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Creating the classroom schedule in a special education classroom is probably the hardest task of the year! I'm sharing a download and explanation of 5 different REAL classroom schedules as examples. The post talks about my process and includes schedules for all ages.

Back to School: Setting up Classrooms for Students with Autism #2: Schedule Part 4

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Today, I am going to focus on a preschool schedule.  I’ll follow this example through pictures of the physical space and zoning plans as well.

Creating the classroom schedule in a special education classroom is probably the hardest task of the year! I'm sharing a download and explanation of 5 different REAL classroom schedules as examples. The post talks about my process and includes schedules for all ages.This was a preschool program that had some children that attended 1/2 days and some students attended all day.  The grayed out areas represent the times those students were not in the classroom.  There was a teacher and 2 aides in the class with 8 students in the morning and 6 in the afternoon.  The students could only handle 15-minute activities at at the most,  so we had a 15-minute circle which worked perfectly for this group.  As you can see, there are 2 circles so we could cover everything we would typically cover in a 30-minute circle but we just broke it up to keep their attention.  For centers in the morning, the students rotated through direct instruction, independent work (structured work systems) and play time.  Direct instruction (DI) consisted of primarily discrete trials.  This teacher was a master at discrete trials and differentiating them among the students in a group.  The funny thing is that she didn’t know she was doing trials–she thought she was just teaching.  The students who attended full day were the ones who needed more explicit instruction in basic skills like following directions, imitation, and matching, while those in the afternoon needed more language acquisition and socialization practice.  So, the morning rotation included discrete trials while the afternoon rotation included more small group activities.

To check out other posts in this series, click here.

In the afternoon they rotated through art and games.  They had a mandated nap time (because they are in preschool) but many of the kids didn’t really nap.  So we call this quiet time and those who don’t nap can engage in quiet activities while others nap.

A Closer Look

Two elements that I think are important to note about this schedule.  Table tasks is the name we give activities that involve manipulatives like puzzles, file folders and other visual motor activities the children complete at a table.  They are activities that are designed to keep students engaged more independently (i.e., with less supervision) and can serve as a training ground for activities that can eventually go into structured work systems.  We use this activity as a way to keep students engaged in meaningful activity while we have adults busy with things like getting other kids off the bus or taking students to the bathroom.  This allows us to have an activity that keeps the kids engaged while having less adult supervision.  It also gives us a good activity in the morning when we can’t predict when busses and cars will arrive.  Keeping the students engaged during this time prevents a myriad of problem behavior that can develop from free, unstructured time while waiting.  Second, rather than having students all go to the bathroom and have to wait their turn with downtime (Downtime is not your friend!) while waiting, we engaged them with table tasks and had staff pull 2 students at a time to go to the bathroom.  This kept everyone engaged in an activity that didn’t mean missing something while they were in the bathroom (as would happen if we did the same with circle or story time).

So, you can see a larger version of the schedule below.  And if you go below that….you can snag the freebie of the schedule grid we use to make schedules.

This preschool schedule provides an example of a self-contained preschool classroom setup for special education.

FREEBIE:

This is the grid you see above, only blank.  I’ve included one with times and one without.  They are Microsoft Word so you can type directly into them.  I merge cells in schedules like the one above to show activities that incorporate multiple students are multiple time periods.  If anyone would like to me to do a tutorial on that at some point, let me know and I”m happy to!  As with all the schedules I have described, I fill in the nonnegotiables (PE, Lunch) first and then create the schedule for the more complex student(s).  Then I schedule everyone else around them.  Don’t forget the steps of setting up the schedule when using the form–click the apple below for a post about the steps.  Click here to download the freebies!
Next I’ll share some pictures and floor plans of classrooms.

For more pictures of classroom setups, check out our book on setting up classrooms.  Lots of pictures and examples for different types of classrooms! That’s an affiliate link–a small commission for me but same price for you!

 

Until next time,

4 thoughts on “Back to School: Setting up Classrooms for Students with Autism #2: Schedule Part 4”

  1. I just thought you should be aware that your freebie also included a personal document: corrected IRB, etc, and that you might want to remove this. Thanks for the freebie. I might need that tutorial since technology and I are only acquaintances, and not fast friends. Thank you!

  2. You are welcome!I don't need that tutorial after all. I used the little eraser to get rid of lines. I want to thank you again for this freebie. I used your template without the times to create a schedule for the first day/week of school and it feels so good to get that finished since it has been weighing on my mind!! The template was incredibly easy to use and I color coded it according to who will be working with the student. I plan to use an audible timer since our middle school has weird times for our class periods . Any recommendations? Thanks again!!

  3. I'm so glad it was helpful. I like the Westinghouse timers or any timer that continues to beep until I turn it off. But I tend to be absent minded and if it goes off and I'm in the middle of something but shuts itself off on its own, I tend to forget it. I just steer clear of egg timers because the ding is often too soft and too fleeting.

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