Multiuse Structure

You may not be QUITE ready to think about setting up your classroom for next year but in case you are, here are two of my favorite types of structure.  Visual schedules and workstations.  And if you have read any of my previous blogs, you know I love multiuse materials, toys, set ups and well, everything that can work on multiple skills at one time.  I am all about working as efficiently as possible and not reinventing the wheel 50 times!

Classroom Schedules

My love of a visual classroom schedule (both whole class, circle time, individual, you name it) runs real deep.  The benefits of using visual schedules far outweigh any pushback you might get from others when you bring up creating them.  You might hear things like, “they know the schedule verbally, we practice it every day”.  Or maybe “it’s so much work to reset those schedules I do not have time for that”.  Visual schedules help pair verbal language with the object, action, etc.  You might think your student is transitioning just fine but do they really know where they are going? Schedules also are proactive; we don’t want to simply throw a schedule down when a student has difficulty transitioning.  Using a schedule takes the directive off coming from an adult to the schedule itself!  If you’re using a whole class schedule to review next steps, I would let students take turn taking off the completed routine and putting it in a box.  I always had individual schedules for my littles and while it may take some students a lot of modeling and repetition, you will get to that point where you can say, “Check your schedules” (or hand a student a card) and they will know exactly what to do and where to go.  If you’re worried about not having the time to reset them, have a student help you out.  I would take pictures of what the schedule should look like each day and have students collect and organize the pictures. I even timed myself one day.  At one point I had 14 individual schedules with 10 cards on them each.  I could reset 140 pictures in two and half minutes.  I would even have some of my kids start them off for me.  Talk about skill acquisition!

These schedules do not have to be fancy and perfect.  The type depends on the student needs in your classroom as well.  For the daycare classroom below, I made the whole class schedule mobile for the teacher by cutting a small strip of cardboard flap from a box and mounting some soft Velcro strip for the backing.  If you do not have access to board maker you can take pictures of the areas in the classroom on your phone and print them out (or have Walgreens or another photo center do it for you) or use free images from the internet!

Workstations for Teachers & Students

I get asked a lot about independent workstations, especially the how-to-dos for the little ones (I taught three-year old’s this system)! The purpose of this system is to eventually be a system that teaches a student how to complete multiple tasks independently.  The tasks that go in these drawers are to be mastered skills.  Now you may be thinking, I just started with my class, or this kiddo is a young learner and has never been in school. That’s ok! Start small and while you may have 3-4 physical drawers or containers, start with just one.  In my video below I discuss using preferred photos as the task drawer cards to motivate matching to the drawer task and starting the task.  I also chat about teaching this station to multiple kids at a time during a small group work with teacher time. You can pull this up to your table and have the kids take turns matching the schedule card to the drawer and taking out what’s inside.  You can then work on the task as a group.  The “1-2-3” task completion card is out of the Made for Me Literacy Curriculums which you can find here.  Some tasks I have put in drawers include: Mr. Potato Head, The Autism Helper Errorless Work Tasks, puzzles, put in tasks, blocks to stack, etc!  Happy Learning!

Gina Russell, B.S , M.Ed
Latest posts by Gina Russell, B.S , M.Ed (see all)


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.