Linear Calendar - How to Get Started!
Updated: Jan 11, 2022
If you teach in an early childhood setting, you seriously should consider using a linear calendar if you aren't already! Linear calendars are the BEST!
Why are linear calendars so amazing?? The concept of time is extremely abstract, especially for little learners.
It's incredibly challenging for young children to understand that time is continuously moving forward. To understand how long a day is, let alone a week or a month, is something little learners struggle with. You've probably heard a child say to you something along the lines of, "I went to Disney World last weekend!" Yet, when you talked to the parents, it was actually 3 months ago. Or if you ask a student when their birthday is, they may tell you it's on Saturday, when in reality it's still 2 weeks away. Time is HARD! But linear calendars can help those little learners better understand the concept of time.
Why not just use a normal calendar? Our little learners have a hard time understanding what a week is, and then to have the first day of the month start on different days of the week is beyond confusing! With linear calendars, the start of the month is always at the far left. The calendar itself never changes or shifts, which helps those little learners! With linear calendars you also have room to make it your own. I personally always add "stay at home days" so the students know when it's the weekend. We also incorporate the weather each day, birthdays, and other fun holidays and events.
Are you thinking linear calendars are just for preschool aged children? It's not!
Linear calendars are perfect to use even with 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders! The number line allows for many learning opportunities in math that can support those older kiddos. From learning numbers and how to count, to addition, subtraction, and more, linear calendars offer that extra support in your classroom.
How to set up your calendar!
The first thing you need is space! It's hard to find the wall space in a classroom, so I ended up making a board specifically for my calendar to sit at the front of the room. You can also use windows, shelves, etc. as places to put the calendar.
I have a linear calendar for sale on my Teachers Pay Teachers store and on my Etsy Store that you can use to set up your own classroom calendar!
Although you can’t tell from the photo, my calendar is not actually one long piece of paper, it’s roughly 6 pieces of normal printer paper that are taped side by side. After adding the bare calendar, I then added the month at the top, the numbers, ”stay at home days,” and the day of the week, along with any additional celebrations for the month. When it comes to a month with fewer days, I simply take off the necessary numbers at the end of the month (Leaving a blank rectangle).
How to incorporate weather and calendar time in your classroom!
Now that your linear calendar is set up, how do you actually “do” calendar time?
Here is a quick break down of what I typically include during calendar time:
•Month song/days of the week song
•Saying and pointing to the full date
•Counting to see how many days until the next special occasion
•Counting forward, counting backwards
•Number identification, addition/subtraction
Ways to include weather during calendar time:
•Sing a weather song
•Look out the window to check the weather (could be a classroom job)
•Attach the appropriate weather card to the bottom of the linear calendar (see image above)
•Use a dry erase marker to color in or “X” the box on the monthly weather graph with the corresponding weather. – talk about which has the “most” or “least”
•Move a clothes pin to the correct temperature on the thermometer