Teaching Newcomers (ELL) the Months of the Year

Newcomers need to learn not only the months of the year, but also their abbreviations and corresponding numbers. These can be taught through worksheets, flash cards (See Free Resources), anchor charts and music.

I use this 12 Months of the Year anchor chart and point to the words as I teach. Students typically learn 4 months at a time. April is pronounced with a short a sound in many countries around the world. After Newcomers learn the names of the months, I  move on to the corresponding abbreviations and numbers. I also teach about the 4 seasons (Michigan) and point out the little pictures on the right hand side and teach about their meanings.

Many Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education (SLIFE) come from an oral culture which uses music as a teaching tool. I love to sing the Months of the Year Song (below) particularly with students who know how to harmonize. You will be tempted to add the word 'and' in lines 2 and 3, but this confuses SLIFE students. I like this tune because it teaches the correct syllable to stress. 

Months of the Year
(Ten Little Indians tune)
January, February, March, April (No and)
May, June, July, August (No and)
September, October, November, December
These are the Months of the Year!

Another fun activity is to do the motions to Macarena while singing the months to the tune of the Macarena. This must be taught very slowly at first, but kinesthetic learners will learn it quickly. I changed the last two motions to raising hands above the elbows for my disabled and chair bound students. Then we all clap at the end.

Happy Teaching!


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