Sunday, December 20, 2015

Teaching Nouns with the Twelve Days of Christmas Song

I love it when traditional songs can be used with learning!  When it comes to Christmas songs, there's no lack of material.  Most of the kids love singing the songs and they quickly commit the words to memory.  In Virginia, one of the Standards of Learning for first grade is to demonstrate growth in oral language.  That includes singing songs

I used the song, The Twelve Days of Christmas to create a packet of first grade printable resources.  My previous post was about the math component (adding within 12 and adding within 18) of the file.  You can read about it here.  Today I'm going to write about the language arts portion of the file.  So let's get started with nouns!

When I was a school aged child, I heard over and over again, "A noun is a person, place, or thing."  Since then, my definition has changed to, "A noun is an animal, person, place, thing, or idea

Th definition of nouns seems straightforward enough (Except abstract nouns like an idea are tricky for kids to grasp.) but for many students its' a hard concept.  I think it's best to introduce nouns in segments instead of attempting to teach all categories of nouns at once.  My experience is that the "animals" category is the easiest for kids to understand.  It's the least hazy of the four groups.  The "person" group is uncomplicated when words like, boy, girl, man, and woman are used with the children.  Throw in words like, painter, jugglers, cook, and pipers and the confusion starts brewing in their little faces!  Should I mention that the word cook is a noun AND a verb?  Try explaining that to six and seven year old children!  It's no wonder that the concept of nouns takes a while to soak in.

The song, The Twelve Days f Christmas works beautifully with a lesson about nouns.  A new noun is added to each verse as the song progresses.  The sequence of "gifts" in the verses are 4 animals, a thing, 2 more animals, and the remaining 5 verses are people.  Those people happen to be musically or acrobatically inclined!

Pictures (not words) should be used when introducing nouns for the first time.  This is because the CONCEPT of nouns is being taught.  When words are used, there is an additional requirement posed on the children.  That is, their reading ability PLUS learning the concept of what a noun is.  The page shown below is a noun sort with pictures of animals and people.  I used 5 of the people from The Twelve Days of Christmas song for the sort.    

The next photo is a tad more advanced.  In this instance, words are used for the sort instead of pictures.  This will require reading ability as well as an understanding of the noun groups.  I wanted the sort to include a PLACE so I added the word "theater".  The song doesn't mention a theater!  But maybe the song could be performed is a theater?  But, maybe the song could be performed in a theater?  The fourth category on the sorting sheet is for the THINGS.  The song mentions "rings", a "pear tree".  I used the words "rings", "pear", and "tree".

Some children haven't developed spatial awareness when it comes to using the available space on a worksheet to glue pieces.  I've added a few duplicate copies of the page shown above with an accommodation that includes space indicators to guide the children with gluing.

The Twelve Days of Christmas song is perfect for showing examples of plural nouns.  I created a page for practicing one of the spelling rules that is taught with plural forms of common nouns.  The spelling rule is for changing the letter y to an i and then adding es.

Birds are popular pets in many places around the world.  It's interesting that the author of the song, The Twelve Days of Christmas chose birds as the only kind of "pet" that was gifted to the "true love".  Who knows why?  The birds represent fifty percent of the "gifts" in the song.  I used some of the birds from the song and included some other birds to make a simple alphabetical order practice sheet with nouns.

Verbs are another important part of the song.  The kids could act out The Twelve Days of Christmas song in the classroom as a movement activity about verbs.  I included one printable about spelling verbs in the file.  It's shown below.

This file wouldn't be complete without copies of the song.  I've included a few different versions.  I've also created a reading passage about birds with a quiz for students to take after reading the passage.

The paper dice for the math activity and the pocket chart cards for the alphabetical order practice are the only things that require preparation in advance of using this resource.  The children do the cutting and pasting themselves.  Everything has an ink-friendly, black and white version.  

EduClips did a beautiful job representing the characters to go with the song!

If you would like to view this file at my shop, click on the image shown below!

Here are a few ideas for teaching nouns:

1.  Introduce one noun category and practice it before introducing another category.  This should include one lessons or activity with animals, one with people, one for places and one for things.

2.  Use pictures to group nouns before proceeding to sorting nouns with words.

3.  Borrow a dollhouse from a kindergarten or preschool teacher.  Make word labels such as:  kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, and living room.  Give each child a copy of the labels or make one classroom copy and set the labels next to the dollhouse.  Have the children place the labels in the appropriate rooms of the doll house.  

