How to teach the months of the year in English to kids?

Abstract

What students need to know about the months

As preschoolers become more cognizant of the world around them, they can begin to get a basic understanding of time and how it passes. The months of the year, while somewhat hard to get their head around in terms of time, are approximately easy to memorize because there are only 12 of them.

Through a variety of songs, activities, and simple memorization, the months of the year can be taught to preschoolers. As the year goes on, and the months are accentuated, the preschooler will begin to better discern how they work and how everything falls into place

Common problems of students with months

Most of the problems related to the months for students are shared with the native English-speaking young, namely:

1. The entire list should be reviewed from January onwards to remember which month they are talking about

2. Mixing of similar-sounding months (especially « June » and « July » plus maybe « January » and sometimes « August » and « October »)

3. Forgetting capital letters when writing months

There may also be months of the year in English in L1 that seem similar to different English months to confuse English learners, and even when the months are based on similar names of the Roman gods, etc., the pronunciation, including the word stress, can be very different.

Many English learners learn the names of the months mainly in writing, so they can copy the spelling when pronouncing and saying sentences like « aepril » (like « apple » instead of « eipril » for « April »). There are also difficult sounds for some learners such as schwa, « dj » in « July » and « v » in « November ».

Common pronunciation problems for each month are:

1. « yanuary » for « January »

2. « Fevruary » for « February »

3. « Merch » for « March »

4. « aepril » for « April »

5. « yoon » or « jun » (short vowel) for « June »

6. « Julie » or « yuly » for « July »

7. « Owgust » (like « now ») or « Augast » for « August »

8. « Nobember » for « November »

9. « Dekember » for « December »

Some young learners may also learn months of the year in English in L1, meaning that the concept takes a long time to become natural. Usually, context-free over-practicing of the month’s words often means that students know the order, spelling, etc. of the words perfectly, but cannot really relate them to the months of the year in English, next month, Christmas month, and so on in real communication.

How to present the months of the year in English?

modern style 2022 new year template design

The most important thing is to make sure that students can relate the months of the year in English to their real life. So, probably the best start is to take an English calendar to class, ask students to find the current month on the calendar (by counting pages from the front, looking at photos, searching for public holidays, etc.), then name it if they can. The student can then go back to the beginning of the calendar and learn and practice from « January ».

Like native speakers, the natural next step seems to be learning months of the year in English, perhaps with games, songs, and/or books. Once they know the whole months, the teacher should continue to test them as randomly as he/she can so that they do not become too dependent on listing the months each time.

With some of the following games, the teacher can also have intermediate steps such as reading the months backward and reading each month in between (February, April, etc.), although if it confuses the students more, he/she should leave it immediately.

How to practice months of the year in English

How to practice months

Students are usually very happy to read the months of the year in English in order. This can be more fun and memorable with one type of song (months of the year in English), which means the teacher can repeat the song later to help them remember the months of the year in English.

There are many good songs for teaching months in English. The next step is probably to practice from different points e.g. continue from December if the last stopped in November.

Some activities mean the teacher can drill backward the months of the year in English from December. Instead, the next step should be for the students to shout next month, for example, « October ».  if they hear or see « September ». They should then be prepared to shout the proper name of the months of the year in English from other prompts such as pictures, numbers, seasonal notes such as « cherry blossoms » and calculations such as « two months before July ».

Games to practice months of the year in English

Months ball

The easiest way to make practicing months of the year in English more fun is to have students throw a ball for each month and to catch the ball as they say the months of the year in English. This can be done in pairs or in groups, in which case students can go from the practicing months of the year in English to test each other in the next month (« June », « July », « February », « March », etc.) as a type of month tennis.

The teacher can also ask a student to throw the ball up and down as he or she says the months of the year in English, and see how far he or she can go without dropping the ball or making mistakes with the months of the year in English. A student can also throw and catch the ball silently, stop and see if other students can tell which month they stopped on (count one month for each catch, going back to January from 13 catches).

Stacking Months Games

Stacking months of the year in English is normal for this point, as twelve is a great number for stacking blocks to the ceiling (although students can go back to January and therefore go through 12 blocks if they can stack them enough). Like ball games (months of the year in English), students can take turns practicing months of the year in English in sequence. One can stack them as high as one can, or one can stack and test other people for one month (months of the year in English) the last block shows.

The third case is probably very easy and time-consuming that cannot be spent much time on it, but it leads well to the version of the calculation game, in which a student adds or subtract one or more blocks (months of the year in English) and other students try to shout out which month the current top block indicates (for example, « August » if there are now eight blocks).

Flashcards of the month

Flashcards can be made with full names of months of the year in English, short names (« August » etc.), even shorter text notes (« S » for « September », etc.), and/or numbers (« 6 »). For « June », etc.) on them. The teacher may also be able to make picture flashcards of months of the year in English, but the images that students can match each month (months of the year in English) are very specific. Here are some suggestions, but he/she should change all or most of them for the students:

Especially if the teacher has mixed nationality classes, he/she can always ask students to build their own set of flashcards (months of the year in English) to use later in their activities. On the other hand, if the teacher has used a calendar to extract and practice for months of the year in English, he/she can use the images of the same calendar as clues for practicing months of the year in English, and games.

