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the famous Moondog "calendar" post re:teaching time concepts to kids with language difficulties

(32 Posts)
TotalChaos Sun 17-Jan-10 09:46:32

"With understanding the concept of time, I have found a simple calendar invaluable. I
like this one as the spaces for the days are nice and big
Organised Mum calendar

Here is what to do.

Start at the begining of a month. For about 3 weeks, simply get the child to cross off the relevant day of the month with a big cross from each corner of the box. Do it before bed and tell (sign and speech) them the day is finished.

They should start getting the idea of the page filling up (ie time passing).

You can then start putting in pictures depicting important future events (g parties, swimming, cinema trip,Christmas) What is nifty about this calendar is that it comes with lots of little activity stickers. I also make my own from Widgit Writing with Symbols package or Google Images or digital photos or drawings. Keep it simple to begin with.

Gradually (it may take months, that's k, important thing is to do it every day)the child will realise that the event is coming closer. Also good for left to right skills and counting (eg Our big thing is dh coming home from his work in Bangladesh so there is a picture of a plane about 4 weeks from now and every night we count. Same with Christmas.)

You can then start to ask the child what happened that day when they are crossing off the day at night. Whatever they come up with is fine (eg even just something like 'sandpit') Honour their contribution and draw a little picture (or find a suitable one) to put in the box for that day and then cross it out.Even if the child is not able to communicate something, you can pick out something important from theri day and put in a picture (eg for my kids today, it would be playing and putting make up on hideous Barbie heads at child minders."

You don't have to have a picture for every day . Sometimes a cross may be enough. Equally though, put in the box anything of importance (eg for us it may be a tag from a special treat box of cereal or cinema tickets or a photo of something we made.)

You can then add a simple code to denote school/non school days. Iuse a red sticky dot (buy sheets of them in WHSmith)and put it in top right hand corner of every box which denotes a non school day.

If they start writing, you can transition to that (although even if they do, everyone loves pictures.) Ihave done this every night for 4 years and my children love it. Dd often goes to bed with a stack of calendars and flicks through them, enjoying reflecting on past events (eg holidays, the time she was sick on her sohes, the night a fox ripped open the rubbish bags, the days we went to the cinema.)

I want everyone in the world to do this. smile"

TotalChaos Sun 17-Jan-10 09:47:12

have taken the liberty of c & p'ing MD's post from an old thread, as it was enormously useful to a number of us.

StarlightMcKenzie Sun 17-Jan-10 09:55:56

Message withdrawn

tiredmummyoftwo Sun 17-Jan-10 13:01:11

wow total you are a star. I remember reading this as well like star, but it was not for DS at that time. It's going to be hard to wait until beginning of February.

StarlightMcKenzie Sun 17-Jan-10 18:34:50

Message withdrawn

moondog Sun 17-Jan-10 19:36:28

Thanks TC. smile

It has made a massive difference to so many people, it really has.
In my personal life it has been one of the most important factors for helping my child(ren) sort out concept of time and how it ties in with different language constructions as well as myriad other things
(eg waiting for something, planning, offsetting a less desired activity with a more desired one), providing a graphic treeasure trove of happy memeopries and events to reflect on and discuss, getting pprepared for unavoidable things (such as Daddy leaving to go abroad for work ,but knowing when he will be back).

Best £10 I have ever spent.

backtolingle Sun 17-Jan-10 19:48:23

great mind think alike I was going to start a thread too as people were struggling to find it.

backtolingle Sun 17-Jan-10 19:50:54

The holy trinity of teaching the concept of time for me has been
-calendar (for periods measured in days)
- doctored clock (divided into coloured segements so you can say "when it's afternoon, we'll do this, "when it's evening, we'll do this" ideally on a clock with just an hour hand.)
- timetimer (for measuring periods of less than one hour).

DS2 has a receiptive language delay of at least 18 months but has as good or better a concept of time as many of his peers.

moondog Sun 17-Jan-10 20:05:31

I have also taken clock idea further and colour coded all clock hands in house (glued strips of blue and red over long and short hands to tally with geared clock (ie hands move together in simulation of action of real clock) from here amongst many other places
I've also comme across this great website on teaching time when they are ready to get into minutiae (geddit?) of it.

mum2fredandpudding Sun 17-Jan-10 22:14:30

wht a great idea.
ds is 3. Not too young for it?

tbh i think he will understand some of it and Im all for teaching ahead.

moondog Sun 17-Jan-10 22:23:54

He won;t understand it completely at first, but keep at it and he will.

allaboutme Mon 18-Jan-10 22:55:07

Fabulous. I have the timetimer and that has been great for DS (4yo). The calender will really hold his interest I think. It sounds absolutely perfect for him!!
Can I just ask please what the calender is that is linked in the OP as the link is no longer working? Thanks smile

moondog Tue 19-Jan-10 00:40:08

Here at the wonderful Organised Mum website.