4.  Create noun lists for things that are relevant to the children's REAL lives.  Make a list of people at school such as:  teachers, principal, nurse, secretary, librarian and custodian.  Make a list of places at the school such as:  gym, library, office, classroom, clinic, and playground.

5.  Avoid teaching proper nouns and common nouns at the same time.

I've made a FREE file that will help with some of these ideas!  Click the image shown below to get all the pages.

© Lessons by Molly 2015.  All rights reserved.  

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Twelve Days of Christmas Math

It's the Christmas season and that means it's time to sing holiday carols!  I love almost all of the traditional Christmas songs but I have a few favorites.  One song that was played in my home every Christmas season was the Twelve Days of Christmas.  It didn't take long for me to memorize the words so that I could sing along with the tape.   

When I noticed that Educlips created a set of graphics for each of the twelve "gifts" from the Twelve Days of Christmas song, I was delighted!  I knew I could use to incorporate this well-known Christmas song with a first grade educational activity pack.

The fact that the song has twelve "gifts", made it perfect for my paper dice creation.  I put the first six characters from the song on Dice One.  I put the second six characters on Dice Two.  

The dice are very simple to assemble.  All you need to do is print, cut, fold and tape.  There is a tutorial at the end of this post. 
Once the dice are put together, it's time for the addition activity.   It's best for the kids to work with another classmate.  If the whole class is working on the activity, you'll need to make multiple sets of the dice.  Each pair of children holds one dice.  (One child holds dice 1.  The other child holds dice 2)  While the children are standing, they drop the dice on the floor or carpet.  They observe the numbers that are face up on the dice.  The numbers that are face up are the addends.  They record the addends on the recording sheets.  Then, they solve the addition problem that was created.  They circle the correct sum from the selection provided. 

The largest sum is 18.  The sum is 18 when the 6 GEESE are rolled on Dice 1 along with the12 DRUMMERS on Dice 2.  

Not all first graders are ready to add within 18 by December.  Therefore I've provided an additional recording sheet which will allow for differentiation.  The modified recording sheet is for students that can add within 12 but are not ready to add within 18.  In this instance, pairs of students that are solving problems with sums up to 12 use duplicate copies of DICE 1.  Or, they can use a pair of regular dice that has dots 1 through 6.  The highest sum will be 12.  This will happen when both students drop the dice with 6 GEESE face up or the dice with 6 dots.  The picture below is from the modified recording sheet.   

The dice addition is the only math activity that is in this resource.  There are also printable sheets with the words to the song, Twelve Days of Christmas, noun sorting printable sheets, and a reading passage about birds.  There are more details about the language arts portion of the file.  Click here to go to the next blog post to read about it.

If you are singing the Twelve Days of Christmas song with your class, and are interested in this resource, click the image shown below:

Here's how to prepare the paper dice:

1.  Print the pages.

2.  Cut on the solid lines.

3.  Fold on the broken lines.

4.  Tape a flap with its adjacent surface of dice.

5.  Repeat.  Tape one flap at a time.

6.  Finish taping.  All flaps are concealed within the dice.

Lessons by Molly © 2015  All rights reserved.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Cyber Monday Sale and a Giveaway

Get out your computers, your laptops, and your phones.  It's time to shop online!  Cyber Monday is on November 30th this year.  I am excited to tell you that Teachers Pay Teachers is going to have a SALE on MONDAY, November 30th AND TUESDAY, December 1st!  Everything in my store will be 20% off.  Use the promo code "SMILE" and receive and additional savings.  Click on the image shown below to view my store and make your wishlist now.  The image shown below created by Jillian Starr.  Visit her Teachers Pay Teachers shop at:  Jillian Starr.  Thank you Jillian!

Want more to SMILE about?  Enter for a chance to win a $100.00 gift certificate good toward items on Teachers Pay Teachers.  Keep reading!

