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5 Schedule Examples From Special Education Classes With Free Download

Organizing & Setting Up Classrooms| Scheduling | June 28, 2015

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Sometimes it helps to have examples of special education class schedules to work from when setting up your own. So I wanted to share some examples and go over some main strategies I use in organizing the classroom schedule. The download includes 5 special education classes’ schedules and cover all ages from preschool through high school. They are all self-contained classrooms with one that also served as a resource classroom. I have a variety of posts that include tons of information about how to set up all types of special education classes. The best place to start is with the ultimate guide to setting up special education classes.

Steps in Creating the Special Education Class Schedule

Everything in setting up the schedule depends on knowing your students.  I review the students’ IEPs and determine what curriculum we need to use.  I use the Teaching Implementation Plan (TIP) for that. From that, I can then have some ideas about how long group activities should be, how many small group or individual instruction is needed, etc.  

Essentially when I set up a schedule I use a grid that has the day broken down into regular increments–usually 15 minutes (the freebie has blank times and 15 minute times set up for you).  I put the students’ names across the top and the times down the left hand side, like the pictures below.  Then, I follow these 5 basic steps when I do a schedule.  

I start with the things I can’t change, like specials times for each student (assuming they are different grades).  Then I schedule the student whose engagement and behavior would be most affected by the order of the schedule (that one that needs a work-break-work-break) type of schedule.  Then I schedule the students who can be more flexible.

5 Special Education Classes Schedules

Below are some schedules to check out.  For each classroom, I’ve written about them in a post to give you more context. I’ve included a link to those posts so you can can read about them there.

Setting Up Special Ed Classes Schedule: Preschool

Preschool Full-Day (Some Part-Day) Schedule

This is a preschool schedule.  The greyed out areas are times when that student is not in the classroom.  In this case they are students who only attended part day.  You can get more details about this special education class schedule HERE.

Elementary Special Education Class Schedule With Inclusion Times

This elementary schedule was a pretty typical classroom but we were lucky that all the students attended specials together and they were scheduled pretty consistently across the week.  That made it much easier to schedule.  You can read about this special education class schedule here.

Elementary Schedule for a Special ed classroom
Special education classroom schedule: Middle School

Middle School Classroom with 1 Teacher & 1 Paraprofessional

I included 2 middle school schedule because sometimes I think they are more difficult because the way that scheduling in the school is so different.  This one is an example of a class that had 1 teacher and 1 aide, so there is a longer time in leisure after lunch to allow for lunch breaks.  Read more about this special ed classroom schedule here.

Middle School Mixed Classroom Schedule: Two Teachers

This one was a classroom that eventually was divided.  We found we needed to divide our group activities because they were just too large a group to keep everyone’s attention during a full group activity.  Read more about this special education class schedule here.

middle school special education schedule grid with 2 classes combined
High school schedule example of setting up special education classrooms

High School Life Skills Classroom

This classroom was a self-contained life skills classroom with a teacher and 2 paraprofessionals. I’ll come back and add a link with more information and a link to a floor plan of it when I get it finished. It was set up with 2 portables-an academic portable and a life skills / vocational portable that we used in the afternoon. I’ll get a more completed post and link to it here shortly.

So, I hope those will give you some ideas about setting up schedules for your classroom and some things to think about while you are sitting by the pool (or the ocean, or the mountains, or teaching ESY). If you are looking for more help with setting up your classroom, come try out the Special Educator Academy Setting Up Your Classroom course with a 7-day free trial here. Or grab one of the resources below for more ideas.

Looking for More Classroom Setup Help?

Come join our community for training and ideas you can use and connection with other special educators who get it.

Learning Community Connection. Join us in the Special Educator Academy
Special education class schedule roundup

14 thoughts on “5 Schedule Examples From Special Education Classes With Free Download”

  1. Hey Chris, when it says Reg. Ed in the schedule, does that mean the students attend an inclusive or regular classroom for certain subjects throughout the day? Thanks! Great post!

  2. I have 5 grade levels, and each has diff time for pe daily, as well as weekly computer lab, music, art, library and sometimes science… Makes scheduling crazy!!! Toying w idea of running 2 morning meetings so can customize it more for each age level. Any examples of this type of schedule? Hahaha.

  3. Hi Stacy, actually if you look at the middle school schedule of the class that was eventually broken into two classes, we did that because the students' needs were so different. However, it wouldn't be too hard to do…maybe have the students who are in the second morning meeting do independent work if they are in the classroom and then switch activities when the second morning meeting time comes around. That's a great idea to make it easier to schedule around. That's why I start with those things I can't change, like the daily out of class activities and then figure out what i can schedule around it. Good luck, that is a tough job!

  4. This is a great post I am very blessed to have 4 full time teacher aides the problem I ran into this year was from what I see here was I planned around the staff and not around the student. When I started the year I was a first year teacher and I did not have access to my students IEP's until the first day of school. I was able to do rotations of Aide run stations and 1 on 1 DI and it worked well but I just feel like there are so many things I could have done better to help the students learn more and foster better communication. So seeing your schedule is really helping me tweak mine for the next year. I also purchase your book on setting up classroom so I feel that this year will be a little smoother.

  5. Wow! Thanks so much for commenting and I do hope that all of this and the book are helpful! It would be hard to schedule not knowing your staff. Please feel free to let me know if you have any questions as you go through the planning process.

  6. I forgot to say how much I loved how you shared a variety of schedules for a variety of settings. That is so helpful! I also like how made everything look so pretty! 🙂

  7. Hi Chris, I have a high school self contained classroom with 10 students and 2 non functioning paras. My physical classroom is very small so no room to move around. I’m always tweaking my schedule. While I am working with my students, what are some other activities my students can be doing? I ask that because they need adult assistance to complete or stay on task and I don’t have adults willing to help me. Unfortunately they are with me forever according to administration. I think that’s why I am always trying to make a schedule work. I’m trying to work with all 10 students at one time. Any thoughts???

  8. chris@reeveautismconsulting.com

    Hi Tonya, not sure that I can help given that it sounds like there are some administrative issues regarding the aides that need to be addressed. However, you could try some structured work systems for independent tasks to break the group up. The students need to be supervised and initially to be taught, but then they would learn to work independently. You can find out more about them by using the menu at the top of my site and choosing Popular Topics–and then choosing structured work systems. Good luck!

  9. Deirdre Nelson

    Thank you so much for these resources! I’ve just got a permanent job teaching SEN kids in the UK and this is going to be so helpful in settling in and making sure I’m meeting all the students’ needs.

  10. Pingback: 3 Classroom Organization Hacks to Make Your Special Education Classroom Run Smoothly | Autism Classroom Resources

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