Color Coded Student Schedules

Categories: Schedules

Let’s talk about color-coded student schedules!  

You are using schedules in your classroom, right? If you are not, you should because it’s an incredibly important functional skill for every learner.  

Hands down, one of the best strategies I use in my classroom is color-coding my student schedules. We use our schedules every day therefore, they typically look pretty rough by the end of each school year.  For this reason, I have to make new schedules each year.  Summer break is a great time to prep student schedules and it’s time for me to make mine again.  The Autism Helper’s Ready to Go Color Coded Daily Picture Schedule resource makes my yearly schedule-making process super quick and easy!

Why I Color Code Schedules

This is a photo of color coded centers where students match their icons.

Now, I love a good color-coding system however, not all students need a color-coded schedule.  That being said, I love to start with this system in my classroom. Because I teach primary grades, students typically do not know how to follow a schedule when they come to my classroom, which means my assistants and I have to teach them how to use one. Color coding their schedules with my centers makes it A LOT easier for my students to grasp throughout the school year.

I love TAH’s Ready to Go Color Coded Daily Picture Schedule resource because it includes 15 picture options with both small pictures for schedule icons and big pictures with labels to use for centers. Additionally, each small picture and the big label have a different color background for each picture. I use the big picture label at each center so students are able to match their schedule icon or find their center after checking their schedules. Initially, some of my students have a difficult time matching a picture so the color background is a very helpful visual!  For students who need an additional visual prompt, I add colored duck tape to my centers.

Types of Schedules

This is a photo of a purple wall schedule with color coded picture icons.

Wall Schedule

This type of schedule is fixed to the wall. Students will choose their icon and take it to the designated center. They can place the icon on the corresponding center with velcro. Have an envelope or box at the bottom of their schedule to place the icons in when they are all done with that center.

This is an example of a color coded mobile schedule

Mobile Schedule

These schedules travel with the student. This type of schedule can be used with removable picture icons, fixed picture icons, words, or a list – whatever is best for the learner. These take a few more learning steps but are a great schedule to use! I like to use an envelope on the mobile schedule to place all done icons in as well.  

Binder Schedule

A binder schedule is another type of mobile schedule that increases a student’s independence. These are great for students who have busy schedules including inclusion and specials activities. If using removable icons, I like to make sure there is an envelope or bag inside of the binder to place used icons in.

Schedules Are Not Automatic

Now that we’ve talked about the types of color-coded schedules to use, I want you to know that they are not going to be automatic with students. Each year, I have to spend at least two weeks (often more) teaching my students how to use their schedules and transition in the classroom. For the first few weeks of school, it’s all hands on deck during transitions. However, once my team and I spend this time teaching the schedules, my classroom pretty much runs automatically – it’s amazing to watch!  

To read more about the importance of using schedules with students, read this post from Sasha.

Do you have a plan for schedules in your classroom? If so, how will you teach your students to use them? I want to hear your ideas in the comments!  

As always, let me know if you have any questions. Thanks for reading!



  1. Would like have a colourfull schedule
    How can I download it !
    This would be great having new students coming in fall who have autism


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.