Here are the steps:
1.  Type your name and email where shown in the Rafflecopter.  
2.  Go to the website that is linked in the directions.
3.  Find the name of one person that endorsed TBOTEMC.  Return to the contest and type the name in. 
4.  Visit the stores of sellers listed and answer additional questions.  This will increase your chances of winning.
 a Rafflecopter giveaway
  Lessons by Molly © 2015  All rights reserved.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Independent Reading Is a Literacy Center Activity


It's October and leveled reading groups are in full swing.  It can be a daunting task to manage the children that are not working directly with the teacher while he/she is involved with a guided reading group. 

The question that goes through every educator's mind is, "What are the other children in my class doing while I am working with a reading group?"  It's a tough question and there are no "One-Size-Fits-All-Classrooms" answers.  Part of how the other children are managed depend on whether or not there is another teacher, a paraprofessional, or a parent volunteer in the classroom at the time that reading groups take place.

Whatever the answer may be, there's one thing that is for certain.  When students are working on their own, the assignment or literacy centers must be at their INDEPENDENT level.  This is a time for students to review or practice skills which they have MASTERED.  An exception to this is when students are working directly with another adult.  Then, they are working at their INSTRUCTIONAL level. When students are expected to work on a level that is beyond their current independent level, they become frustrated!  In the end, the teacher must reteach material that was learned the wrong way when adult support was absent.    

If the teacher is the only adult in the classroom while reading groups are taking place, he/she has the challenging task of creating meaningful, independent-level activities for all of the students to engage in. 

One of the best literacy centers that can be developed is independent book reading.  (If you have book corner with a collection of picture books that the children go to and randomly select books to view . . . . it's not an independent reading center.  Don't get me wrong!  There is value in "Book-Look" time.  But it is not independent reading.  That is, unless your classroom is filled with first graders that are reading well above grade level.)

In order to set up an independent reading center, you will need leveled books.  The small paperback books work wonderfully.  You will also need to provide each child (or pair of children) with their own storage container for the books.  Plastic ice cube bins make great book bins for the small paperback books.  You can get the plastic ice cube bins at a super-center store.  The cost is under $2.00 per bin.  Tape name tags to the bins to indicate the child or children that "own" the bin.  Try to replace the books with new ones on a monthly basis.  If you are using consumable booklets (the ones that you print and assemble), consider giving the books away (to the "bin-owners") when you switch out the books.  They'll love to take the books home and share with their families! 

Here is a photo of an ice cube bin that is used as a leveled book bin.   
This ice cube bin is being used as a leveled reader book bin.

The next thing that you will need to do is start supplying the children's ice book bins with books!  The only books that make their way into a child's (or pair of children) bin are the ones that he/she can read on an independent level.  Independent reading means that the child can read the book with little or no errors.  Most experts have considered that to be at a 95% level of accuracy for the lower leveled books.  Therefore, if the book has a total of 25 words, and a child makes1 error while reading the book, the child reads the book with 96% accuracy.  The book is within the independent range.  But, if the child makes 2 errors with the same book, it's at 92% accuracy.  Hence, the book is not a candidate for that particular child's book bin.   

The child's "just-right" books need to be his/her independent reading level.  

Have you assessed a child's reading level and found that the assessment tool was not quite accurate?  If you've conducted leveled reading assessments with lower elementary aged children, you've seen this!  You've tested a student on a "B" level book and he's at instructional level.  Then, you've tested the same child on a "C" level book (within a week's time) and he scores at independent level.  Did he make a level's worth of reading growth in one week?  No.  

What happened????  

Many of the leveled books focus on a small handful of sight words within a single book.  If the book on the "C" level happens to have sight words that the child knows, he might score at independent level.  At the same token, if he doesn't know the sight words in a "B" level book, he might make a few errors resulting in an instructional level score.  

Think of the assessment tool as narrowing the gap but not always hitting the nail on the head!  

I've been creating my own collection of READING BOOKLETS.  My reading booklets include word cards for every word within the text.  This includes both the sight words and the vocabulary words.  I've also included assessments for each book so that teachers can easily check for accuracy and determine whether or not a child can read the book independently.  My READING BOOKLETS are the print, fold, and staple style.  There is no cutting with scissors.  There is no use of a paper cutter.  Many of my booklet files include both a color version as well as a black and white version. 

Some of my books are "singable".  I love using the well known tunes because many parents will  be able to find the song on the internet.  Some parents might also recall the tune from their own childhood experiences.  The video below shows my attempt at singing one of my books to the tune, "Oh My Darling Clementine".  

