Schedules are a classroom must-have. It drives me CRAZY when I meet a teacher who smugly tells me that she doesn’t “do” schedules like it’s some luxurious choice she has made. Schedules are a nonnegotiable. Think about the last in service meeting you had. Now imagine if that in service had no agenda. You were just expected to stay at the meeting until 3pm with no indication of what you’d be doing, when lunch would be, or if this even pertains to you. How would that feel? No so amazing, right? So if you aren’t cool with sitting through an all day meeting with no agenda, you kids aren’t cool with a whole day without a schedule.
Now don’t confuse schedule with moveable piece laminated schedule. A schedule does not need to be velcro or visual or anything like that. The schedules needs to be individual to the students. There are many different types of schedules and you should be picking the schedule type that best fits the skill set of each student. If that means you have 4 different kinds of schedules in your class – cool. You have 4 different types of schedules in your class. You need to differentiate this process and give each student the schedule that isn’t too easy or too hard – it’s just right! Let’s review the types of schedules:
These are the most basic and concrete type of schedule. Use actual objects as the cue of what activities are to come. Good for students with visual impairments, severe/profound cognitive disabilities, and early learners.
Moveable Piece Picture Schedules
Pictures help our learners make meaning of the words we are telling by providing a visual representation of the activity. Picture schedules traditionally start out on the wall. Activities are lined up in the sequence they will be done. Student physically moves the visual piece and matches it to the identical picture at the station they are working at. After each activity is complete, visual piece is removed.
Color Coded Picture Schedules
Color coding adds an additional cue to discriminate between pictures
Binder Picture Schedules
These work the same as moveable piece visual schedules but go in a binder. Laminate a piece of paper and put 1 or 2 long strips of velcro. Order visual pieces on velcro. Put finished pocket on inside cover.
Paper Picture Schedules
You can use paper schedules that have visuals or words. Laminate and use with a dry erase marker or photocopy and use with a pen or pencil. Students cross off each item as it’s finished. The biggest change is not bringing the physical visual piece with you.
Written Paper Schedules
Remove visuals and have only writing. Great for your readers & higher functioning learners!
Pick the schedule type that is most appropriate for each student. You want to move towards schedules that are more generalizable to other environments (so harder!). At the start of the year, ensure that each schedule type is appropriate!