Learning lab

Title: Birthday calendar

Lesson plan: Creating a classroom bithday calendar

Date of lesson: 2013
Year range: 1-2
Number of learners: 20
Duration of lesson: 45 mins
Lesson number: 1 of a unit on numeracy (integrated with art and literacy)
Unit: Time and place
Teachers and other facilitators of lesson: (can team teach and volunteer parent)
This lesson plan prepared by: Lisa Fazio on 1 February 2013

Lesson objectives

The vision for this lesson is to create a class birthday calendar to enable learners to understand how to use a calendar as a system for the organisation of time

The objectives of this lesson are:

  • identify and describe the key features of a calendar

  • identify their own and other people's birthday on a calendar

  • know how to use a calendar to apply numeracy skills, ie to determine how many days in a year, months are in a year, weeks in a month and days in a week, determine how many days till an event, ie a birthday.

  • collaborate and create a calendar and label significant dates: birthdays

  • use a calendar to record birthdays and to locate birthday dates already entered onto a calendar

  • develop metacognition about the relationship of time and their birthday

  • provide peer-to-peer feedback using ethical understanding and behaviours

  • able to reflect and evaluate on themselves as a learner, being able to plan to enact change in future related activities to foster deeper learning

  • respect and support each other, offering assistance with ethical understanding

  • increase their sense of self-worth and well-being through active participation

  • able to work effectively and collaborate well in group work

Learners prior knowledge and experiences

The learner's prior knowledge, learning and experience is:
  • Students will recognise that each person has a different birthday date
  • Attained foundation level in numeracy and literacy in AusVELS ie can count up to five hundred
  • Know how many months are in a year, how many days in a year and days in a week
  • Understand the definition of a calendar and their purpose

Each learner's knowledge and experience will be applied in this lesson by:
  • scaffolding their prior knowledge and experiences using authentic experiences and practices in order to deepen each learners' knowledge, skills and behaviours by creating a classroom birthday calender to use for learning about time and the learner's relationship to it
  • facilitate their metacognition by creating a calendar to effectively communicate and reflect on their experiences of birthdays and identify with their peers
  • studying coherent, meaningful and purposeful mathematics that is relevant to their lives. Learners will use active experiences that allow them to construct key mathematical ideas, using models, pictures and symbols to represent these ideas.
  • have the opportunity to access mathematical ideas by developing a sense of number, order, sequence and pattern; by understanding quantities and their representations; by learning about attributes of objects and collections, position, movement and direction, and by developing an awareness of the collection, presentation and variation of data and a capacity to make predictions about chance events

The learning environment

The people who will be involved in the lesson are:
  • Teacher and teach teacher(s)
  • class members
  • parent(s) to assist

The layout and design of the learning environment is:

  • set out the room for a game of 'pass the parcel' and create a birthday party theme ie party hats and streamers

  • ITC resources: internet connection, ipads, smartphones, whiteboard

  • paper, pens, pencils, crayons, textas, large project paper 22X34inches 1-2 per person, rulers, erasers, glue,

Lesson resources, OH&S, administration and people to facilitate learning

The resources required for the lesson are:

  • examples of calendars soft and hard copy (minimum of 8)

  • music playing ipod, speakers

  • whiteboard

  • writing and drawing materials; pencils, crayons, textas, rulers, erasers, staplers

  • craft materials to design calendar; stickers, cut out pictures and images, glue, glitter etc

  • learners worksheet checklist

  • learner's self assessment rubric

  • project paper two pieces per learner 22x34mm approx

  • pictures and videos for visual representation of calendar available online (optional)

  • internet, PC, laptops, notebooks, tablets, smartphone (for showing online calendars and playing music)

  • display area for the finished calendar and materials for hanging or displaying the calendar

  • template for teaching assessment rubric and critical reflection

OH&S, compliance and administration actions are:

  • safety in using scissors and glue

The actions to prepare the learning environment are:

  • arrange for music relating to birthdays. Complete a compilation of fun and motivating happy birthday songs

  • collect a range of different calendars hard and soft copies for 'research' (8+ can be shared in pairs). Can be sourced from newsagents, chemists, real estate agents etc

  • create a Birthday calendar worksheet checklist for learners which helps them to identify the features of creating a calendar

  • create a calendar checklist of features

  • obtain materials for decorating the birthday theme in the classroom (refer above)

