Classroom calendars don't just keep track of the days left in the school year. Individual calendars your students make themselves can connect to lessons and content you're currently working on. Teach organizational and time-management skills with an assignment tracker, make a social studies version that charts historical days to celebrate or inspire your students to create an artsy calendar.
Each student can make his own class calendar to take charge of his assignments, tests and other special school activities. Keep the focus on building organizational skills and skip adding extras such as photos or embellishments. Print out a calendar page for each school month. Each block on the calendar grid should have enough room to write the day's assignments or tests. For older students who have more school work, make weekly calendar pages to provide enough room for writing. Have the students pick different colors for different subjects, such as red for English and blue for science. Stack the pages and staple them together at the top.
Tie your calendar-making exercise to social studies content by creating calendars that detail notable days in history. Use a printable calendar grid to put together a 12-month book. In between each calendar page, have the students add their own drawings of one historical event from the month. For example, George Washington gave his inaugural address on April 30, 1789. The students would write the event on the date and then could draw a picture of the address. Stack the calendar with the pictures and calendar pages facing each other and alternating. This will look like a traditional calendar, opening to both the picture and dates at the same time. Punch two holes at the top. Make each hole about 1 inch from the top sides. Tie pieces of yarn through the holes to bind the calendar. The students can create a general history calendar or choose a specific topic such as U.S. history, European history, famous moments between 1900 and 2000 or noteworthy dates in women's history.
Go beyond a simple drawing for each month of the year and have your students create an imaginative art technique calendar, exploring a different process for each month. For example, try water color painting for a spring-like April scene, make a red and pink heart collage for February, use stamps or plastic foam plates to print pumpkins for October or make a mixed-media turkey for November using oil pastels, craft feathers, sequins and tempera paints. Use a printable calendar grid for each month. Print the grids onto standard letter-sized pieces of copier paper. Turn a piece of white poster board vertically, using one per month. Have the students glue the grid at the bottom and use the rest for their art-making. Stack the calendar together in month order and punch a hole at the top center. Feed a piece of ribbon through to bind the pages.
Your students can make calendars in class to take home. This differs from an assignment organizer in that the students aren't writing down homework or tests that they have to take. Instead, you are guiding them with ideas for ways to connect the class content to at-home activities that they can do with their families. For example, have younger students create a story-time calendar with book ideas to read at home and older students make a science-activity version with once-a-week experiments to try with mom and dad. Make a conversation topic calendar to have your students discuss with their parents. Have the students write out the activity ideas, conversation starters and projects on at least one day per week. Staple the calendar and ask the students to take it home weekly. Ask the parents to check off each activity that the students complete. Offer an incentive such as a sticker or extra credit for bringing back completed calendars.