Sunday, August 31, 2014




I've updated my calendar for the 2015-16 school year.  I used the same same style as I had for the 2014-15 year.  Click on the image shown below to get the new school calendar.

The rest of this post is from August 2014.  It shows images of the monthly calendar from last year which are the same for the 2015-16 year.  I also share my ideas about calendar activities and include my state's standards in terms of calendar skills.  Read it if you'd like.

Last year I made a free, printable calendar in honor of my one year anniversary as a seller on the TeacherspayTeachers website.  The calendar was for the 2013-14 school year.  Laura Strickland creates AMAZING graphics and has them available on both of her websites, My Cute Graphics and Whimsy Clips.  I used graphics from her website, "My Cute Graphics" to decorate each of the months with on the calendar that I created.  Did I mention, her graphics ARE really cute!  But they're not just cute, Laura has mastered the art of making her graphics MEANINGFUL to young children. 

It was easy for me to use my template from last year to make another, FREE calendar for the 2014-15 school year.  I am happy with the way they turned out and thrilled that I can offer these to you again.  This calendar comes to you with no strings attached . . . no "liking" me on Facebook or signing up for my newsletter!  The calendar starts with the month of August 2014 and ends with August 2015.  Since August 2014 has past, I will start by showing what September looks like:
First graders are not ready to learn abbreviations . . . at least not at the beginning of the year.  Since I created my calendar for this age group, there are NO ABBREVIATIONS for the names of the months or the days of the week.  If the goal is to teach calendar skills, there is no point in confusing young children with abbreviations that they don't recognize.  In my opinion, lessons for beginning calendar skills are not the ideal times to provide exposure to abbreviations. In with October
Aside from football taking place in October, this yearly calendar does not have seasonal changes, holidays, or other events attached to each month.  Why did I do this?  I wanted this calendar to be useful for as many locations around the globe as possible.  Whether you live in the tropics, sub-tropics, on the East Coast of the United States, or elsewhere.  I love to celebrate holidays that are meaningful to me, but not everyone celebrates the same things. This is a "Holiday-Neutral" calendar.  Here comes November:
On many standard calendars, there are just five rows across the grid for each month.  If this were the case on the November calendar shown above, the "30" would be sharing a space with the number "23".  While adults understand the format, young children find this very confusing!  There are NO SHARED DATES on my school calendar.  Here is what December looks like:

Your students will love COLORING in the children displayed for each month!  Now comes the new year starting with January:
There are exactly four weeks in February . . . . no more and no less.  This would be a great month to introduce the concept of "The week before." or "The week after." This month begins on a Sunday and ends on a Saturday.  This is a very straightforward representation of weeks in a month and easy for children to comprehend.  The following month, (March) starts on a Sunday.  This makes for a smooth transition into learning more about weeks in terms of a week before or a week after a given date.  March 2015 is slightly harder than February with the end of the month falling in the early part of the week.
I numbered the dates in this school calendar set . . . just as REAL-WORLD calendars are numbered. The numerals are printed in the upper left corners of the boxes. The students can write or draw symbols to signify special dates. This calendar set is not editable. Teachers can print one copy and write in their special dates. Then print copies for the entire class.  Enter March:
So fun to see the children waving in April!  Their school days are nearing the end . . . . for the grade level they're in.  By this point in the year, little first graders have come a long way in so many of their skills . . . including their CALENDAR SKILLS!  In Virginia, we don't have the Common Core Standards.  We have Standards of Learning and calendar skills falls under the first grade measurement strand.  I've listed the required first grade, "calendar skills" for my home state at the end of this post.

I put the year on each month. For some months I positioned it in the center. Other months will have it on the right or left side. This gives me a chance to practice prepositions with phrases like, "to the left of", "to the right of" and "in between", when asking the location of the printed year, in relation to the picture.  On the way to May:

These calendars are INK-FRIENDLY. Black and white text and images make it so!  June is next:
The month of July is included in this school calendar set because some schools are "YEAR-ROUND" or on different schedules than the old standard, "Labor Day to Memorial Day".

We've come full circle!  If you start school in August, you'll want to keep your calendar activities fun and engaging for young children.  Here are three great video-songs I found on YouTube that will help you do just that.  Don't forget to come back and get your free school calendar!

1.  Days of The Week Song For Kids Children can echo the days of the week at the start of the song, learn the hand and arm motions, and pretend to play the guitar!

2.  Days of The Week

3.  7 Days of the Week

I hate to post this reminder, however, it is necessary.  Before you get the freebie, please note that all content on my blog is copyrighted and is my own original work.  This includes freebies that I offer from time to time.  You are not permitted to post my free materials, or engage in "link sharing" on school websites, blogs, private and public Facebook groups or pages, or anywhere else.  Doing so, is a violation of the Digital Millenniam Copyright Act.  You MAY pin to Pinterest!  If you create your own blog post about calendar skills, and reference anything I have mentioned, please link back to this post or my blog's home page.  If you find this calendar set anywhere other than on my blog, please notify me.  Thank you!

Here is the free printable calendar.  Just click on the picture below to get it!

