweet, but this daily exposure to those simple language frames gives kids a learning hook (something to hang their future learning on) for when they start learning other past tense or future tense verbs.
We sing this fun “Meses del año” or “Months of the Year” song. Repetition is key for language learning and singing this each day throughout the school year really helps kids learn their month names. We talk about which month we are in, which month came before, and which month will come next.
You may also want to work on how to say the complete date including the year. For example, “Today is Thursday, September 24th, 2020.” Or, “Hoy es jueves, el 24 de septiembre, 2020.” If your students are learning both languages at home or in your classroom, this is an opportunity to point out differences between the languages in sentence structure, capitalization, etc.
This is a great time to talk about the weather of the day. Sing a weather song to get kids talking about what’s going on outside that day. To incorporate math, make a graph for how many days of each weather type you’ve had during the school year. Or make predictions about the weather to come for the rest of the week. Take a look at the clouds together, fit in some science or nature learning into your calendar routine.
While any calendar display works, I hope you’ll give mine a look. The calendar set that I created includes color cards that could be used on a bulletin board displayed for kids to practice color names. They have bold colors and names that would be great in a print-rich home or classroom when working on colors. When kids are writing and need to know how to spell a color (or remember its name!), they can reference the color cards. They might even be helpful for table groups (e.g. orange table group), or for labeling colored bins.
The set also includes numbered table group cards (tables 1-8).
A classroom alphabet is a must for classrooms where kids are learning to read. An alphabet set can be displayed on the wall and used as the class practices any alphabet learning activities like singing the alphabet song, naming the letters, or practicing letter sounds. An alphabet could also be used for organizing a classroom or homeschool word wall. Just have students post new words under the appropriate letter as you learn them! A word wall is another excellent, research-based resource for word learning in a print-rich classroom.
If you’re interested in the Otomi-inspired “Fiesta de flores” calendar set that I created – it can be used completely in English or in Spanish – or both! I’d love it if you checked it out and it could be helpful for your teaching. If you’d like to grab it,I’ve put in on sale 20% off for the first three days after I publish this post.
Enjoy teaching your kids or your students about calendar concepts with these tips, ideas, and songs!