Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Daily Schedules - top priority

Wow, it has been a tough two and a half weeks.  My kiddos are VERY BUSY!!!  With new kiddos and new staff, I feel like my head is spinning with just teaching procedures.  I'm finding that now I have to write out specific step by step instructions for my para's on how to deal with student behavior, how to implement reinforcement systems, etc.  I guess I took for granted how knowledgeable my staff was last year!!
Anyway, my top priority has been setting schedules, both for students and staff.
To ensure schedules are most effective, here are the steps I take:
1.  Set up a excel document with 15 minute segments down and each student's name across the top. (once I get some things set up, I change the times to match things like bells, etc)
2.  Fill in the non-negotiables (lunch, gened, etc).
3.  Set up group times
4.  Fill in rotations
5.  Assign staff to specific rotations and students

To make it all work correctly, this year I had to do NINE drafts of this!!  I kept having to rework groups, ensure that kids who needed extra assistance were assigned 1 staff who supervised others while at independent.
Here are three versions of the schedule, just so you can see the progression.  I know that there will still be a few changes, and I still have a couple of spots that need to be filled, but at day 13, I'm feeling pretty confident!

Version 1:  Made before I actually knew my students and staff very well.  In this one, I set non-negotiables and groups and then just blindly filled in students based on that information I had. . . We used this for 2 whole days!

Here is version 4. . . I had already made multiple changes.  In this schedule, I created a couple of new stations, took out some stations, and began to assign staff more appropriately. . .

This is the current schedule. . . In this one, every student is accounted for with staff members.  Students are either working with staff directly or supervised (when in parenthesis).  Yellow table is where I work with students, at the blue table my stronger para works on reading, fluency, and the red table is where students play a game of some sort and work on turn taking and social skills.  I am really enjoying this schedule so far, but you can see that there are still a couple of ??.  These are times that are not filled completely with meaningful activities so I am still determining what to do.  If you have any suggestions, I'm more than open!!
Key:  MM-morning meeting; cards/Ipad-language master, then Ipad activity;  I-independent; WD-work drawers (set of 6 drawers that target IEP objectives in the generalization phase); WB-work boxes (pre-vocational tasks); TT-another time I work with students. . . 

So. . . that's the way I make schedules.  How are you doing with your schedules??  Anything you think I should try??


  1. We do ours by class period and we have 3 rotations in each one. Per 1 is my math rotation: teacher time, math center, Ind.Work boxes (math related), Per 2 is my group rotation: group with me, fluency with Para, life skills (in our kitchen); Per 3 is reading rotation: guided reading with me, spelling with Para, reading center. My reading and math center are independent worksheets or tasks. Per 4 they all go to PE and lunch with the Paras and I have my prep and lunch. Per 5: Unique learning system for science/social studies and hygiene; Per 6 social skills with me, choice time, life skills; Per 7 is computer work (educational programs like Razz Kids), free time on the computer, break, and classroom chores. On tuesdays and Thursdays we will be out in the community for 6th and 7th period. And on fridays, for 7th period, we have an arts rotation: cooking, art, drama, games. I have 3 aides: 2 classroom Paras and one 1:1 for a runner. I stagger their lunches so one goes out 3rd, one at lunch time, and one goes out at 5th period. I hope it wasn't too confusing. I have a grid similar to yours on my blog,

  2. sounds awesome! I have tried to do rotations by subject/period, but I find that with the way I and my kids work, it's better to just work on skills at different times of day. I love that you do an arts rotation on Fridays. I've had a few people suggest that and I may give it a try this year!

  3. I am home sick today, and I have already started this scheduling stuff for next year. I was blessed to only have 6 students, but next year I will have at least 8, 6 continuing on and 2 new students. One of those comes with an aide, so it will be an interesting year. The schedule I mentioned above morphed several times over the year, mostly due to having 2 inclusion students and needing to make accommodations for them. I still had 2-3 rotations per period, but I stopped doing it by subject. And I didn't like ULS as much as I did at the beginning of the year, so I am going back to thematic monthly units and will be doing both social studies and science, and incorporating ULS as it fits. The arts rotation worked well, but I will be incorporating it into our thematic units. I hope you are doing well. I would love to see some more posts, because you have a lot to share.

  4. I totally understand. I feel like just when I finally get a schedule settled, something happens. I'm on version 105 I think and right now, we are actually just having to "wing it" some of the day due to staffing issues, new students, etc. I'm up to 9 students and 1 para and 1 long term sub. . . let's just say we just try to survive day to day right now!
    I also agree with you on ULS. I LOVED it at the beginning of the year, but the work it takes to print and prepare has overwhelmed me a bit. I have backtracked to using News-2-You a lot and my own creations. I use ULS when I can get it together, but it's just so much work!
    Anyway, I do plan to blog again, but I'm betting it won't happen until summer. This has been the toughest year I've had (in 15 years of teaching)!!! I'm still loving it, but I am BEAT!!!
    Hope things are well for you!