Here are 5 ways to use calendars to motivate and strengthen young writers. Kids LOVE to choose a calendar picture!
If you have a large group of students, make sure you have more calendars than students so each child can truly choose a picture. Find out ways to get calendar pictures here.
*This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.*
Common Core State Standards
NOTE: Common Core Standards that can be addressed in each exercise are listed below in parentheses.
- First, have the child label the objects in the picture with the beginning sound. (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.K.1.A, RF.K.1.B)
This is great for beginner writers who are learning their letter strokes and the beginning sounds of words. They can label the objects that they see several ways:
a. Using ABC stickers*.
b. Writing the letter on a piece of paper and pasting it (above example).
c. Or, writing the letter on white sticky labels to stick next to the object.
2. Second, label the objects in the picture with one word. (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.K.2.D)
Here, the children phonetically spell the words that they see. That means they say the word slowly and write the sounds that they hear. The words most likely will not be spelled correctly.
Students can be write these words the same 3 ways as #1: ABC stickers*, white paper or white labels.
You can place the calendar picture in your child’s binder for reading and review.
3. Third, write sight word sentences to describe the picture. (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.K.2, L.K.2.A, L.K.2.C, L.K.2.D, L.1.2, L.1.2.B, L.1.2.D, L.1.2.E)
Here the children write 1-3 sight words sentences, depending on age and ability. (To read the full post on teaching sight word sentences, click here.)
The sight word sentence above is: There are _____.
Writers should spell the sight words (in this case, There are____) correctly because those are the words they are learning.
Secondly, students choose the word that they want to write in the blank.
The blank words are spelled phonetically. That means the children are writing the letters/sounds that they hear. Whichever word they write in the blank may or may not be spelled correctly.
When my son was 4 1/2 he wrote:
We cut out the paper and glued it to the calendar picture.
Now, a year later at 5 1/2, he wrote:
Writing sight word sentences can be done in one of two ways:
ONE: Write the sentence on a piece of white paper, cut it out and glue it to the picture (as in the tiger sample.)
TWO: Students write the sentence on a full 8.5”x 11” piece of paper. Here the child is not bound by space or lines. Remind the child to write left to right, top to bottom.
In addition, the size of letters doesn’t matter too much as long as they can fit the designated number of sentences on the page. Place the 8.5″x 11 page back to back with the calendar picture in a plastic page protector*.
Finally, place the calendar picture in the child’s binder for reading and review.
Story or Information
4. Fourth, write a story or information. (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.K.1, L.K.2, L.K.2.A, L.K.2.C, L.K.2.D, L.1.2, L.1.2.B, L.1.2.D, L.1.2.E)
Children can write a story or information about their calendar picture. When my oldest son was 5 1/2 years old, he wrote about lions.
We discussed what he knew about them:
- how they look
- where they live and what they eat
- what they can do with their legs
This is what he wrote:
He combined sight words that he knew with phonetic spelling (explained above in #2.
When the child is done writing, you can put the story back to back with the calendar picture in a plastic page protector*.
Then, place the story in the child’s binder. They LOVE to go back and read what they have written!
5. Fifth, write 5 questions about the picture. (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RF.K.1.C, L.K.1.D, L.K.2, L.K.2.A, L.1.2, L.1.2.B)
Using the words who, what, when, where and why, children write 5 different questions about the picture.
Depending on ability, the child can write all 5 questions in one sitting OR the child can write one question per day or even one question per week.
Question words are addressed in Level 3 of Sight Word Sentences
Print the Lesson
Writing Prompt Ideas
I’ve also posted a list of 14 writing prompts ideas to use with calendar pictures.
Also, if you’re looking for a specific theme, calendars.com has it all!