This year I decided to do something I haven’t done before: create an interactive calendar.
The idea is that I want the children to take ownership of our community and our classroom, and one way to do that is by co-authoring our days. They will be responsible for shifting the days of the month when the month changes, and they will add a variety of events to our calendar: birthdays, field trips, presentations that they want to make to the class, pen pal letter deadlines, reading buddy visits, etc.
The board started as an old chalkboard. Here’s how I transformed it:
- I asked some children and parent volunteers to clean the old surface.
- I used painters’ tape around all the edges to make sure I didn’t get any primer or paint on the floor (note to self: I should have also put down a drop cloth!).
- I then used a roller brush (with the smoothest roller attached) to add a layer of magnetic primer (which I secured from Home Depot for around $10).
- I followed the drying directions on the can and waited about 30 minutes before reapplying the next layer. In all, I had enough primer to do three layers.
- I let the surface dry for 24 hours and then used chalkboard spray paint to spray over the magnetic primer (note to self: buy chalkboard paint in a can rather than as a spray next time!).
- I measured out my calendar and put light chalk marks to approximate where I wanted to put the tape.
- I used a light blue painters’ tape from the teacher supply store to create the calendar grid. Wal-Mart sells a darker blue that is also very nice.
- I used my computer to print out the months, days, seasons, and dates in English and Spanish. I then cut out everything. You can download the template here. I used five different colors and fed them through the printer in a pattern. I ended up with a few mistakes, but if you print the entire document on five colors, it will all work out.
- I ran everything through the laminator and trimmed around the edges.
- I cut a roll of magnetic tape into pieces and attached them to the numbers. I used tape to attach the days of the week (since those are permanent). Because the magnets were on a roll, I had to bend each piece backwards to get it to lay flat. I put two pieces on each number, since the magnetic board has a pretty weak attraction.
Voila! When the children want to add events, they will use sticky notes and small magnets. I’m also going to make a magnet with every child’s picture so they can put their picture next to their birthdays, presentations, etc.
Let me know if you have any questions!