Phew!  Glad I'm finished singing!  I wanted my book, Find a Pumpkin to have an alternate version for an ending.  I wanted something that was not as heavily associated with Halloween as was my original version.  Although, it is harder to say, "Send it to a cat named Chase." than the first option. 

If you'd like, listen to an instrumental version of the song at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences - Kids' Pages.  Follow the link here.

The images below are from my fall themed booklets.  Click on any of the images to view at my shop.  The first one is a book about the days of the week which are presented in sequential order.  The second booklet is sung to the tune of, "Oh My Darling Clementine".  The last booklet is about a visit to a pumpkin patch.  The last booklet is a FREE RESOURCE that you can get at my Teachers Pay Teachers shop.

The titles of the three booklets shown above are:  SUPER KIDS!, FIND A PUMPKIN, and PUMPKIN PICKING.  I am planning to make more READING BOOKLETS in the future. 

There are several artists that should be credited for the adorable illustrations in the booklets that I made.  They are  Laura from Whimsy Clips  and Sarah from Educlips.  Visit their fabulous shops!

That's all for now!

Lessons by Molly © 2015  All rights reserved.

Friday, October 2, 2015


Summer is over but its memories linger on.  I thought I'd post a few pictures from last summer.   

The first photo is of a young fellow who learned how to float.  His swim trunks are almost the same color as the water!  The shiny dark hair that you see floating in the water is now sporting a short, "school boy" haircut.  He was taking it easy and clearing his mind of his summer projects.  He wasn't thinking about the fact that in a few short weeks he would be floating right into a classroom!   
Relaxing before the start of a new school year.

Learning how to float!
The young lady has a different way of relaxing.  For her, it's all about movement . . . . nonstop!  
Going down the water slide!

Jumping off the diving board.
Once in a while, the two of them like to compete with each other in a friendly game of ball!  
Time to play ball!

I have been working on some fresh ideas to practice sight word recognition.  Our "poolside fun" gave me inspiration!  This summer, I sat down and made up 3 new games for sight word practice.  I decided to use the pool as the theme.  

I wanted the games to be ENGAGING, FUN, and CHALLENGING.   They also needed to foster FLUENCY, SPELLING, and high-order THINKING.  I used 25 of the most frequently used sight words in text.  When students don't know the first 25 sight words, there's little point in trying to learn more advanced sight words.  If you've taught second grade for a while, you've probably encountered a student that came to you in August or September and knew less than 15 sight words.  You scratch your head and can't help but wonder what happened in first grade!  But, you have to take your students where they're at.  The good news is that you can support children that have significant gaps in their progress and they can make huge gains in their growth during the next few months of school.   

Here's a description of the sight word games I created:    

Game 1 Fish in the Water        
Players take turns withdrawing sentences from a stack.

Players take turns withdrawing sentences.  (This game works best with 2 players.)  There is a sight word underlined within the sentence.  The player that withdrew the sentence reads the sentence and marks the spot with the same word on the game board.
The 4 green bingo chips will go in the water.

The players continue taking turns withdrawing sentences and marking spots along the pool's edge.  Once a player has 3 spots in a row covered with bingo chips, it's "Fish in the Water".  He/she slides the bingo chips into the water.  (Because of the nature of the game, it is necessary for each player to have his/her own set of bingo chips that are distinguished from the opposing player by the color.)
In some situations, a player will have 4 or 5 in a row.  In this case, all the chips within the row go in the water.  In the photo above, the player with the orange chips could cover the word "is", then the word "at" and then the word "that".  5 in a Row!

The game is over with when all the sentence strips have been withdrawn.  The winner of the game is the child that has the greatest number of "FISH" in the water.

This game will require a minimal amount of preparation.  You will need to print the game board and laminate it (if desired).  You will also need to print the sentence strips and cut them out.
Print the sentence strips on card-stock paper and cut them out.

Game 2  CLAIM!  
Each player will need his/her own set of bingo chips and his/her own set of letter tiles.
Players "BUILD" the sight words that are show along the pool's edge.  They use paper (or other material) letter tiles to make the words.  Once a player builds a word, he/she must "CLAIM" the spot by placing a bingo marker over the word on the pool's edge.  Once a spot is "CLAIMED" other players can't take the spot.  Children will quickly learn that it is easier to start by building 1-letter and 2-letter words claiming those spots first.  Let them figure out this strategy on their own! 

