Expand on Calendar Activities in Circle TimeBrooks
When you implement the Sonrisas Level I or Level II lessons, Circle Time includes lots of opportunity for interpersonal communication. This occurs through the songs, lesson activities, and your Calendar Time routine. This routine can be as simple as asking the four daily questions: ¿Qué día es hoy?, ¿Cuál es el mes?, ¿Cuál es la estación?, and ¿Qué tiempo hace? You can also expand on the calendar activities using the Calendar Time guide and the classroom posters. This will give you more content for Circle Time and provide your students with more opportunity for communication.
Using the Calendar Time Guide
The Calendar Time Guide outlines the various activities you can implement to expand your calendar routine. The activities are organized into sections: Daily Calendar Activities, Month Calendar Activities, Season Calendar Activities, Alphabet Calendar Activities, and Geography Calendar Activities.
The activities in each section utilize oral communication, verse, and writing to engage students. The activities build on one another. For example, with the days of the week, you start off by introducing the days of the week chant (this is track #27 on the Sonrisas CD). Then you integrate the days of the week posters into the chant. Then you progress to students writing out the day of the week on the large format poster. Finally, you do the extension questions for the days of week which give students practice with different tenses in the context of your established routine.
The Calendar Time Guide also includes a sample lesson plan for Calendar Time, a scope and sequence template, and a checklist. These aide in the planning of calendar activities and keeping track of which themes, letters, countries, etc. have been covered.
Using the Posters
The Calendar Time curriculum includes the classroom posters which focus on the different calendar themes. The activities in the guide include poster activities which give direction for how to use the posters to help teach the different themes. The posters are not only excellent visual aides, they are also great conversation starters.
There is a ton of information in each poster which you can use to initiate discussion. Discussion can focus on the calendar themes, or it can provide review of lesson themes such as colors, numbers, body parts, clothing, etc. A really effective way to use the posters is to do circling with them. This is a great way to teach small chunks of language.
The alphabet posters are used more extensively in the alphabet calendar activities. These activities are based off of each letter poster and the verse which is part of the poster. The images and the verses on these posters provide a lot of potential content for promoting meaningful communication as your students learn the alphabet.
It’s All About Routine
One way to think about Calendar Time is that it is a routine within a routine. In other words, you do your Calendar Time routine within your Circle Time routine. This just means that your Circle Time becomes more robust with more content and more communication.
Routine is the important idea here. Make sure that you do Calendar Time at the same time during Circle Time each class. And then make sure that you establish a calendar routine which is consistent and builds on itself. Take your time establishing a calendar activity before you move on to the next one. Your students will gain proficiency with the different calendar themes. Then you can use the writing practice activities and extension questions to build on that proficiency.
Calendar Time provides a great way to address differentiation in communication. Calendar themes connect to students physical environment and daily lives. This means that you can engage in more advanced and relatable communication with students at advanced levels through the calendar activities.
The bottom line is that Calendar Time provides a plethora of teachable moments. Just as adults like engaging in small talk, elementary Spanish learners love talking about their day, the weather, and the seasons. When you establish a solid Calendar Time and then expand on the calendar activities, your students gain important communication skills about relevant, everyday topics.