Calendars as Social Context


Calendars can provide an abundance of opportunities for social interaction. When we stop to reflect on the conversations we have throughout our day, it’s interesting to think about how many of them are related to something that happened in the past – Maybe you are relating what happened today at work to your spouse. Or, maybe we are talking to a co-worker about a meeting that’s scheduled next week, and how we’re going to prepare for it. It’s hard to imagine what our social world would look like if we took our concepts of time, and the events associated with time, out of it.

In addition to opportunities for social interaction, calendars can serve many functions with regards to the development and acquisition of new language. A calendar can help in understanding the concepts of time, and provide structure to those concepts, as well as giving us a static form of communication that can be referred to beyond the context of the current moment.

Using the calendar as a time for conversations:

    • Again, the calendar should be thought of as a vehicle for previewing and reviewing the activities and events of the day.
    • Have a time to preview the calendar first thing in the morning, and a time to review the calendar before going home at the end of the day.
    • Don’t be afraid to allow plenty of time for your calendar conversation. Your student will start to understand that this is a time for acquiring more information.

Calendars support social conversations:

    • Gives student something to anticipate (a reason to look outside the body).
    • Gives student access to the instructor for an extended length of time, and increases positive attention getting strategies.
    • Provides students with immediate feedback in their efforts to communicate.
    • Give students an opportunity to practice conversation skills: calendar conversations should be scheduled daily.
A parent and child at bowling night
A parent and child at bowling night

Calendars between home and school: keeping it consistent:

    • Good communication between home and school will be very important in order to facilitate consistency. The goal should be to keep the calendar systems, signed words, vocalizations, and symbols consistent between home and school. You don’t have to use the EXACT same calendar, but it should be the same format (i.e. object symbols at school = object symbols at home).
    • Use the “Calendar key” example to align signed words, vocalizations, and symbols. If there are additions, or changes, make sure it is communicated among the team.

Calendar Key

Download the Calendar Key Template Microsoft Word document.

Video Example: Using the Calendar as Social Context

A daily calendar example that led to a trip to the drum store with TVI Matt Schultz and others.