  • make a pass the parcel with a calendar as the surprise gift

  • complete a teachers rubric assessment and critical reflection template

  • material for making the classroom calendar: large poster paper 22x34 in approx, 1 meter of ribbon or heavy duty string, pencils, crayons, textas, stickers, pictures to cut out and paste, scissors, glue, rulers, stapler and area to hang completed calendar

  • materials to enable personalised learning to include in portfolio for progress of project ie photos, film (use ITC for this)

  • template for learners self assessment rubric

  • create wheel diagram for modelling in activities on the white board (optional to provide a worksheet for each learner to complete
  • make a copy of the birthday reading for each class member, if using as a lesson extension, or one copy for a whole class reading to start activity 1

Lesson introduction and motivation Total time 5-10 minutes: Whole class

The lesson transition, tone and motivation for learning is:
  • Play a range of hip and fun 'Happy Birthday' music and play 'pass the parcel' using the music.
  • Inside the parcel is a calendar or calendar in the parcel
  • Can play this outside or in an open hall
  • At the end of the game discuss what had occurred and what the item in the parcel is
  • Ask students what they heard, felt, saw, understood... from the activity.
  • Write up their responses on a whiteboard in a wheel shape with the word 'calendar' in the middle and their responsse around it
  • Scaffold for the relationship between birthdays and calendars. Can everyone think what there birthday date is. How do you know when your birthday is? How do you know when its your parents, siblings, friends birthdays, how do you celebrate your birthday, do you count down the months, days to your birthday, what happens ever year on your birthday, what changes with your age...
  • Ask guiding questions relating to numeracy, why a calendar may be used (refer to guiding questions below)
  • Explain the lesson objectives and assessment practices, observe for understanding and motivation

The history of birthdays: for class reading to start activity 1 or for lesson extension

Celebrating birthdays is an old custom. Ancient people did not know the exact day of their birth, yet measured time by using the moon and the seasons. As humans began to learn more about the earth's natural time gage, calendars were developed. Calendars made it easy for people to keep track of and celebrate important events each year. Birthdays were some of the special events that people noted on their calendars.

Many of the symbols that we associate with birthdays had their roots hundreds of years ago. There are a few explanations as to why we have birthday cakes. Some say it is because the Greeks used to take cakes to the temple of the goddess of the moon, Artemis. They took her round cakes to represent the full moon. Another view is that the tradition of the birthday cake started in Germany. A bread was made in the shape of the baby Jesus's swaddling clothes. Geburtstagorten is another type of German cake that was said to have been used for birthdays. It was a layered cake that was much sweeter than the bread type cake.

Another symbol that is closely tied to the birthday cake is the custom of putting candles on the cake. The Greek people who took their cakes to Artemis placed candles on the cake because it made the cake look as if it was glowing like the moon (Gibbons, 1986). The Germans were known as good candle makers and started to make small candles for their cakes. Some people say that the candles were put on for religious reasons. Some Germans place a big candle in the center of the cake to symbolize the "light of life" (Corwin, 1986). Others believed that the smoke from fires would take their wishes up to heaven. Today many people make silent wishes as they blow out their candles. They believe that blowing out all the candles in one breath will bring good luck.

A gathering or party is usually held so that the birthday person can have their cake and blow out the candles. The very earliest parties were held because people thought that evil spirits would visit them on their birthdays. They stuck close to their friends and family so that the evil spirits would not bother them. Later on parties were gatherings where friends and family members would give gifts or flowers to the person having the birthday. Today lots of birthday parties are for fun. If people cannot visit someone on their birthday they often send them a birthday card. The tradition of sending birthday cards was started in England about 100 years ago (Motomora, 1989).

Many birthday traditions deal with luck. A good luck birthstone, good luck flower, and a good luck colour have been assigned to each month of the year. Birthday presents dealing with these good luck symbols are often given as gifts (see Appendix).

The common birthday symbols have been taken from numerous countries. Yet, each country still has custom and traditions unique to themselves. Some countries have uncommon customs that are very different from the current American view of birthdays. Many birthday celebrations are centered around religious ceremonies or themes. Each country, people, and region have their own set of customs. The following are examples of only a few types of celebrations.

Japanese children use to all celebrate their birthdays on January first. An individual would celebrate their birthday on January first if there birthday was February 19th, October 31st, or any other day of the year. Today most Japanese children celebrate their birthdays on their true birthdays.

In Korea one of the most important birthdays is a child's first birthday. The children are dressed in special clothes and are taken in front of a large gathering of friends and family members. There is a big feast and the guests leave money for the new one-year old child. The child's future is told by the items the birthday child picks up.

