Take a look at the schedule of my Intermediate Elementary self-contained classroom! Trying to create an effective schedule can seem overwhelming, but seeing examples of other classes’ schedules can be inspiring. That is why I am so excited to share my schedule with you!
Arrival and Group Activity
First up in our schedule is our arrival and morning routine. My paraprofessional meets the students at their buses while I man the hallway outside of the classroom. As students come in, they unpack their backpacks, put their folders in the bin, then check their personal schedules.
The students’ schedules were created using visuals from the Simple Visual Schedules bundle. Each child has a schedule mounted on a bulletin board. Small plastic bins are mounted at the bottom of the bulletin board for students to drop each schedule picture in as they remove it.
In our schedule, there is a block of about 20 minutes between arrival and the start of special area class, so we usually use that time to play a board game together or play with STEM building manipulatives. These magnetic blocks are one of our favorites! (affiliate link)
Special Area Class
The first class on our schedule is our special area class. My students have adaptive specials. Most of the special area classes take place right in my classroom which is nice because it cuts down on difficult transitions.
Next on our schedule is my favorite part of the day: morning meeting! Each day, I incorporate math, literacy, and social skills into our morning meeting. We start by reviewing the date, weather, and the number of days we have been in school. I present information to my students using both the Real Picture Morning Meeting slides and the Daily Math Calendar (affiliate link) pictured above. Then, each student gets a chance to answer the Question of the Day. Finally, we wrap up our morning meeting by reading and discussing a chapter of a book.
After morning meeting, it’s snack time! Students line up at the sink to wash their hands, then eat their snack at their desks. During snack time I like to turn off the lights and play some relaxing music. Snack time is a great time to work on self-help skills and facilitate conversations amongst the students!
Students rotate through a schedule of four centers during the reading period. This allows me to work with the students one-on-one or in pairs. The students come to work with me at my teacher table, work with my para at her table, complete task boxes activities at their desks, and read independently in the classroom library. I use Google Slides to help students (and myself!) keep track of where they are rotating.
Recess and Lunch
Right in the middle if the day’s schedule is lunch and recess. My class loves to go on the swings! Our playground has two accessible swing seats, which we love! Other students in the school rotate between having recess first or lunch first, but my administrators have allowed us to be flexible with our schedule so that my students are always able to play first, then eat. Having that consistency in our schedule helps make the recess and lunch period an easier transition.
While my para goes to have her lunch, I do a whole-group writing activity. My students enjoy writing on whiteboards. I also like to incorporate some typing practice to help students become familiar with the keys on a keyboard. Once a week, we skip writing for a visit to the school library.
We have a similar structure for math centers as we do for reading. The students rotate through centers at my teacher table, the para’s table, and task boxes. Our fourth math center is for computer work. Students practice logging in to the computer and navigating with the mouse or touch screen to play math games online.
Science/Social Studies/Life Skills
After math class, we do a whole-group activity related to either science, social studies, or life skills. On Fridays, we always prepare a recipe!
At the end of the day, we have some flexibility in our schedule, so I like to give my students some free-play time. We try to play outside as much as we can! It’s nice for all of us to get some fresh air after a long day of school. We like to spend some time with our class hamster during this period, too!
The last item on the day’s schedule is dismissal, of course! After the students pack up their backpacks, my para and I each take a group of kids to their buses. Then, we return and reset the room for the next day. I also try to take some time for us to debrief about how the day went and plan together for the next day. Teamwork makes the dream work!
Coming up with an effective schedule definitely took some trial and error. With the schedule I have come up with for my intermediate elementary classroom, I am able to maximize student learning, and create opportunities to incorporate social and life skills.
Want to see more classroom schedules? Check out Whitney’s schedule tour here!