It's the Home Planner

CardyMow Tue 19-Jan-10 01:43:36

Do you think this would work for DD (almost 12yo)? She sort of gets days of the week, but often forgets wednesday. Months...well, a recent development is that she knows the NAME of the months, and that her birthday is in March. But a clock? Harumpf. I've been trying to teach her the days of the week/ months of the year/ to tell the time for bloody ever since she was 3/4/5yo.

backtolingle Tue 19-Jan-10 09:15:49

"I've been trying to teach her the days of the week/ months of the year/ to tell the time for bloody ever since she was 3/4/5yo. "

after a couple of years in this special needs lark and a bit of a wade through a few of the applied behaviourism books recommended by moondog, I feel pretty strongly that the way we teach our kids to tell the time is all wrong.

Have a go. All I can say is that DS2 (4.4, special needs) uses my segmented clock to organise his day to the nearest hour, whereas DS1 (7.1, typically developing, excelling at school), still cannot tell the time and begs me to set the timetimer instead.

If your daughter is totally confused about time-telling, I would strip a clock right down by taking off everything except the hour hand going past three colour-coded segments for morning, afternoon and evening (so don't put it in the bedroom cos it can't do nighttime). cover up the numbers too. After all, what's with all this 12 turning into 1 business? - it's crazy, it makes no sense at all unless you've got a foundational understanding of what a clock dial is for.

Then, once the child can use the clock to tell you that it's not time to have breakfast because it's afternoon, you could add back the numbers.
At that point you could say "when it's 3 o'clock in the afternoon, we'll go to X".
So the numbers get a use, a real function.
Then you'd have to wait until the child had real "ownership" of that concept and can use it herself.

Only at that point could you add back the minute hand (as moondog says, colour it a different colour) but for a long time tell her to ignore it. I tell DS2 it is a silly hand and we only look at the little hand.

Once she can still effortlessly tell the time to the nearest hour despite the distracting minute hand and the illogical numbers, only at that point could you tell her that the minute hand is there to show how far the little hand is between one number and the next, etc, etc,

backtolingle Tue 19-Jan-10 09:18:15

moondog, your link to the site for teaching time-telling isn't working

moondog Tue 19-Jan-10 21:32:19

Great post Lingle (fantastic examples of fading prompts, shaping behaviour, multiple trials.You're a born behaviour analyst!)Loud, yes it will work. I can pretty much guarantee it if you commit to doing it religiously every day and expect to do it for a long time before seeing signs of true understanding. We did it for a whole year and then it all clicked into place beautifullt. I'll never not do it.

Time activities link again

allaboutme Wed 20-Jan-10 14:27:43

A quick question about the clock...
When you split it into sections to colour in, whats the best way to split it?
Say 7am is the start of the morning, you'd colour up to 12 as 'morning'? then 'afternoon' would go up to say 5pm I guess, but that leaves a very short 'evening'! Am I thinking that through wrongly??

CardyMow Wed 20-Jan-10 14:44:48

grin. Tried that one with her, I did 7am-12 noon as morning, 12 noon till 5pm as afternoon, and 5pm-10pm as evening (we were having sleep ishoos with her back then , thankfully resolved now) We got nowhere...maybe I should try it again now she's older. I just can't get the concept across to her. DS1 (NT) was telling the time at 5yo, and by 6yo could use a clock with roman numerals. DS2 6yo, though asd, would meltdown if his digital watch was removed...he's like the F'ing talking clock (we get a minute by minute update on the time...). He wouldn't have a clue what to do with a 'proper' clock though. It's mostly DD I worry about, as even a digital clock makes no sense to her.

backtolingle Wed 20-Jan-10 16:21:52

yeah, evening is quite little!

I'm very lucky my kids are upstairs from 7.30 to 7.30. Otherwise you'd need some kind of outer circle for nighttime and that would be more complicated.

allaboutme Wed 20-Jan-10 21:51:29

Have bought and doctored the clock. I got the Argos value plain white one for 3.49 and took the minute and second hand off as well as colouring it in.
All ready and on the kitchen wall for DS to see when he gets up in the morning!
I too am lucky that he is upstairs 7pm to at least 7am so have not got to worry about the night time hours either.

backtolingle Thu 21-Jan-10 08:44:59

allabout - sounds like he might get it quite quickly if he is already using the timetimer well. fingers crossed.

allaboutme Thu 21-Jan-10 13:47:31

Thanks. He's a bit confused by the numbers on it so far, but seems to get the general idea a little bit.
Kept asking 'what happens when its at 10?' and I just kept saying 'the numbers dont mean anything will happen, its just 10 o clock in the MORNING as red is all the morning. Dont look at the numbers for now'
'but why does it have 12 numbers and not 11?' etc... blasted numbers... grin

backtolingle Thu 21-Jan-10 14:00:04

tee hee you could consider covering up the numbers for a wee while.

TotalChaos Sun 24-Jul-11 19:37:19


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