Hindu children only celebrate their birthdays until they are 16 years old. Their birthday is very religious. They take flowers to the temple and the child receives a blessing from a priest. The birthday child does not even have to go to school on their birthday.

Many of the common birthday symbols come from Germany. The children in Germany have birthday cakes, parties, and blow out candles. However children may celebrate their birthdays differently depending upon which part of Germany they live in. The parties in south Germany are usually quiet celebrations where the child is the center of attention for the day.

In many countries children are named after saints. In these countries the birthday celebration usually comes on the name day, the feast of the child's patron saint (Price,1969). On this special day the focus should first be on the saint and then on the child. Some children get to celebrate on name day and on their own birthday.

Children in Mexico have birthday customs that have been around for centuries. Most birthday parties in Mexico include a pinata. A pinata is a large paper-mache object that is shaped like something appealing and covered with colorful paper. The pinata is filled with candy and treats. Pinatas are often shaped like animals or stars. The pinata is hung by a rope and blindfolded children take turns hitting the pinata with a stick. When they break the pinata all the goodies come out. This tradition is over 300 years old.

Many more birthday traditions can be found all over the world. The way people celebrate their birthday is often a combination of old and new traditions. Everyone has a birthday and it is a special day for them. (http://teacherlink.ed.usu.edu/tlresources/units/byrnes-celebrations/bday.html)

Lesson map: Total time: 35-40mins

Activity 1 Time: 10 minutes How: groups and Individual

  • In the classroom seat everyone in groups of four and place a few calendars in the centre of their tables, can also use ITC and online versions ie smartphone and tablet

  • Ask learners to look at the calendars and see if they can find their birthday date and show each other where it is. Ask them to write their name on the date of the calendar. When they have finished ask them to swap their calendars with another group of learners, at another table. Each person from the group is to tell one other person of the other group their birthday date. Every person then looks up the other person's birthday on the calendar given to them (nb this activity can be done in pairs if not enough calendars). Once each person has found the other's birthday date they are handed a worksheet checklist for a whole class discussion about the features of the calendar (can use ITC for this also)

  • Using a worksheet checklist discuss the features of a calendar: ie they have pictures, have numbers, have pages, have space to write in have letters, have a hole to hand them and have twelve months etc. Model this on the whiteboard using the wheel diagram

  • each person is to write their birthday on their worksheet checklist and cross reference the checklist to their calendars (may need to explain cross referencing)

Activity 2: Time 15 minutes: How: In pairs

  • Creating the a classroom calendar for the current year

  • In pairs: each pair will complete a month for the class calendar

  • using a blank large poster paper they will use a worksheet checklist, sample calendars and wheel on board to design and number their month of the year

  • use stickers, drawings, cut outs to design their calender (use their imagination)

  • each pair can draw their month of the year out of a 'hat'

  • use calendar resources and worksheet to determine the features of their month ie how many days in that month, how to lay out and use the ruler to set out the days and lthe weeks, enable space for writing important dates.

Activity 3:The activity as a class. Time 10 mins

Merging the class calendar

  • have each pair stand in month order with their pages and take a class photo

  • lay each month out and enable each person to creatively write their name on their birthday date

  • As a class review the twelve months and using peer-to-peer feedback, the worksheet checklist or wheel on the board, and guiding questions to facilitate learning, check that the calendar is completed by each pair according to the checklist standards.

  • Each person completes their self assessment rubric to identify that each month includes the correct number of days, names of days and other identified features of a calendar

  • place all the pages of the calendar together and complete a cover page (this can be completed by either learners who finish early or those needing learning adjustments)

  • Use guiding questions and have learners actively use the calender to answer them:

    • which months have 30 days

    • how many months are there from April to December

    • how many Tuesdays are in February and March

    • what will be the date two week from today

    • what date and day is Halloween this year

Teaching strategies are:

  • collaboration in pair and whole class, relating learning to real world and personalising learning by using calendars.

  • Motivation strategies are: self-regulated learning in numeracy and literacy using guiding questions to enable metacognition through creating a calendar

  • Issues to consider are: variances in learning experiences

  • Strategies to facilitate on-task learning and behaviour: Activities which use game activity, group reading and research tasks, pair work, creative design.

  • Personalise learning by students exploring their birthdays on a calendar. Designing a calendar using their own creativity

  • As a class or in groups, learners recognise their responsibilities for managing their learning, such as staying focused and on task.

