Micki Hendrix
  Making Birthday Calendars is a "stand-alone" project that replicates a work environment.

  Adult basic education, Citizen participation, Consumer education, Employability, Job skills, Learner produced materials

Learner Level:
  Multi level

Time Frame:
  Several class sessions

Learner Grouping:
  Whole class

  The setting is a Families First ABE/workforce readiness class that meets 5 days per week, 4 hours per day. Average attendance is 8-10 learners. Families First is the Tennessee program to provide training for those welfare recipients who lack basic education skills. While learners do work toward a GED, emphasis in these classes is shifting toward the knowledge, skills, and attitudes learners need to acquire and keep a good job.

This activity was conducted in a school setting arranged to replicate a print shop as closely as possible. Computers in the computer lab, copy machine, and binding machine are in close proximity to each other, and long tables are available nearby.


  McNairy County Adult Education and Job Training Center

Type of Program:

Student Population Served:
  Basic skills (grade levels 5-8.9)

Making birthday calendars for community organizations and businesses

Participants work together to make birthday calendars from start to finish, using "The Print Shop" computer program, a copy machine, and a binding machine. __________________________________________________________

Learning Objective:
Learners will build interpersonal and other work-related skills by producing and marketing a quality product.

Primary Skill:
Cooperate with others

Secondary Skills:
Decision making, Lifelong learning, Read with understanding, Solve problems and make decisions, Use information and communications technology

Learner Needs & Goals:
Adult learners in my class have little actual work experience and very little experience taking the responsibility for seeing that a job is done and done well. This activity gave learners the opportunity to gain more confidence using the computer and other office machines and to work together as a team and produce quality work. In addition, learners were able to make some contacts in the community as we approached various organizations about making Birthday Calendars for them.

Learning Activity Description:

"Birthday Calendars" are yearlong, month-by-month calendars made for each of the employees or associates of an organization with the names of those people printed on the dates of their respective birthdays. They are fairly easy to construct using the software program, "The Print Shop" and look professionally produced. The instructor should become familiar with "The Print Shop" before beginning the activity. Following are the steps used to produce the calendars.

  1. Locate an organization for which to make the calendars and obtain the birthdays of the participating associates. Either the instructor or the adult learners can initiate the contact with the agency. We contacted the Department of Human Services for our first calendar.

  2. Give each learner individually the opportunity to "play" with "The Print Shop" program on the computer to familiarize themselves with its capabilities and so the learners will begin to feel comfortable using the program. Learners are encouraged to create various items using "The Print Shop" to get the feel of it. Learners can choose to add decorative touches to the calendar pages if they wish. We used pumpkins from clip art to add to the October page, for instance. Hopefully each learner will then be able to create at least one month's calendar page. If any learner doesn't feel capable after working with the program, another learner can be assigned to assist on that page.

  3. The calendar pages need to be proofread for accuracy by the learners and also the instructor before the printed copies are made.

  4. After the calendar pages have been completed, two learners can work together to design the cover. The learners' names are included on the back cover of the calendar as the producers or publishers of the calendar.

  5. Learners figure out how to organize an assembly line to copy, sort, and bind the calendars. Learners usually want to switch off jobs so everyone gets a chance at each station of the assembly line. How the assembly line is organized depends on the arrangement of the room and the location of the machines in relation to the place where the pages are sorted and arranged. It is helpful to have long tables to use to temporarily store and then sort and organize pages and covers.

    • Learners can use the copy machine to make as many copies of all the designed pages plus the cover as there will be calendars produced. We used regular copy paper for the pages and colored card stock for the covers.

    • Using the long tables, the pages are sorted and assembled to be bound as separate calendars.

    • Our binding machine is called a "Docubind" machine. The binding of the pages involves three people working together: one person to stack the pages for one calendar in the machine, the second person to pull the cutting handle, and a third person to put on the plastic "comb" to finish the job. Binding the pages is the last step in the assembly line.

  6. Individual learners work on assigned tasks until the job is completed.

  7. The participants personally deliver the calendars to their intended recipients.

Materials and Resources:

  • Computers
  • Computer printer
  • "The Print Shop" widely available computer program (Broderbund Software, 1997)
  • Copy machine
  • Binding machine
  • Regular and heavy weight paper.
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Learners have met the objective upon completion of the birthday calendars. The quality of the finished product is judged by the acceptance and recognition the birthday calendars receive from the organization for which the calendars are produced.

The activity was very worthwhile and enjoyable. The participants learned many valuable skills that will carry over to the work environment: using various office machines, meeting a deadline, working together, performing accurate work, decision making. We have repeated this activity several times. With each new calendar, the learners become more efficient and creative.


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