Teaching English Language Learners about the Calendar

Newcomers need to learn how to hear, say, read and write the days of the week, months of the year, and dates. Many nations use the Gregorian calendar like America, Canada and Britain. However there are many calendars in use throughout the world. More commonly known ones include the Chinese, Arabic, and Hebrew calendars. New Year celebrations can occur in February, April or September.

Although calendars may differ in the number of months and the length of months and year, one thing is the same worldwide. There are always seven days in a week. This is where I start when teaching the Newcomers about the calendar, because all students are familiar with this concept. Even Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education (SLIFE) know and understand the days of the week. I often ask students to say the days in their native language and I try to pronounce them. Sunday is often Day 1, Monday is Day 2, ect. Saturday is often a version of the word 'Sabbath'. (See blog - Teaching Newcomers (ELLs) the Days of the Week)  Also included with the days are the terms: yesterday, today, and tomorrow. (See blog - Teaching Newcomers (ELLs) about Yesterday, Today, & Tomorrow).

I also teach the date using the calendar. Most of the world writes dates with the day-month-year order.  It is difficult for literate students to switch to the month-day-year order.  I begin by asking, "What is the date today?" I may give Newcomers a prompt, "What is the Month?"  or point to the month on the calendar. We write three versions of dates on the board. For some reason, students always prefer the easy version!

    • Long - June 5, 2020
    • Short - Jun. 5, 2020
    • Easy - 06 / 05 / 20 or 06 - 05 - 20

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