Choosing a calendar page picture is HIGHLY MOTIVATING to young writers!
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 pages here.
*This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.*
Here are 5 ways I’ve used calendar pages with beginner writers:
NOTE: Common Core Standards that can be addressed in each exercise are listed in parentheses.
- LABEL THE OBJECTS IN THE PICTURE WITH ITS BEGINNING LETTER (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. Writing the letter on white sticky labels to stick next to the object.
2. LABEL OBJECTS IN THE PICTURE WITH ONE WORD
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.
The words can be written the same 3 ways as #1: ABC stickers*, white paper or white labels
You can place the calendar page in your child’s binder for reading and review.
3. 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 _____.
The blanks are intended for specific words that the child chooses.
The sight words (in this case, There are____) should be spelled correctly.
The blank words are spelled phonetically. That means the children are writing the letters/sounds that they hear. The words 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 page.
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(s) on a piece of white paper. Cut them out and glue them to the picture (as in the tiger sample.)
TWO: 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.
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 page in a plastic page protector*.
Place the calendar page in the child’s binder for reading and review.
4. 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 page. When my oldest son was 5 3/4 years old, he wrote about lions.
We discussed what he knew about them:
- what they look like
- where they live,
- what they can do with their legs
- what they eat
This is what he wrote:
If you have trouble seeing it, it says:
“tHey ARe KARNVORS LiiYNs are BiG CAts tHey liv iN AFRKA they ENT MNT. tHey HANt for tHE MENT tHey rAN to KRECH tHe MENT.”
They are carnivores. Lions are big cats. They live in Africa. They eat meat. They hunt for the meat. They run to catch the meat.
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 page 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. 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 sentence.
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
I’ve also posted a list of 12 writing prompts ideas to use with calendar pages.
Also, if you’re looking for a specific theme, calendars.com has it all!