I have an admission to make. For a full 19 years of teaching, I have suffered from a low-grade case of ENVY! Every time I walk into a gen-ed classroom my eyes immediately zone in on the really cute wall calendar and I turn a little green on the inside! You see, when I was a child, my music teacher always had a perfectly updated and cute die-cut decorated calendar and I LOVED it! I loved it so much that as a music teacher I have tried at least 10 different times to keep a wall calendar in music and each and every time I have looked up one day in April to discover that my October pumpkin shaped dates were looking a little forlorn…Just about every other year throughout the time I have been teaching I have committed an entire lazy July day painstakingly punching out all those pieces, laminated them and cut them out again. I’ve added velcro, I’ve added clips I’ve used double sided tape and sticky gum…No amount of ingenuity or effort on my part has EVER compelled me to look at my calendar on the last day of August and think… “update the calendar”… UNTIL this year!
I have not only kept my calendar updated for the entire year, BUT I use it every day, I refer to it in class, AND my students and colleagues use it too! AND, it’s super simple.
Here are my tips:
- Use sticky notes! – they might not be as cute as the little pumpkins my music teacher used, but they are larger and if I make a mistake or need to remember something, it’s easy to correct or to add information.
- Place it in a high traffic/reference area. My calendar is right under my clock, so both I and my students refer to it often.
- Add other information you may find helpful. As a specials teacher knowing the days of the week or the date is simply not enough information for me. I need to know the placement of a given date within the rotation. Is April 30th, Day 1,2,3, or 4? I have also found it extremely helpful to be able to look at my calendar and see that last Thursday my day 2 students missed because of a field trip or that my Day 3 students will come back to see me 3 more times before their performance.
- Some of the information I include on my calendar is code, (like COL = Celebration of Learning) but I generally try to keep the information on my wall calendar useful for everyone.
Now that I have been successful in keeping my calendar up to date for an entire school year, it really is the functional tool I have been hoping for all of these years. As my students line up to leave it is not uncommon for them to check the calendar and make comments and ask questions about what we will do next time.Often they want to know how long it will be before they get to play a game again. The calendar helps tremendously!
When looking for ways to organize your classroom, remember, you don’t have to force yourself into doing what works for other people, just do what works for you!