Kids are consistently asking what time it is (even when they can’t tell time). One of the simplest ways to solve this problem is to display a classroom schedule they can understand and read. See how simple it is to display a classroom schedule that helps with transitions and the flow of the classroom atmosphere!
How to Set Up and Organize a Classroom Schedule
Many students are visual learners. They may process things orally but gain more understanding when they can also look at something. And teachers appreciate visuals to help with instruction. A visual aid is one of the most effective ways of getting a point across and supporting students.
One example of this is using a visual schedule. You can tell a child all day when lunch is, but they won’t fully understand until they see it posted with picture examples or a clock in front of them.
This post helps illustrate the importance of having a classroom schedule, how to set up and organize, and how to effectively use it to support students.
Table of contents
- How to Set Up and Organize a Classroom Schedule
- Ideas and Strategies to Help!
- Ways to Set Up A Classroom Schedule
- Try Using This Resource Instead of Making Your Own
- FREE Fast Finishers Activities
- More Time Management Ideas & Activities
What is a Visual Schedule and Why is it Important?
A visual schedule is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a schedule that shows students when the events of the day will occur. Sometimes these elements are moveable and sometimes they are written by hand. The schedule may provide both words and images for students who can’t read well.
A posted schedule allows students to see when the next day’s events are happening without having to interrupt the lesson. If they are curious about when recess is, they can peek at the schedule to see what comes next. It’s like crossing off a to-do list for kids!
When to Use a Visual Schedule
The purpose of a visual schedule is to use it all day, every day. Many elementary teachers use a schedule that they can check off or move around as the day progresses. They even have a calendar leader or scheduler classroom job who moves the pieces or clips to show where students are in the lessons.
Here’s a list of when you may need to use a schedule.
- Back to school – Use the schedule at the start of the year to introduce the kids to how each day will go.
- Morning Meeting – Display the schedule and review it each day (especially when there are changes) so the kids aren’t surprised.
- Assemblies – Let kids know when assemblies are by popping them into the daily schedule!
- Center time – Help kids with class routine transitions by checking off the centers they have been to and pointing to where they will go next.
- Snack or Lunchtime – Kids always want to know when meal times are, so make sure these are included in your schedule. This way, they don’t have to ask a million times each day.
- Recess – This is another daily activity the kids look forward to. Use the schedule cards to show them when this active time of the day will take place.
- Specials and Extracurriculars – Make sure to add P.E., Art, Language, Music, Technology, and other extras to the schedule.
- Home – Always end the schedule when they go home so they aren’t anxious about that time of day.
- Use for kids with IEPs – A personal schedule will help these students understand the times of day and any special activities they need to attend.
- Desk schedules – Give kids their own schedules to have at their desks so they can check them off and keep track independently.
Ideas and Strategies to Help!
Implement a schedule helper! Assign this super important classroom job to a student each week. The child will move the pieces of the schedule, cross off completed tasks, or move the clip to show where they are in the day. This will help the whole class see what’s next and move transitions forward more easily.
Laminate your schedule cards! This makes the pieces durable, so you can use them all year and for multiple years. Plus, having a laminator on hand is essential in a primary classroom.
Display in a prominent spot! Make sure you choose a space that students will see every day. Avoid hiding it behind other things. A whiteboard, pocket chart, or bulletin board are great options!
Ways to Set Up A Classroom Schedule
There are many great ways to set up a classroom schedule for students. Here are a few ideas that will work in your classroom.
- Have students help – This not only builds classroom community but helps the kids see when certain lessons happen throughout the day.
- Display in a Pocket Chart – Putting the schedule pieces in a pocket chart allows you to move the pieces as needed. Switch them around if you must adjust the schedule due to an assembly or a half day!
- Magnetize the Pieces – Using adhesive magnets, stick the day’s events up on your whiteboard! You can post the schedule and move things around, which is ideal for a school setting.
- Give Out Personal Schedules – Print the classroom schedules with little checkboxes next to each task. Laminate the cards, attach them to student desks, and let kids check off the day’s events as they go!
Try Using This Resource Instead of Making Your Own
Get your own editable schedule cards to display in the classroom! This resource provides a variety of options for displaying a classroom schedule.
You’ll get editable student checklists that students can use at their seats as well as posters and headers for a schedule displayed on the wall.
The download also comes with clocks and checkmarks to help kids follow along. Not to mention, there are different size card options, so you can use them on the whiteboard, on student desks, or in pocket charts!
Classroom Schedule Resource
Try the Class Schedule Resource by Proud to be Primary. It includes 60 editable schedule cards in different printable sizes. Also included are clocks and check marks so students can follow along during the day, as well as student schedules they can store in their desks. Use the posters and headers to make a beautiful schedule in one corner of your classroom and make transitions a breeze!
FREE Fast Finishers Activities
Every classroom has students who finish their assignments a little before the rest. Have these fast-finisher activities on hand to keep them occupied while you help other students complete their tasks. You can even add the fast-finishers to the schedule to show appropriate times to use them!
Click the image below to grab a copy.
More Time Management Ideas & Activities
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