  • Through participation in a pair and whole-class activities, learners begin to articulate the advantages of learning effectively with, and from, their peers. They seek feedback from peers and consider the validity of the feedback they receive. They identify the values that underpin the creation of a classroom environment that will support the learning of all students such as respect, equity and inclusion.

  • Thinking processes to increase their repertoire of thinking strategies for gathering and processing information. These include using models of calendars. They begin to consider which strategies may be most appropriate for particular learning contexts. They increasingly focus on tasks that require flexible thinking for decision making, synthesis and creativity.

  • They learn to make links between ideas and use self assessment rubrics to reflect on how their ideas and beliefs change over time. In structured activities, they practise transferring their knowledge to new contexts..

Differences in literacy and numeracy abilities.

  • Behaviour issues, some learners may have differences in their ability to understand or connect with using a calendar to understand time and its relationship with numeracy.
  • Establish pairs and groups which can mentor.
  • Using games and calendars to help connect with understanding concepts of time in relation to themselves

  • Observation
  • Guiding questions to deepen learning on the task
  • Peer-to-peer feedback
  • Pair learners to foster mentoring
  • Ongoing feedback which related to task objectives
  • Use self assessment process which is explained at the beginning of the lesson to facilitate metacognition using a range of learning activities to cater for differences in learning experiences

Teacher to also write their birthday to model with the class

Enable all learners to make a contribution:

  1. provide recapitulations and summaries;

  2. make observations that integrate concepts and discussions;

  3. cite relevant personal examples;

  4. ask key questions that lead to revealing discussions;

  5. engage in devil's advocacy; and

  6. disagree with the instructor in ways that promote further exploration of the issue

Apply questions engage learning by exploring when reading a poem and writing a poem:

  1. Why does something happen?

  2. How can we apply this knowledge in a practical way?

  3. How can we describe what is happening succinctly?

  • What happens to you when you hear this music?

  • Do you think there is a focus to this game? Why

  • Does the calendar help you in any way? How?

  • Does the calendar contain a sequential progression of ideas?

  • Does the calendar follow a specific form or structure?

  • Peer-to-peer feedback question: Does the completed month contain all the features of a calendar why or why not?

  • What specific details and images are in the calendar? Is there a theme?

  • What do you imagine when you hear the word calendar?

  • Who uses a calendar and why do you think they would use this

  • What others things can you write in a calendar aside from birthday dates

  • Can you think of an alternative way to record your birthday date...

  • Can you use it in a different context

  • Can you think of another way...

  • why do you think...

  • does this fit in with a pattern...

  • where else can you see...

  • create your own version of...

  • what are the main features of...

  • what do you think of...

  • which is the most effective and why

  • do you think this works well and why

  • what are the strongest and weakest aspects of...

Ask questions to facilitate thinking about the topic and will allow them to make the next step in the learning process and foster self-directed learning, ie how am I going? Where to next? Where am I going? (Sadler 1989).

For those with learning adjustments:

  • Pair with a mentor peer
  • Apply observation
  • Assign creating a cover page for the class calendar
  • Assign photos or video recording
  • Use guiding questions and feedback to determine where they are in relation to the objectives and facilitate their scaffolding to determine their personal learning needs

Lesson extensions: Learners can choose:

  • Read the 'Birthday calendar background' (refer above). Get these students to read and highlight key points in the reading.
  • Create a cover page for the class calendar
  • Provide feedback to another's page using the checklist worksheet of the lesson objectives.
  • Take photos of the class room activities for the classroom portfolios

  • Ask guiding questions about their favourite times of the year and write this on the whiteboard, ie cup day, football season, school holidays, cultural holiday. Can these also go on the calendar? Why or why not. As a class decide what they would like to include on the calendar and make a list to be included for a future lesson.

Assessment and feedback

Assessment actions in relation to each objective are:

Formative assessment

  • Observation

  • responses to guiding questions

  • self assessment rubric

  • teachers assessment rubric and critical reflection template

  • learner worksheet checklist responses

Feedback initiatives for learning and well-being are:

  • Individual feedback to each student about their completed self assessment rubric. Ensure feedback is based on the content and skills demonstrated and not directed to the person's self worth. It is objective and focuses on their ability to understand how the feedback relates to the objectives and what they need to focus on in relation to these. Provide individual feedback one-to-one for each learner at the end of the lesson

  • Ensure feedback occurs immediately and continuously

  • Feedback is given within responses to guided questions

  • Continuous feedback which is specific to the learning objectives, positive in focus and enhances learner's well-being

