Jason Ovitz
Calendar Art
Arts Methods

Art/Math Lesson

Grade Level: 1-2 Duration: 40 min.


This is an integrated visual arts lesson in which the students will assemble and decorate a calendar. This is a lesson to be used at the beginning of each month to make a calendar for the month. Math concepts for this lesson will consist of each student writing numbers on the calendar and possible manipulation of these numbers for older students in first or second grade in addition and subtraction equations. This lesson allows the students to make a calendar that they can take home, hang on their wall and be proud of.


Throughout our lives, minutes turn to hours, hours turn to days, days turn to weeks, weeks turn to months and months turn to years. Making a calendar at the beginning of each month helps the students appreciate the pattern of days in weeks and months. The students also can come away with an appreciation of special days such as holidays and birthdays. Using visual art to decorate the calendar allows the students to appreciate the aesthetics of creating an art piece and using perspective in putting the artwork together. This lesson will also allow the students to make visual connections to colors in the seasons of time.

It is important for the students to use math skills in this lesson because it will improve their one-to-one correspondence and number recognition skills along with working on counting skills up to the number 30.


Creative Expression: Each student will design a calendar picture that symbolizes the month based on ideas brain stormed by the class and materials provided by the teacher.

Aesthetic Valuing: After finishing the project, the students will write in their art folders about what they might change or do differently next time.

Math: The students will be able to practice writing the numbers 1 through 30 by writing them into the calendar boxes in order to complete the calendar portion of the activity. For older students the teacher will make equations from the numbers in relation to where the class is in their math curriculum.


We will use direct instruction by the teacher and guided discovery by the students to complete this lesson.

Day- the time between sunset and sunrise
Week- the period of seven successive days
Weekend- the period of the week between Friday night and Monday morning, Saturday and Sunday
Month- a period of four weeks or twenty-eight, thirty or thirty-one days, depending on the month
Contrast- to compare and show differences or opposite qualities
Shapes- a specific form or figure


1. Start the lesson by asking the students if they are aware of the new month, ask them what month it is. Allow them to discuss this and other thoughts about the month. Some ideas to throw out for them are any holidays or special days, or if they know they will be going somewhere, or someone is coming to visit with them, etc.

2. Bring them back and tell them about the activity for the day, that they are going to be making a calendar for the month that just started.

3. Hand out a calendar grid to each student. Some or none of the numbers could be written the spaces.

** An extension for older or more advanced students could be to leave all of the numbers out. Also, as the numbers are written in, the teacher can make addition or subtraction equations depending on where they are in math for the students to write down and do as they perform the next steps. (Suggested for second graders.)

4. Put the grid on an overhead or tape a copy of it to the blackboard.

5. Start at day 1, discuss with the students what day of the week it is on. (e.g. Monday, Tuesday, etc.)

6. Continue filling in the calendar days by calling on students to come up and write the next number in and explaining to the class what day of the week it is on. While this is done, the rest of the class also writes the numbers in the spaces on their calendars (**and does the arithmetic problem the teacher writes on the board based on the numbers written already).

7. When the students get to Saturday and Sunday, clarify for the class the meaning of weekends. (There are two days off, this might be a good time for a trip, parties, etc.

8. Next, when all of the days have been filled in, go through the month as a whole class and with crayons, instruct the students to color in special days with whatever color they want. Also, ask if there are any birthdays in the month (know this already!) and instruct the students to color the birthdays with the color that the particular student wants.

9.**If the students finish writing the numbers in before the rest of the class, they can color the rest of the calendar such as the border, other days, etc.


1. Obtain 12" by 18" sheets of construction paper in colors appropriate for the month or season. Could also just use one color. This paper will be used as the background for the calendar grid and for the decorations.

2. As the students finish the calendar grid, allow them to pick a piece of construction paper off of a back table to fold in half.

3. When all of the students have colored paper, ask the class to brainstorm ideas on how to decorate the top part of the paper based on events, holidays or themes for that month (e.g.- September is the beginning of school- they could do buses, November- Thanksgiving, December- Christmas, January- Super Bowl or snow and rain, April- flowers, etc.)

4. Instruct the class to decorate the top part of the construction paper using material that has been cut-out, crayons, pens, other colored paper, or other materials. Point out the effect contrasting colors have on the project.

5. Provide the students with materials to cut-out and color such as turkeys for November, or pumpkins for October.

6. **For younger first grade students, provide more materials for them to cut out and place where they would like on the construction paper. To promote more individual artistic impressions, as the students become more mature, provide less and less pre-made materials.

7. **Also with younger students the teacher should be the one to glue objects and the calendar onto the construction paper where the students place them. As they get more mature, they could glue by themselves, but the teacher should at least glue the calendar onto the lower section of the construction paper. This will prevent messy clean-ups of glue.

8. While the glue is drying, the students are to go back to their desks with their finished piece and critically analyze it by writing in their art journals about what they like and do not like about their project. Remind them to focus on their use of contrasting color and shapes.



After all projects have been glued, or as the last few students are just finishing up, and while they finish their written critiques, allow the students to discuss with their neighbors their reflections on the process. What they liked and did not like. Also have them discuss what they wrote in their art journals. After a few minutes, call on a few students to share with the class their thoughts and ideas on the project.


All students will pick-up any scraps of paper around their desks and put away crayons, pencils, pens, etc. in appropriate areas.


This will occur when each student shares his or her thoughts (see closure) in what they have written in their art journals. Evaluation of the visual art and math portion will occur by the teacher examining each calendar for correct number writing and sequencing and for calendar images that symbolize each month.

MATERIALS: Preparation:

• Photocopy calendar grids with some or no numbers already written in, make an overhead if desired.

• Copy any figures or decorations that might be useful for the students to use.

• Obtain construction paper in a color or colors appropriate for the given month.

• Assure that each student has adequate crayons and other coloring utensils.