The game ends when a player has created the required number of words to win.  This can be a small number such as 5 words.  The game can also continue until all the spots along the pool's edge are claimed.  The winner is the player that builds the most words or builds the required number of words first.  (Use a small number of words to win when the game when it is first introduced to the class.)
"BUILD" a word.  "CLAIM" the spot.

"BUILD" another word.  "CLAIM" another spot.

This game will require a minimal amount of preparation.  You will need to print the game board and laminate it (if desired).  You will also need to print 2 or 3 sets (1 set per player) of letter tiles and cut them out.  Print the letter tiles on card-stock paper.  Use a different color card-stock paper for each set of letter tiles.  Store them in small baggies.

Print the letter tiles on card-stock paper.  Use a different color of card-stock for each player.
Cut out the letter tiles.  Provide each player with his/her own set.

*If you have access to blank ceramic or plastic letter tiles, it is easier for the students to build words with this material.  This is because they are heavier than paper.  The paper letter tiles tend to move around while the children play the game and hence, the words become disarranged.  

At least 70 letter tiles are needed per player.  (It's better to have extras in case some get lost!)  The tiles need to be a different color for each player.  Ceramic tiles might be found at a craft store.  A local flooring company is also a good place to look.  (Keep in mind that ceramic tiles will create more noise than paper tiles.) 

Program the tiles to align with the letters in the words.  This can easily be done by using the letter tile sheet provided in the file.  Separate the individual tiles.  (Avoid using tiles that are linked together with cement-like material!)
The white ceramic tiles are being programmed with the same letters as the paper sheet.  A black permanent marker is used to write the letters.
 Game 3  Mystery of the Floating Flip-Flops

Players become "Detectives" in this game.  Players use deductive reasoning to determine the mystery word.  (It is the same concept as logic puzzles.)  At least 3 players are needed for the game.  1 player is the "Witness".  The witness is the only player that views the mystery word.  
Turn the card that is in the swimming pool face down so that it can't be seen by the detectives.

The word cards are shuffled and placed in a bag.  The witness withdraws a word from the bag.  The witness looks at the word and then places it face down in the swimming pool.  
The "Witness" randomly selects one of the sight word cards to be placed face down in the swimming pool.

There is a set of interrogation cards.  These are shuffled and placed in a stack.  Detectives take turns withdrawing an interrogation card.  They ask the witness the question posed on the interrogation card.  The witness answers with "Yes" or "No". 
Interrogation cards

Detectives rule out "suspects".  They mark an "X" within the circles when a word is no longer a "suspect".  ("Suspects" are any words which might be the word that is face down in the pool.)
"Detectives" record their "clues" on the Word Suspects sheet.
In the photo shown below, the first question that was withdrawn says, "Does the word have a t?"  The mystery word is "that".  Therefore, the answer to the question is "Yes".  At this point, detectives can cross out the words which do not contain the letter "t".
Game components include:  Game board, interrogation cards, sight word cards, and the word suspects recording sheet.
The game is concluded when all but one suspect remains.  This will happen before all interrogation cards are used.  At that time, detectives must determine the word that is floating in the water.  They record this on the word suspects sheet.  The word in the swimming pool is revealed.  The witness is the one to reveal it.  The winners are the detectives that accurately determined the correct mystery word.

The preparation involved in this game includes:   1.  Printing the game board and laminating it (if desired).  2.  Printing multiple copies of the word suspects sheet.  3.  Printing and cutting out the word cards.  4.  Printing and cutting out the interrogation cards. 

Print and cut out the word cards.
  Use white card-stock for printing the word cards.

Print and cut out the interrogation cards.
Use white or colored card-stock for printing the interrogation cards.

If desired, trim the white edge off of the game boards prior to using.
If desired, trim the white edge off of the game boards.

I used graphics from Lettering Delights to create this resource.  It was the perfect fit for what I was envisioning!  Here is a link to their website:  Lettering Delights.

I created this product for second and third graders that have learned less than 15 sight words.  Due to the length of the sentences in the game "Fish in the Water", it is too advanced for most first semester first graders.  The "Mystery of the Floating Flip-Flops" requires deductive reasoning which may be beyond the reach of some first graders as well.