  • Give feedback which enhances task involvement over ego involvement. This will focus students’ attention on the importance of effort and support their well-being. Feedback that focuses on what needs to be done to encourage all to believe that they can improve. This feedback can enhance learning, both directly through the effort that can ensue and indirectly by supporting the motivation to invest such effort (Black 2004)

Assessment recording practices for learners portfolio and teacher file:

  • Keep and file for each learner and record their process of learning using enclosed templates, including teacher and learner assessment rubrics

  • Complete critical reflection and evaluation about each learner's learning process and the learning environment using the reflective template (refer to attached template)

  • Hang calendar for all to refer to and use to scaffold numeracy using worksheets with the calendar

Assessment recording practices for learners portfolio and teacher file:
  • Assessment is recorded in a assessment student file for each learner.

  • Individual feedback to each student about their assessment rubric to record the outcome

  • Feedback is given within responses to guided questions

  • Continuous feedback which is specific to the learning objectives, positive in focus and enhances learner's well-being

Lesson conclusion Time 5-10mins

Drawing ideas and objectives together:

  • Review connection between calendar and birthdays focussing on lesson objectives

  • enable time for learners to ask questions to ensure learning objectives achieved, ie What were the challenges and knowledge created in this activity;

What new questions or ideas does each learner have

  • enable learners to complete a self assessment rubric about their learning in this activity

Follow-up actions based on status of learners ie time runs out:

  • complete the calendar in the next related lesson

  • learners are to go home and ask the birthday of their family members and see if they have a calendar at home to locate them

Reflection time for learners

Each learner to complete on their rubric (refer to attached template) which focuses on:

  • How did the use of scaffolding help you with your calendar
  • How did collaboration help you create an effective calendar
  • What kinds of things did you negotiate with your partners
  • What did you find challenging where do you think you could use this kind of activity again?

Critical reflection and evaluation of lesson

Complete a critical reflection template (refer to attached template) which relates to the lesson objectives:

Reflect and evaluate on the following areas:

  • How was learning achieved

  • What were the factors contributing to learning and distracting learning

  • What changes to learning are considered

  • Teaching CDP requirements

  • Learner observations

  • Improvements and future plans and actions

  • What aspects of the lesson and activities worked most effectively?

  • What aspects of the lesson and activities could be improved and how could they be improved?

Learner and lesson future actions and activities

What are the follow ups from this lesson

  • Ensure each person completed their worksheets and self assessment rubric

  • Ensure each person has had individual feedback

  • complete critical reflections

  • amend lesson plan accordingly

  • record assessment details

What are the learner follow ups to this lesson:

  • Each learner includes their self assessment in their personal learning portfolio

  • answer any questions that may have arisen during feedback and in rubrics

How can they deepen learning and experience in the future:

  • Ask how they can use a calendar to help them in their everyday life? Suggest that they could; share in and or help their family or friends by writing dates of special events in a home, family or personal calendar. If they don't have one suggest creating one

  • A related lesson is to understand the seasons of the year using the calendar to record when they start and finish. Include features of seasons and use practical learning to measure and record temperatures.

  • Progress includes an increase in awareness of time in society and themselves. The interrelationship between numeracy and everyday life experiences. Widening their perspective about different ways that numeracy is used and applied.

Birthday Worksheet Checklist

Our birthday calendar


My birthday date is:

A calendar has:

attached doc

Learner Self Assessment Rubric

attached doc

Teacher Assessment Rubric

attached doc

Teaching reflection and evaluation template

Teaching Critical Reflection Form

By: Date:

Lesson details:


Reflection details:

What went well in this lesson and why?

What problems did I experience and why?

Was it learner-centric and personalised? Why and or why not?

What could I have done differently?

What did I learn from this experience that will help me in the future?

Was I well prepared and used adequate research? What could I do differently in this area.

What CPD do I need in relation to this area?

Where students motivated? Learn within their zones of proximal development? Why and or why not?

Did I use effective and appropriate feedback

Did I enhance learner's well-being.

Were there behaviours that I need to improve for me and my learners?

Lesson planning: was this effective, why or why not ?

Presentation and execution:were all students involved, was I clear, use of materials and resource, pacing of learning, enabled learners time to question and answer?

Assessment: does the method of assessment measure the lesson aims and objectives, why or why not? How did the assessment demonstrate this? What should I change for future lessons?

Lesson prepared by Lisa Fazio

Dated 2013