Whatever set of flashcards the teacher chooses or makes, she/he can do almost any flashcard activity with them, for example:

1. Slowly unfold the card and see who can shout the right month

2. Briefly flash up the card and see who can shout the right month

3. Hold a card so that students cannot see it, and guide until someone guesses what it is

4. Mixing up the months and seeing if students can rearrange them (preferably with short or long notices, and obviously not with cards with numbers), may start with just a few months and end with a mix of twelve.

Months memory games

The teacher can also use the months of the year in English topic to review or introduce vocabulary from almost any other set of words and/or picture flashcards (months of the year in English). It is good if these items are naturally relevant to the topic and the questions they can ask each other.

For example, if the teacher has cards with different animals and flowers or festivals on them, that finely matches with « When can you see…? »  and « Is … in August? ».

Place the cards on a line 12-card. Practice the names of the cards and the 12 months of the year in English that they indicate, then turn the cards upside down. Then ask the teacher or student in the class questions like « When do you ski? », « What do you do in April? »

TPR game month  

Students do something while chanting or singing months of the year in English, then perhaps doing the same thing backward and then in random order. If the teacher has enough space and students enjoy moving around, it is best to do this with 12 steps along the classroom floor as they shout the months of the year in English.

Then maybe after doing it backward or taking double steps as they shout alternate months of the year in English, they can compete to stand in (roughly) the exact place as someone chants random months of the year in English like “July” (which will be slightly past the middle of the room).

If the teacher does not want to get students up and walk, they can do the same on their desk, with the index finger and middle finger of one hand showing their legs. They can also try to do it going upwards, just by moving one hand up and down, raising and lowering their whole body, or by stacking their hands like the « one potato, two potatoes » game/song.

Months of silent drilling

In addition to helping the student memorize words, this activity is also great for knowing how to pronounce words. The teacher or student utters the names of the months and the class competes to shout out what is being said in silence (months of the year in English).

It is probably best to start doing so from January and have students only shout the last month (months of the year in English), for example silently saying « January, February, March, April » in silence, and the class just shouts « April » when the teacher stops.

The teacher can then do the same for other months, for example saying « May June august » and the students do it just from the shape of the teacher’s mouth and compete to shout « July ». Students should then be prepared to guess the singles months of the year in English from the shape of their mouths (months of the year in English).

Songs to practice months of the year in English

Chants and songs of the months of the year in English are available for free for most of the months of the year in English, some of which are displayed on-screen with animation and/or lyrics. In general, there is a choice between quite boring songs that have simple lyrics (often just the names of the months in order) and more interesting songs that have other words that the students may not understand.

In addition to singing along to the song (months of the year in English), she/he can whisper or say the song silently to see if students can see which month he/she is stopping at, and/or use the song as an accompaniment to the TPR games (months of the year in English) above.

Names of months of the year in English Stories/picture books

There are also at least 10 books for the months (months of the year in English) of the year, reading material, online reviews, etc, including:

1. Twelve Hats for Lena by Karen Katz

2. How can I say that today, Jess Beer?

3. Turning the year by Bill Martin Jr.

4. Lighting our world, a year of celebration by Catherine Rondina

5. Chicken Soup with Rice by Maurice Sendak

6. Busy year by Leo Leoni

7. January rides the Wind, a months book

8. Around the Year by Elsa Beskow

There are also many books on festivals and celebrations that may be appropriate for this topic. Ways to simplify them are to ignore the text and use pictures and perhaps highlighted words to extract the months of the year in English and read the text, but only attract students to join them when the teacher gets to the words of the real months (months of the year in English).

Dominoes of the Months

The fact that the months (months of the year in English) are often written in the shorter form (« Jan », « Feb », etc.) immediately makes us think of dominoes as a way to teach months in English (months of the year in English). Make cards like dominoes (months of the year in English) with the beginning of a word on the right half and the end of the previous word on the left half of each card e.g. one card « -ruary/mar » and on the next card « ch / Apr ».

Note that the traditional word splitting method means that some cards do not have just one match,e.g. “ember” going with both “Nov” and “Dec”. This is not important too much if the teacher tells students that the ended circle of dominoes (months of the year in English) has to be in the usual months (months of the year in English) order, but it is possible to make various splits to make only one match for each and/ or to make the activity more difficult.

After working together to arrange all the dominoes (months of the year in English), students can play a real game of dominoes (months of the year in English) (perhaps with two sets of cards mixed together). As soon as possible, test each other on the spelling of the two halves of the cards (« Nov », « E, M, B, E, R », etc.) or cut the cards in half to make a jigsaw (months of the year in English).

Months Jigsaw

Another good way to use the abbreviations of the names of the months and their ending is a jigsaw, perhaps by dividing the words of the month into three parts (« Ja + nu + ary », etc.) if the teacher’s focus is on teaching spelling. To make this easier and more like a real jigsaw, the teacher can hold some parts together when cutting.

Conclusion

Teaching the months of the year in English to kids is a very important issue that must be conducted very carefully and precisely because learning the months of the year in English gives kids a very organized attitude toward time and planning. There are many different ways to make the process of teaching months of the year in English attractive and interesting to kids such as stories, games, flashcards, and other methods that were mentioned in this article.

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