Schedules {Making the Schedule}

Happy July! We are now on to Step 3! You have your classroom setup. Your structure is too die for. It’s visually defined. It’s predictable. Your room looks stunning. Now – what the heck are your kids going to do in this impeccably structured class? Here is where the schedule comes in. Oh that stinkin schedule. I have a serious love/hate relationship with making my schedule each year. It’s like a really annoying sudoku puzzle. There is some way for everything to fit but it’s getting there that is the issue.

One of the essential components of an autism classroom are the schedules. You need schedules for the kids and schedules for the adults in your room. Figuring out where and when each child is working throughout the whole day is tricky! It’s well organized chaos I like to think. Here’s the weekly agenda for Step 3: Schedules –

  1. Making the Schedule
  2. Adult Schedule
  3. Visual Student Schedules
  4. Mini Schedules
  5. Schedule Tips & Tricks

So first you need to get started on making the schedule. I like to make my schedule on excel in 15 minute increments. First I put in my specials (gym, music, etc.), lunch/recess, and inclusion. The things that are set in stone. From there I start to figure out staff lunched. This helps me see where I have large areas of time to program some center rotations. Once you make a rough draft – test it out! There are sometimes kinks you have not anticipated! This drives me nuts because I always want to print enough color copies for everyone and just be DONE with it, but you really do need to see how the schedule plays out in real time.

Here is my student-schedule from last year: kid schedules

This looks complicated but it really does work. Basically, I do nothing whole group. The skills of my kids are too varied. But I do a lot of small group and pair work. My big recommendation is partnering up students whenever possible. I have 6 students that work in pairs and 4 that work one on one. My students rotate in pairs or individually between me and each of my two aides. While the ‘higher’ students rotate, the other students do independent work or have break time and vice versus.

For very detailed information on these rotations work, check out this post:

The Autism Helper - Schedules

… and this one:

The Autism Helper - Schedules

Seven Steps for Setting Up a Stellar Autism Room – Step 3: Schedules!

Summer of the Seven Steps 🙂

Seven Steps for Setting Up a Stellar Autism Room

11 Comments

  1. I’ve been teaching an awesome group of elementary/middle school aged kiddos (all low-functioning–we worked on mostly adaptive bx & pre-academics) in a self-contained Autism classroom in a public school (utilizing ABA techniques), for the last two years, but just got a job teaching Special Education at an autism clinic (all ABA, all the time!). My new students are 11-15 years old and are much more high-functioning than the students that I worked with previously. The former teacher utilized LOTS of worksheets (by lots, I mean all.), so I’m having to start from the ground up to create more interactive and varied stimuli and find things that are age-appropriate. That long-winded story was all to say: I was so excited to find your blog and get some inspiration! I was paralyzed & overwhelmed by the amount of work ahead of me, but your blog has gotten me excited to get organized and take some ownership over my new classroom! Keep the brilliance coming!

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  2. What is the difference between reading, guided reading and reading center?

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  3. This may seem like a silly question, but when do you teach math? All of the sections on the student schedule seem to focus on reading and language. There are so many things to teach in math, I am not sure I could get it done in a 15 minute direct instruction session. I typically focus on time, addition/subtraction and money. However, with the Common code and the new alternate assessment for Ohio, we need to focus on a lot more. Do you only look at one topic per day? Do your paras run any math besides the fluency flash cards? I guess I want to make sure I get everything in, there’s just sooo much to teach! Also, what is the difference between reading, guided reading and reading centers?

    Thanks for all your help! I am loving all of the awesome tips!
    ~Michelle

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  4. Hi Erin! Thank you so much for your super sweet comments. I am so glad these ideas have been helpful! Good luck in your new position 🙂

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  5. In the morning – reading is just the name of the station that does spelling for the higher kids and IEP goal work for the lower kids. In the afternoon – guided reading is small group directed reading instruction (children are grouped based on reading level), and reading centers are independent reading tasks that kids do when they aren’t in a guided reading group (they alternate between the two).

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  6. Hi Michelle – Yes it is SUCH a struggle to find the time for everything. I incorporate math into my morning group thematic and seasonal units and also a lot of our tasks in table time are math based vocational/functional tasks (such as menu math, making change, measuring items, etc.). My direct instruction – although it is short at 15 minutes – I am able to get a lot done because it’s very focused since I only have one or two students at a time. My current group of students have hugely varied math skills so I can’t do anything whole group. With common core – it really makes all subject areas difficult to fit everything in – but we have to do the best we can. There is never going to be enough time for absolutely everything (since our students basically have an entire additional curriculum with communication, social skills, life skills, and behavioral instruction!). My suggestion is to figure out what works for your group and try to make the most of every moment! I love integrated units and activities that hit multiple subject areas at one time!

    In the morning – reading is just the name of the station that does spelling for the higher kids and IEP goal work for the lower kids. In the afternoon – guided reading is small group directed reading instruction (children are grouped based on reading level), and reading centers are independent reading tasks that kids do when they aren’t in a guided reading group (they alternate between the two).

    Reply
  7. Your entire blog has left (happy!)tears in my eyes. Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you. I’ve read and learned so much, this was just the page where I broke down, stopped, stretched and had to thank you and give kudos. Cheers!
    ~Jen, Ed Assnt

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  8. Omigosh! Your comment made my day! So glad to hear that my website has been helpful to you!

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  9. I am really inspired with what you do. Kudos!

    Reply
  10. Thank you!

    Reply

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