I’m really excited to share how I structure my classroom daily schedule with you! This classroom schedule has worked well in my classroom with having to make minor changes over the years; which is why I continue to use this schedule. There is no need to reinvent the wheel every school year!
Making the Schedule
Making my classroom schedule can feel daunting and difficult. It’s a time I always dreaded as a new teacher. It has taken me a few years to perfect my schedule and this is one that I love. There are many things to consider when making my daily schedule each year. It’s always best to know the times I cannot control – like recess, lunch, dismissal, library, etc when making my schedule. I always build the schedule around those times and tweak it as needed as the year goes on. Let’s get into my daily schedule!
Arrival and Breakfast
The first activity of the day is arrival and breakfast for my students. My paraprofessials and I split up in to teams during this time. Some get my students from the drop off gate while others wait at the busses for students. We bring out visuals, fidgets, toys, snacks, and a wagon to help us with this time. After we have gathered all of our students, we head into the cafeteria for breakfast with the rest of the school. My students spend around 20 minutes at breakfast.
Once breakfast is over, we walk to class, put our things away, and get settled for our whole group morning meeting activities. I have an in-depth post on my structured morning meeting that you can read here. At the beginning of each school year, my morning meeting is quick, ranging between 5-10 minutes. The goal is just to get my students into the routine and gradually increase the time as the year goes on. By the end of the school year, we spend close to 20 minutes at morning meeting! Practice and consistency are vital.
Next on my daily schedule is centers. We spend 15 minutes per center, and do four centers during this time. My classroom centers are:
- Boom Cards
- Independent Work Station
You may have noticed that I have six centers and we are only doing four rotations. Remember those out of my control times I discussed earlier? Well, because of those, we only have time for four centers at this time but we will revisit centers later in the day to finish all six.
Snack and Recess
Following our four center rotations, we break for snack and recess. My students have snack in the classroom for 20 minutes and we go outside on the playground for 15 minutes. Due to clean up and transitions, this takes about 40 minutes total.
Morning Meeting Continued
Once recess is over, my students come back in and meet for whole group. We continue our morning meeting for around 10 minutes. I am able to extend this to 15 minutes after students get the routine and expectations down.
Now that we have completed our morning meeting, my class is able to finish their center rotations. We do two more centers at 15 minutes each.
Lunch and Recess
My students get 20 minutes for lunch and 20 minutes for recess. Some of my paraprofessionals go with my students to lunch. I take my lunch at this time and typically have one paraprofessional take their lunch as well – but this changes based off of student needs.
Quiet Independent Time
By this time of day, my students are pretty tired. I let them have some quiet independent time and give the rest of my paraprofessionals their lunch time. Students can choose between learning websites such as Starfall, iReady, Freckle, and Teach Your Monster or activities like drawing, looking at books, or puzzles. I also encourage my students to socialize if they are feeling up to it. This part of our day is about 30 minutes long.
Whole Group Learning
Next, my students, paraprofessionals, and I meet again for a short whole group. This is where I teach a science, social studies, or social emotional topic. I love using Made for Me Literacy and Emotional ABCs during this time. This whole group is 10-15 minutes long depending on the topic and tolerance of my students.
We are almost at the end of our daily schedule. We have a lot of fun at our afternoon centers doing art or sensory from Made for Me Literacy, Square Panda, Osmo games, and The Autism Helper Functional Curriculum. There are four centers and are about 10 minutes each.
Next, my students have an additional afternoon recess. This time is allotted by my district to give me some planning time in my day. My paraprofessionals take my students to recess while I work on paperwork or prep for the next school day. This recess is 30 minutes.
At this time, the school day is over and students come in from recess, pack up, and get their communication log and treasure box for coming to school for the day. My paraprofessionals and I split up and take students to busses or parent pickup. One paraprofessional stays in the classroom and begins to sanitize and reset schedules for the day.
By the time students are gone, my paraprofessionals have about 15-20 minutes left in their day. Some will clean and reset the classroom while others will begin to work on cutting, laminating, and velcroing various tasks.
Time to Go!
At last, it’s the end of our day and we get to go home. I will sometimes stay to do some work, have meetings, or stay for the teacher coaching I do but I typically try to leave at the end of my contract time.
My daily schedule is jam-packed with structure and routines. Our schedule stays the same throughout the school year and becomes very easy to follow once we all get used to it. What are your thoughts on my daily schedule? What are your questions? Feel free to leave them below and I will get back to you. Thanks for reading!
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This summer I have learned a lot from reading about your routines and schedules.
Can you tell more about your treasure box? What is inside? Is the reinforcer contingent on behavior?
Thanks so much for sharing!
Hi Jacqueline! Thanks for reading! My classroom treasure box is simple – most students get it at the end of the day if they are interested in it. I like to end the day on a positive note and reward my students for packing their things up. It’s also my time to say goodbye to them individually. Sometimes, depending on the learner and in the event of physical behaviors (hitting, biting, etc) that we are attempting to replace, we may withhold treasure box but in my years of teaching, I’ve realized that it’s not a great reinforcer as the students have to wait until the end of the day to receive it and that is difficult for my age group. I keep things like individual packs of goldfish crackers, lollipops, stickers, party prize toys (from Amazon), pencils, etc in there. I try to keep the cost of things down and buy the most items for my dollar since I spend my own money on this. I hope this helps!
What grade(s) do you have in your classroom?
Hi Cathy! I have TK, K, and 1st grades in my classroom.