Following the Calendar | Ophea Teaching Tools

    Following the Calendar

    Physical Activity Level
    • Moderate

    • Classroom

    • Multipurpose

      • Activity cards (see GETTING ACTIVE)

      • Appendix B

      • Appendix I

      • Medium-sized ball

    Safety Considerations

    Ensure that classroom furniture does not pose a hazard. Check that the floor is not slippery and is free from all obstacles. Remind students to be cautious when moving and to be aware of the personal space of others.


    Students will actively and safely explore movements connected to traditional First Nations calendars.

    Warm Up

    Around and Around We Go

    • Students arrange themselves in a large circle outside of the activity area.
    • Students follow your signal to perform these steps, in order.
      • walk on the spot
      • walk clockwise around the circle
      • march on the spot
      • march counterclockwise around the outside of the circle
      • jog on the spot
      • walk quickly clockwise around the outside of the circle
    Getting Active

    Year In Review

    • When creating the activity cards, you may wish to print the corresponding activity on the back of each month’s card for quick reference.
    • Select 1 activity card with a month, and lead students in the activity. (Alternatively, prepare 11 cards to represent the 11 Haudenosaunee festivals, or 13 cards to represent the Cree or Ojibway 13 moons/Grandmother Moon calendar).
    • Your community may have a calendar with the names of the months or “moons” in either English and/or its traditional language. See Appendix I.
    • Students do each activity for about 30s–45s. Then choose another card and lead activity.
    • Continue until all months have been completed.

    Calendar and activity suggestions

    January (Winter Moon, Exploding Moon, Midwinter)
    Hockey: Students pretend they are handling a puck with a stick and shooting the puck.

    February (Eagle, Sucker Fish, Bear Moon)
    Snow Snake: Students take a large step and pretend to throw a stick (underhand) as far as they can.

    March (Sugar, Crow, Snowshoe Breaking Moon)
    Snowshoeing: Students take large steps, lifting their feet as if they are wearing snowshoes.

    April (Maple Sap, Frog, Loon, Sucker, Goose Moon)
    Frog Jumps: Students crouch down and jump like a frog.

    May (Flower, Frog Moon)
    Flowers growing: Students crouch down, stand up, jump and reach for the sky.

    June (Egg Laying, Opening of Leaves, Strawberry Moon)
    Lacrosse: Students run for two quick strides, pretending to throw a ball from the lacrosse stick.

    July (Mid-summer, Raspberry, Blueberry, Egg Hatching Moon)
    Swimming: Students sit, and kick their feet and move their arms in a swimming motion.

    August (Feather Moulting, Blackberry Moon)
    Bike Riding: Students sit on a chair and pedal their feet as if they are riding a bike.

    September (Leaves Changing Colour, Corn, Moose, Bird Flying Moon)
    Canoeing: Students sit on a chair with their legs and arms out in front of them and pretend to paddle a canoe on the right and left side of their body.

    October (Migration South, Falling Leaves Moon)
    Flying: Students spread their arms and flap as if they are flying birds.

    November (Freezing, Whitefish Moon)
    Skiing: Students make cross-country skiing movements.

    December (Frost, Big Winter, Little Spirit Moon)
    Shoveling: Students pretend to shovel snow by leaning down, shoveling the snow, and depositing it over their shoulders.

    Cool Down

    Pumpkin Train

    • Students walk around activity area in a straight line.
    • A “pumpkin” (the medium-sized ball) is passed down the line, from one student to the next.
    • When the pumpkin gets to the last student, that person begins the process of passing it back to the front of the line. Lead (or ask a student to lead) a series of stretches. Consult the examples in Appendix B.
    Other Considerations
    • For the warm-up, consider putting pieces of paper in the circle to represent the four colours of the Medicine Wheel, to introduce the Four Directions Teachings (see Appendix G).
    • Teach or remind students about practices related to the traditional months, seasons or festivals in your community, to mark the passage of months / years.
    • Ask students to reflect on their favourite months for physical activity.
    • Ask students to think of their own monthly activity and share it with the class.