This is the first in a two part series. Here you have a few ideas on how to review days of the week, months of the year and dates while allowing children to personalise the lesson and allowing you to give them some invaluable cultural input. 

The second article will focus on special days and birthdays in particular:
https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/my-favourite-day-2

Age: 8-10 years old

Aims:

  • Review days of the week
  • Introduce/review numbers 1-31
  • Introduce a traditional rhyme
  • Write a group poem
  • Language: My favourite _____ is…
  • Yes/No, it’s…

Materials:

  • Objects for ‘my week’
  • Sentence strips for ‘a day poem’
  • Stickers (one per child)

My week
Set this activity up before the class begins to add an element of surprise when the children enter the room. If you can get them interested before you’ve even started it’s a real bonus. Bring in objects to represent every day of the week and place them around the room. Make sure the objects vary from one day to the next. Don’t be afraid to use your imagination – your objects don’t have to be real – just believable!

I might have for example:

Monday – a text book for my English class.
Tuesday – my cycling helmet for my weekly bike ride
Wednesday – a storybook for reading I do at the local library
Thursday – swimming goggles for my swimming class
Friday – a plastic bag from a supermarket
Saturday – a train ticket for my trips to Paris
Sunday – a broom

  • You can say 'On Monday I teach English.' Write the word Monday on the board. For the younger primary children write the letter ‘M’. Ask: 'Where’s my text book?' and they have to find the text book. They may go to the storybook. Say 'No, a text book.' If space is a problem they could point to the correct object. Now say 'On Tuesday I ride my bike.'
  • Where appropriate you could mime the action of what you do to help some of the children. Write up Tuesday or T.
  • Do for the rest of the week by which time you have the seven days of the week or seven letters written on the board. For Thursday write Th and not T.
  • Then put a large circle around your favourite day. In the circle draw a smiley face and say ‘Thursday is my favourite day. I love swimming!’
  • They can now draw an object to symbolise their favourite day of the week.
  • With their partner they need to guess what the objects are and which day they represent.
  • They can point to the picture and say the object. Their partner replies yes or no. If it’s no they ‘No, it’s a …’. They will probably need your help for vocabulary. Provide the word and write it on the board to avoid repeating the word several times.
  • For the actual day they can just guess which one it is: Pupil A; ‘Tuesday?’ Pupil B; ‘No, my favourite day is Saturday.’

A day poem
This idea is adapted from the original 1887 rhyme that describes what children’s personalities are according to the day of the week they were born on.

  • Brainstorm on the board a spider’s web of adjectives with the class - a range of adjectives that they know and add to the list from the following selection:
    hungry, thirsty, sleepy, big, small, clever, funny, brave, happy, happy, sad, interesting, famous, kind, polite, lazy
  • Download flashcards from this free website to provide visual support for the children when they hear new words: http://www.mes-english.com/flashcards/adjectives.php
  • They can also suggest adjectives in their own language and you give them the English version. Distribute strips of paper with days on as below and ask each child to choose an adjective from the board brainstorm. They can write on their piece of paper to fill in the gap.
    Monday’s child is…
    Tuesday’s child is…
    Wednesday’s child is…
    Thursday’s child is…
    Friday’s child is…
    Saturday’s child is…
    Sunday’s child is …
  • When they have all written an adjective in the space they need to go around the room saying their sentence and join together with six other children to make up a poem.
  • When everyone has found the rest of the week they practise their sentences together.
  • Then they stand in a line, read out their poems to the rest of the class and display them on the wall.
  • At home they can try and find out what day they were born on and then check back with their poems on the wall as to what sort of person they are meant to be. As there will be a few alternatives they can say which is their favourite adjective.

A traditional rhyme
By doing this rhyme first you are already introducing some of the months of the year so that they are familiar with a few of them.

  • You can teach them this rhyme but leave out the key numbers for them to fill in.
    _____ days has September
    April, June and November
    All the rest have _______ except in February alone,
    It has _______ clear,
    And _______ in each leap year.
  • Say the rhyme once before distributing the written version with gaps. From their own knowledge see if they can fill in the gaps first.
  • Then write up the missing numbers on the board.
  • If you want to add a little humour to your lesson and to teach an all important expression ‘I can’t remember’ and the word ‘calendar’ then you could introduce a fun parody of the original:
    Thirty days has September,
    All the rest I can't remember,
    Why say this rhyme at all?
    Just look at the calendar on the wall.

Months

  • Carry out a class survey to find out which is everyone’s favourite month. Make a table with the months of the year down one side and another column for their votes.
  • Split the class into two groups. You could have a girl/boy split.
  • A volunteer asks to his/her group; ‘What is your favourite month of the year?’
  • Then another volunteer notes the response from everyone in their group.
  • The two groups have to collate their findings and decide how they want to record and display them. This will obviously depend on their level and will be influenced by what they have done previously in class. You can guide and advise but let them take control.
  • The only rules you should give them is keeping their charts or tables secret from the other team and if they can think of a word in English then they have to use it.
  • They won’t have the necessary language for giving suggestions so encourage the use of any English they have at their disposal making clear that you are not expecting full sentences or grammatically correct expressions.
  • You could have a points system whereby every time you hear someone say a word in English you give their team a point. The task here is to say as much in English as possible without being conscious of talking in English.

Ordinal numbers

  • Distribute a sticker to each of your pupils.
  • Point and go round the class and ask them to write a number on their circle.
  • As you go round the class, pointing and saying the numbers (from 1-31) gradually get them to say the numbers instead of you.
  • On the board (down the right hand side) you write st, nd, rd, th.
  • Ask if anyone knows what these letters mean?
  • Write the numbers 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 on the left hand side of the board.
  • The numbers 1, 2 and 3 you should write in red and the others in black to show that there is a difference.
  • Then you can draw an arrow from the st to the 1, the nd to the 2 and the rd to the 3. Say the words at the same time and get the class to repeat with you.
  • Ask a volunteer to come up and draw a line from the th to a number. Continue until all the other numbers are connected to the th.
  • Ask them which numbers are different.
  • The write up the rest of the numbers from 11-31 making sure you write 21, 22, 23, and 31 in red and ask different volunteers to write up either st, nd, rd or th next to the remaining numbers.
  • They can then write the correct abbreviation on their own number badge and stand up. Everyone must stand in a line from 1st to 31st (you may have some people holding two badges if you have a smaller class). Then going along the line they need to say ‘the 1st of October’ or whatever month you do this lesson in.
  • Next they turn their badges around and write the date of their birthday on it but keep it a secret.
  • By telling other people in the class the date of their birthday they need to stand in a new line in order of their birthday. You could simplify this with them organising themselves according to the ordinal number or make it harder by using both the month and the ordinal number.
  • Make sure they say ‘the’ and ‘of’ in their expression.
  • You could split them into two groups and the groups who stands in line first and is able to say their birthday is the winning team.

Useful links

Online calendars with special days of the year: http://www.enchantedlearning.com/activitycalendars/
Make your own yearly, monthly, weekly or daily calendar: http://www.myfreecalendarmaker.com/
An example of a brainstorming spider’s web: https://www.teachervision.com/classroom-management/brainstorming-web

Author: 
Jo Bertrand
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