Daily calendars are timepieces that represent an expanded future by displaying several events in the calendar box. A daily calendar teaches the sequence of activities for the day. After each completed activity the concept of past is reinforced using a finished basket. Parts of objects, pictures or tactual symbols are used to represent activities. The symbols are more abstract than those used for anticipation calendars, keeping pace with the development of a student's representational abilities.
There are a wide variety of good daily calendars. Because they are designed to match a particular student's learning style, not all daily calendars look the same. Despite differences in appearance, however, they have important elements in common. As a student goes through a day, the passage of time, as represented by the calendar moves from left to right. This is the way a traditional calendar is read and it is also the way we read. If the student has a visual impairment or has restricted movement that makes a calendar organized from top to bottom more accessible, however, then definitely go with that type of calendar.
When you first begin to use a daily calendar with a student, start by highlighting just a few significant activities. As the student comes to understand each concept, more information can be added. If the student uses speech or sign language, be careful in your choice of vocabulary. In the beginning it can be confusing for a student to hear too many terms for the same concept or event (for example, "all through," "that's it," and "finished") Teach time vocabulary for the past by introducing the sign "finished" paired with the finished basket.
Infusing IEP Goals Into a Daily Calendar
Goals and objectives for a daily calendar might be to:
- Understand and use symbolic forms.
- Develop an early vocabulary of object, people and activity names.
- Expand topics for interaction.
- Sequence early time concepts
- Maintain joint attention for longer periods.
- Imitate turn-taking through pantomime.
- Respond to questions by naming or pointing to objects.
- Make choices.
Significant portions of this module are adapted with permission from Calendars for Students with Multiple Impairments Including Deafblindness by Robbie Blaha.