Naomi Epstein

Homemade Materials Issue – Naomi

Naomi Epstein

New Uses For Old Calendars  – Naomi Epstein


Many teachers around the world have recently replaced their classroom calendar with a new one for the New Year. Seeing a calendar hanging in a classroom is a common sight. Calendars are useful, every teacher knows that!


However, calendars have a hidden quality – they continue to be useful, particularly for an EFL teacher, well after the calendar-year has ended.  So, make sure to ask everyone you know to save their old calendars for you, because once you begin using old ones, you can never have too many!

Here are a few things you can do with old calendars. Even better, try the following suggestions with your students. While some lines may end up crooked and the lettering of the signs not uniform, involving the students is greatly beneficial.

1)     Liven it up!

Decorating the classroom with pictures cut from old calendars is a great way to begin. Liven up unattractive surfaces such as old doors:

or ugly binders:

2) Visualise Prepositions!

Calendars tend to portray –

* pictures of places (in, at, on)

* pictures related to the weather (seasons – “in”),

* pictures of sunsets and nighttime shots (“at night” “in the evening”, etc.)

* names of months (in) and days of the week (on)


(our classroom cupboards)


3) Utilize the Paper!

* Many calendars are made of good quality paper. Some are made of thicker paper, resembling (to varying degrees) construction paper. The parts of the calendar that have been written on, crossed out and marked, make an excellent backing for pages/worksheets (paste them on!) that need to be laminated or hung on the wall.

* Students often prefer to create their own personal set of flashcards. Many schools limit the amount of construction paper they will supply. All the empty white spaces around the “date section” of a calendar make great flashcard material.

4) Destroy and Enjoy!

Have the students practice following instructions by cutting out corresponding words and pictures from the old calendars. The instructions can be simple or complex:

  • Paste something blue here.
  • Paste the name of the month after March here.
  • Paste a picture of a person. Then paste pictures of three things you could give this person.

Remember! The sky is the limit so save those old calendars!


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Published by

Naomi Epstein

For the past twenty-five years I have specialized in teaching English as a foreign language to deaf and hard of hearing pupils in Israel. I began my career as an elementary school teacher but have taught high-school for the last 21 years. I have a B.A. in Deaf Education, a B.E.D. in EFL and an M.A. in Curriculum Development. I'm the author of two textbooks for these pupils. I am both a teacher and a teachers' counselor. As a firm believer in the quote: "Be the change you want to see in the world" (Gandhi) I have found that sharing with others, networking and reading have helped me keep my enthusiasm for teaching burning bright. I've recently discovered the joys of audiobooks - I now read books AND listen to them while doing housework! Naomi's blog: Visualizing Ideas

22 thoughts on “Homemade Materials Issue – Naomi”

  1. These are GREAT ideas, Naomi! In Japan, we get a lot of free calendars each year from local businesses. Some of them have wonderful pictures, but you can only justify a certain number of calendars on the classroom walls. I’m looking forward to making better use of the pictures from extras. Some of them don’t have wonderful pictures, BUT they have great white paper around the border and back. Now I have ideas for ways I can use those calendars, too, so they don’t end up in my recycle bin. I’m already putting them together with glue, scissors, colored paper and markers to have a fun lesson next week with prepositions. Thank you!

    1. Thank you Barbara!
      Glad you find the suggestions useful
      I have my entire extended family saving calendars for me! I’m sure I haven’t yet exhausted the possible ways to use them!

  2. I had never really thought of actually using old calendars! It is an environmentally-friendly teaching method, which is also bound to attract students’ interest.

    Thank you for the inspiration, Naomi!

    Christina 🙂

  3. Dear Naomi,
    You are absolutely right about using calendars. Last year I destroyed some calendars to use them as prompts for my students to write haikus.
    And we may not be such great minds but need makes us think alike!!!!Ha ha ha ha!!!!!

  4. Wow! These are ideas are so creative! I’ll make sure to fish around finding those calendars.


  5. I like that idea Naomi. We have such a good activity material to use in class that we are not making use of… Thanks.

  6. Great ideas Naomi, I really liked the idea of using the white page of a calendar.
    I have cut a lot of paper to create flashcards, if I had known that I would not wasted that much paper. We can be environmentally friendly by reusing calendars.

  7. Wow!. I loved all your ideas. I’m going to use them and pass them on to my students. I think my girls will love to decorate their books using these beautiful photos.

  8. What a really great (and simple) idea. I have done a couple of classes with prepositions of time, and don’t know why I didn’t think of using old calendars! I always have a few old ones around (I confess, I’m a real hoarder), so it’s about time I put one or two to good use! Thanks!

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