This file will work well in a one-adult to one-child ratio where the adult is one of the players.  This could be a parent volunteer or a paraprofessional.  

If you have groups of older students that visit your classroom on a weekly basis, second graders could be paired with fifth graders to play the games.  (You would need to print multiple copies of each game for this to work.)  

An educator could also work with a small group of six students with the "Fish In the Water" game.  This could be done by pairing the children together.  The educator's role would be to support the players.

Once your students have practiced the games several times, the games could be used as independent group literacy center activities.

On a side note:  The sweet gal shown in the photo below loves the sight word wheel that I made from a cake wheel.  She can read each word separately and turn the wheel to read the next word.  She doesn't have to read the words from a horizontal or vertical line of print.  She can turn the word wheel faster than she could if flash cards were being used.  However, the sight word wheel does NOT provide her with reading fluency practice, sight word spelling practice, high-order thinking, learning to work with peers, or to develop positive sportsmanship conduct.  Get your sight word game on!
Sight word wheel

If you're interested in the resource featured in the post, you can view it at my shop by clicking the image shown below:

Lessons by Molly © 2015  All rights reserved.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Using Technology to Create a Classroom Calendar Chart

In my "Old Days" of teaching, I posted a calendar chart in the classroom.  This was before whiteboards were available.  Every August, I would take the calendar chart out of my teacher's closet and hang it up on one of the walls in the classroom.  Each year, it became more and more worn.  It had folds where none should have been, it was frayed on the edges, and there were tape marks, holes, and tears from years of being mounted, taken down, and posted again.  It was sad looking.  It did not exude freshness and newness for classroom decor at the beginning of the school year. 

I might also mention that I was not fond of the abbreviated words for the days of the week.  In my opinion, young children should see the full name of the days of the week when teaching calendar skills. Should I mention that the font style was not my favorite?  But . . . . what was I to do.  I wasn't in the business of manufacturing calendar charts.

It gets worse.  There were a few times when I couldn't FIND the calendar chart.  I misplaced it.  Where oh where could it be???  It wasn't in my teacher's closet OR the usual places that I might have put it.  I was scrambling to locate it before the first day of school. 
Then the birth of the whiteboards.  This gave teachers like me the power to post their calendar activities on a digital file and then project them on the board.  

No more calendar charts.   

Not so fast!  I STILL liked having a calendar chart posted on the wall.  The children could refer to it throughout the school day as needed.  I believe it helped them to see the value of using a calendar in authentic situations.  They also liked manipulating the numerals and arranging and rearranging the order when they had a few extra minutes.  

Thanks to technology and Microsoft Word ®, I learned how to make my own calendar chart.  No more abbreviated days of the week!  No more fonts that I don't want!  No more "sad" looking calendar charts.  No more lost calendar charts!

In this post, I will teach YOU how to create your own printable calendar chart using Microsoft Word ®.  I will make this easy.  But, if you're not up to the challenge, you may download the FREE calendar chart that I created.  It's at the end of this post.  Remember, learning to create this yourself adds to your technology toolbox! 

There are many versions of Microsoft Word ®.  The version that I used to create the chart with is Microsoft Office 2010 Home and Business.  If you have a different version, things that I show you might be a tad different on your computer.  Therefore, this tutorial may not work as well for you.  I also converted my chart to a PDF so that I could take the file to a print shop and maintain formatting.

Let's get started.  It's as easy as following a recipe in a cookbook!

1.  Open to Microsoft Word ®
2.  There are 3 things we will take care of to set up your page.  Click on the "Page Layout" tab.  You will see "Margins, Orientation, and Size".  I've outlined them in blue, red, and green as shown below respectively.
Figure 1
We'll start with "Margins".  Click on it and scroll down to "Custom Margins".  Set your custom margins as shown below.  It's 0.4 at the top of the page and 0.05 at the bottom of the page.  Use .25 for the left and right margins.  Then click on the "OK" bar. 
Figure 2

Warning!  From time to time you will see this message below.  Always choose to ignore it!
Figure 3
4.  That was easy!  Click on the "Orientation" tab next.  (Remember that I outlined that in red.)  It will give you 2 choices.  The choices are "Portrait" and "Landscape".  Pick "Landscape".
Figure 4

5.  We're on a roll!  Click on the "Size" tab.  Scroll down and select "More Paper Sizes".  Then, under the paper tab, scroll again from the listing.  It will give you choices like, "letter", "legal", "statement", "executive" and so forth.  You want to find the one that says, "Custom Paper Size".  Once in the "Custom Page Size" mode, you will type in your desired width and height.  In the "width" bar, highlight and type: 22".  In the height bar, highlight and type:  17".  Then click "OK".  (Remember that the message from figure 3 may pop up.  Just hit ignore!)
Figure 5

See how smart you are!  Your page is all prepped!  Now it's time to add a table that will become your calendar chart!  

