Who Needs a Picture Schedule?

The question in the title of this post is kind of a trick question. You can use pictures schedules anywhere and everywhere! Depending on the needs of your learners as individuals, they can be all around the classroom. Implementing picture schedules should not be a one size fits all strategy. The type of schedule that your learners use should be individualized to their needs. When we look at our learners needs, we review their present levels, goal updates, and accommodations, which help us know which type of schedule would be best for them. In this post, I will share my favorite uses for picture schedules. Also, check out this older post of mine reviewing other types of schedules!
Picture schedules are necessary throughout all types of classrooms. They are not only for children with Autism or only for special education classrooms. Picture schedules help predictability of a day, center activities, and transitions. Schedules help embed structure within a classroom which increases student independence and decreases negative behaviors. Our learners should always be working towards independence. I like to use task analysis to analyze the percentage of independence of the use of a schedule: take nametag from adult, match name tag to schedule, take next icon, hold onto icon during transition, match icon t to the corresponding area, enter center, engage appropriately.
A few examples of where to put picture schedules are;
  • stationary on the side of a shelf
  • stationary on a cabinet
  • stationary on a table
  • on a clipboard that is stationary or travels
  • on a task strip that travels
  • on a notebook that travels
  • on a binder that travels

As Sasha has always said, your job is to lose your job! Our learners should not have an adult telling them where to go throughout the entire day. Implementing the right type of schedule at the right time of day will help us lose our jobs.

When we think of schedules and how to make them functional within the classroom, my team and I remember that they can be used by adults and peers as models as well. The more we are able to use picture schedules, the more opportunities for growth and generalization our learners will have. Picture schedules for special events and activities take out the unknown for our learners and build in visuals and expectations. Below are some of the other areas of the classroom that we create and use picture schedules throughout the days, weeks, and lessons. 

  • Circle Time
  • Class Parties
  • Recipes
  • Science Experiments
  • Functional Routines
  • Art Projects
  • Social Games
  • First/ Then 
  • Structured Play Boxes
  • Centers
  • Schedules For Use In The Home 


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