So what about those Virginia Standards of Learning for calendar skills in first grade?  Here it is in a nutshell: 

1.  Calendar Literacy - Students should be able to find and read dates within a given month.
2.  Days of the Week/Months of the Year - Students should recognize, read, and recite them.
3.  Yesterday/Today/Tomorrow - Students should name the dates before and after given dates.
4.  Past and Future Days AND Weeks - (This is a tricky one.  The month of February might be a good place to start.  Eg. "Today is February 5th.  How many weeks will pass until it is February 26th?")
5.  Identify Specified Dates  - Eg.  "What date is the second Wednesday in August?"  (They'll need to have a working knowledge of ordinals to do this . . . . won't they?)


Happy May 2015!  The SMART Notebook Calendar product described below is now FREE!   It's nearing the end of the school year and there is just about a month and a half month left.  Enjoy using it.  If you teach summer school, the summer months are included as well.  Click on the image below to get it! 

*  I created a SMART Notebook 11 file for the calendar set shown above.  The SMART Notebook file is a color version on the calendar set above.  I scanned each page into SMART Notebook.  Students can view their printable calendar while the educator displays the corresponding month on the SMART Board.  There are a few activities related to the months of the year and one for the days of the week within the file.  There are no lessons included.  It's intended for you to create your own lessons with.  It's DIY!  Click the picture below to get it:

Lessons by Molly © 2014  All rights reserved.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Back To School Sale!

They're coming.

They're coming soon!

They're out there loading up on supplies.

And soon . . .  they'll be at your classroom door!

Are you READY??? 

Teachers pay Teachers is having a back to school sale to help you do just that.  Everything in my store will be 20 percent off August 4th and 5th.  An additional 10% savings can be received when the promo code is applied.  This year's back-to-school PROMO CODE is:  BTS14.  Makes sense doesn't it?  Back To School 2014.  What a great discount deal!

The tagline of this year's back to school sale is:

Blast Off Back To School Sale!

 Of course I love the tagline because my store name used to be:

  Zoom Zoom Classroom 

 It fit right in.

 Go shopping for some great teaching resources!

  Visit my store by clicking the image below.

They're already on their space vessel! 

Heading to a school near you!

ETA:  August and September

Lessons by Molly © 2014  All rights reserved.

Friday, August 1, 2014


Greetings viewers!  I have been busy revising some of my older products which I sell on the Teachers pay Teachers website.  These products have been staring me down, saying, "REVISE ME!  REVISE ME!"  I finally caved and updated eight sets of sight words bingo games.  I couldn't be more happy with the results.

In addition to changing the graphics, I also changed the font style.  The new font causes some of the letters to appear weighted, or grounded.  The letters appear heavier, or thicker at the bottom and thinner at the top.  It is thought that this font style may aide some students with reading more easily.  You can learn more about this font through a link I am providing at the end of this post. 

If you purchased any of these games in the past, you can download the new files from your Teachers pay Teachers My Purchases folder.

The photo below shows what one of the revised bingo cards looks like:

4 of these bingo game sets print with BLACK ink.  Each bingo card prints on a full sheet of paper.  The spaces for the words are large enough for the children to use bingo chips, paint daubers, and other objects for space markers.  This makes them KID-FRIENDLY!  No small spaces for them to have to SQUEEZE a bingo marker/chip inside of! 
There were no changes made to the words in the product revisions.  Each game continues to have 25 unique bingo cards with the same 24 words used.  The words are located in different sections of the bingo grid.  The center space is the free space and has an image of a dog's face.  

I also revised the COLOR ink versions of the games.  Children like COLOR!  These games use minimal color ink.  Print once, laminate, and use them for many years.  The photo below shows one page from each of the 4 bingo games that require color ink.

I use the same words on every card so that there is no doubt that the word I named is on the student boards.  There is no, "Oh, maybe that word is not on my board." scenario.  They know they MUST FIND every word called out.  

When we play bingo, the winner must cover five sections in a row either horizontally or vertically.  I don't recommend having winners with a diagonal line.  In my opinion, lower elementary students don't grasp the spatial concept of a diagonal line in terms of boxes on a grid.  Another reason why I don't use the diagonal line as a winner's row, is that I like to extend the length of time the game.  I want to be able to use several words before a winner is achieved.  If I gave the option for winners to have vertical, horizontal, AND diagonal lines, the game would be over with in no time!  

I also offer bundled discounts of my bingo games.  If you are interested in any of my bingo games, click the product cover to view it at my shop.

I include calling cards with all of my bingo games.  I cut these apart and put them in a bag.  Then a card is pulled from the bag and called out.  The students find that word on their bingo card.  It's also a good idea to write the words on the board as they're called out.  I repeat the procedure with another word card drawn out from the bag.  Because of this random calling out method, students discover that I have no control over who the winner is!  It is a game of chance.  The skill involved is to find and cover the appropriate words!  Here is a sample of what the new calling cards look like:

The font I used in all of these bingo games was purchased the font from Fonts4teachers.  You can view this font and read more about it here: 

 Lessons by Molly © 2014  All rights reserved.