6.  There is an "Insert" tab.  Click on it and then on the image of the table.  Mouse over the table until you have a 7 x 6 table.  It will show 7 squares horizontally and 6 squares vertically.  Click, and your table will be on your page.  

Figure 6

Your table might look like the one shown in figure 7.  It doesn't look like a calendar chart right now but that's o.k.  Make sure it has 7 boxes going horizontally and 6 going vertically.  It's a total of 42 boxes.  We'll call those boxes "cells".

Figure 7
We're going to make some adjustments to your table.  But first you need to understand how to highlight rows within your table.  This allows you to direct your commands to the proper rows, columns, and cells.  There are two examples shown below.  The first example (figure 8) shows the entire table as highlighted.  I would want to use this if I planned to make every cell the same measurement.   
Figure 8
The second example (figure 9) shows the rows 2 through 5 highlighted.  In this instance, I would give those rows directions in terms of measurements without directing the first or last rows.

Figure 9
I would highlight, then right mouse click within the table, and select "Table Properties".  From there I would give it the measurement formula.

7.   We're ready to turn this table into a calendar chart!  Go ahead and highlight the entire table.  Left click your mouse and drag it over the entire table.  Then right mouse click within the table.  (Make sure the table remains highlighted when you do this.)  A drop down menu will appear.  Left mouse click "Table Properties".  You will get a dialogue box which will look like the one shown below.  I've circle the important items in yellow.
Figure 10
You are going to make every cell in this table 3 inches by 3 inches.  Go to the Row tab.  Specify height to 3 inches.  Set it for EXACTLY 3 inches.  The other choice says "At Least".  You don't want that one.  Then hit on the bar that says "Next Row" and cycle through every row at 3 inches exactly.  Then click OK.

One row of your table will now carry over to another page in your document.  Bet you weren't expecting that!  Don't worry.  The table will be on one page when we get finished.

8.  Highlight your entire table again. Highlight the table by starting at the bottom row which is now on a page 2 of the document.  Drag your mouse upward until it reaches the top row of the table.  Right mouse click within the table.  The drop down table will appear.  Left mouse click on "Table Properties".  This time you are going to work with the Column tab.  (You completed the Row tab in step 7.)  Remember that our goal right now is to make every cell a 3 x 3 square.  Here's what the dialogue box will look like:
Figure 11
Click on the Column Tab.  Make every column at 3 inches.  Cycle through the "Next Column" bar.  Then click "OK".  

9.  We're going to adjust the measurement of the top row of the table calendar chart.  Since the top row is where the words for the days of the week will go, we only need it to be 1 inch high.  Highlight the top row of your table.  Right mouse click within the TOP ROW.  When the drop down menu appears, click on "Table Properties".  Go to the "Row" tab.  Change it to 1 inch, EXACTLY.  Then click "OK".  DON'T go to "Next Row" as you did before.  Otherwise, it will start to change ALL of your cells to 1 inch in height.   
Figure 12

Voila!  Your table should now appear on one page!  Reducing the height of the top row from 3 inches to 1 inch allowed the entire table to fit on one page.

