Scheduling for your substantially separate class can be tough! In order to have a fully structured classroom you must have individual schedules AND a whole group schedule to keep everyone on track.
What’s the difference between individual and whole group?
My individual schedules can look a variety of ways. Wall schedules, binder schedules, desk schedules, dry erase boards- those are all about what that students needs.
A whole group schedule is for everyone- including the teachers and staff!
I use my whole group schedule to keep everyone on task. It is more general than the individual schedules because it applies to everyone!
How do I keep this schedule from becoming just a wall decoration?
The number one mistake teachers make is creating beautiful schedules- and not using them. How do I stay on track? I made my schedule interactive. I put up the large pieces- and a job of a student is to match the small visual to the word to create todays schedule. It gives the power of their day back to them and helps everyone stay invested.
When do you have students match the schedule?
If you have a student who arrives earlier than the others this is a great job for them! If not- you can make it a job and switch the job each week, month or day (you know your class best!) Making the schedule interactive helps the students recognize it’s purpose, and actually use it to their advantage throughout the day.
How do you know the order of the schedule each day?
To make it easy for staff setting this up or students setting this up… I do what sped teachers do best- create a visual. I take a picture of the complete Monday, Tuesday, etc…. schedule and laminate the photos and label them by day. I put them on a binder ring and then staff can easily match what it should look like each day. This is great for individual schedules too- and saves everyone from analyzing your crazy confusing master schedule.
Why the yellow background?
Some of my students have visual impairments. I like to make things stand out so they are easy to find. The yellow background draws your eyes right to it, so you can easily find it in the classroom. Black background would work good to… and you can use the veltex fabric to velcro all the pieces to and make them easy to rotate and move around.
For the yellow background, I laminated yellow astrobrights paper and taped them together to make a long schedule board using packing tape. I added velcro so I can change out the schedule each day.
How do you store the pieces?
I prefer to keep the pieces on a velcro board that I make with veltex fabric and cardboard (see it DIY here). I only put out the pieces that work for that day, no extras. If your students are higher level or 0lder- you can have them look through the baggy of pieces, or use a toolbox organizer or bead organizer to keep the schedule pieces sorted. You know your students best!
How do your staff keep track of specials and therapies?
In addition to our whole group schedule, we have a color coded schedule just for this. This can be the absolute most confusing part of any schedule. I have each students name written on their color, underneath each morning, I look at the master schedule and jot down where everyone has to be today. YES, this info is on individual schedules… but NOPE, those are too hard to glance at in the middle of a lesson. I also like to have this up for support staff and therapists. If they have a meeting and want to change the time… they can look at what that student has and write in a time change if available… all without interrupting the teacher and students… win!!
How do you mark completed tasks?
There are a couple ways to do this!
- Check off as you complete the activity
- Remove the whole card from the board
- Remove just the visual and replace with a check or just plain remove.
Again, you know your students best!
*pin that for later!
Doesn’t all this take a lot of prep time?
Yes, absolutely. But it becomes like a science. At the end of the day. I work on the whole group schedule and specials white board. Paras work on the individual schedules. It takes about 10 minutes after the students leave and it is done for the morning. If all of your systems are in place, organized, and highly structured.. it will run like a machine!
You can grab the Simple Schedule pack: here.