10.  Moving right along!  We're going to center your table so that it will be perfectly aligned on your page.  Look at figure 13 below.  Do you see that little mark on the upper left corner of the table?  I've made it a little bigger than its normal size.  I call it a four-way arrow.  You want to right mouse click on it.  A drop down menu will appear.  
Figure 13
 Go to the "Table" tab.  Select "Center".  Then "OK".  (If you don't find the little mark, just highlight the entire table and follow the same steps.)   
Figure 14
11.  You're doing great!  You have a perfectly aligned and measured calendar chart!  You need to dress it up a bit more.  Those horizontal and vertical lines might be too thin looking by the time your table goes to press.  You can thicken the lines to your preference with this step.  My chart has a thickness of 6 points.  You can select something thinner than this if desired.  Highlight your entire table again or click on that four-way arrow.  Once the drop down menu appears, select "Table Properties".  In the "Table" tab, select "Borders and Shading".  Go to the Width box and make your selection from .5 points up to 6 points.  (See figure 15 below.)  The style is the solid line.  The setting should be for ALL.  Apply to CELL or TABLE.  You might notice that there is a color option.  You can try out different colored lines if you'd like.  However, you should keep this calendar chart as a BLACK line.  I'll explain the reason for this later on.   
Figure 15
You're almost finished!  Right now, your calendar chart is looking something like figure 16.  It has 42 cells in all.  35 cells are 3 x 3 inches.  The top row of cells are 1 inch high and 3 inches wide a piece.  What a masterpiece you've created!
Figure 16
The last few things you have left to do is to create text boxes for your days of the week.  Then you'll pick your own font, type one day of the week in each text box and slip them into place!  If you know how to make text boxes, skip number 12 of this tutorial.

12.  Let's get cooking with those text boxes!  There is a tab that says, "Insert".  Click on it.  (See figure 17.) 
Figure 17
You will see quite a few options across the page.  One will say, "Text Box".  Pick that one.  Left mouse click on it.  A drop down menu will appear with several options.  Choose the one that says, "Draw Text Box".  
Figure 18
Drag and draw a rectangle.  Adjust the size so that it is the same size as one of the cells in the top row of your calendar grid.  Now copy the text box and paste it 6 times.  This will give you 7 text boxes in all - one for each day of the week.
Figure 19

13.  Position your text boxes in the cells in the top row.  (Figure 21)  There should be one text box per cell.  Just drag them in.  I've made them yellow so you can see them.
Figure 20
Figure 21
14.  We're not going to leave those text boxes with any color.  (Everything in this chart must use black ink.  I'll get to that in a bit.)  We're going to change the text boxes to "No Fill" and "No Outline".  This will make them invisible!  Click on one of your text boxes, then go to Format, and then Shape Fill, select "No Fill".  Repeat this for all the other text boxes.
Figure 22

You're almost done!  

15.  Select your desired font style and size from your own listing and type your days of the week into the text boxes.  Here's a Tip:  Type Wednesday first so your know the size that you have to work with.  (It's your longest day in terms of the character count.)   Use the black color for your font.
16.  Save your file on a flash drive as a .doc document.  Then save it as a PDF on a flash drive.

 Time to get it printed!

Your chart is a 22 x 17 size.  Make sure that the person printing this is informed of this size.  Unless your school division has a special printer for this size, you will need to take it to a print shop to have it printed.  I recommend that you call first to see if your local shop has such a printer.  I used a Fed Ex Print & Ship Center to print my own calendar chart.

You might remember that I mentioned that you should stay with the black color options for your grid lines and font color.  If you have ANY color in your chart, your price will go up . . . . a lot.  So, use the black ink.  My local store had three color paper options which were white, blue, and yellow.  I chose all three!  While stores may vary their products, the paper color does not increase the price of the printing with my charts.  I was charged $2.37 per chart.  I did this in August of 2015.   Ask about the pricing before you print.
You will need to have it printed with regular paper thickness.  If you choose a thick paper option, your price will go up.  You can strengthen your chart by laminating it at school. 

You're done!  You have a beautiful calendar chart which is uniquely your own!   
Uh, so you didn't feel like learning how to do this?  I understand.  I'm happy to share my chart with you provided that my terms of use are followed.  The terms of use are in the file.  Please be sure to read them.  I'm also posting a few of them here.

1.  You may not use my chart for any commercial purposes.  This includes displaying numeral cards which you intend to sell on my chart.

2.  File sharing is prohibited.  You can't send anyone a copy of the file.

3.  File linking is prohibited.  You can't send anyone a copy of the direct link to the file.  You CAN tell others about this blog post where they may get a copy of the calendar chart themselves.

4.  Your license to use my chart is for your own personal and classroom use.  You can't make copies of the chart for others.

5.  You are not allowed to upload the calendar chart on the internet or World Wide Web.  You can't post my chart on your own website.

Lessons by Molly © 2015  All rights reserved.