Do you follow a schedule? Whether or not you do, it can be helpful for you student to have one. Older students can follow a written schedule or checklist, but pre-reading and early readers might benefit from a visual schedule, especially one they can manipulate. Let me explain.
When I worked with students with autism, one of the methodologies we followed was TEACCH which focused on providing structure and increasing independence in all areas of learning. It reduced anxiety about uncertainty and decreased inappropriate behaviors around unpreferred activities because they could visually see when their favorite activities were coming up. These principles work well with all students, but especially young ones who are still developing learning habits.
I don’t know about you, but some days I feel like the predominant questions I answer are When is recess? When is Lunch? When am I done? When is Science? (favorite subject) Using a visual schedule can answer these questions for you. Students will know exactly when recess/lunch is, when their favorite subject it, and how much more work there is until the end of the day.
Our Visual Schedule
Let’s take a look at the visual schedule I designed for my students!
Each task has its own card. I put magnets on the back of mine so that they can be used on my white board, but you can use velcro on a laminated sheet of construction paper. Each card has the task in written and picture form. If your student isn’t reading yet, that is ok. They will come to attach meaning to the picture. But, even if they aren’t reading yet, exposing them to the words within context will strengthen their literacy skills over time.
Each card has a clock on it where you can write the time in, if you are time-structured. I laminate first then use a wet-erase marker to draw in time (that way little fingers don’t accidentally wipe off the time). If the schedule changes, it is just a matter of wiping with wet wipe and re-writing. If you don’t want to be held to a time-table, no problem. Cut off the clock and use the cards more like a checklist. You can order them if you prefer or empower your student with some control over their day and have them order the tasks that need done that day. I also like to “chunk” parts of the schedule into more manageable parts: the morning schedule is lined up and the afternoon schedule is on the its side. It helps the school day not seem too daunting.
Putting the visual schedule away from the student’s desk provides a much needed motor break. It is only a short break, but one that helps minimize a bad case of the wiggles.
Summary of Benefits
- Helps students know when their favorite subjects are and when breaks are.
- Helps increase attention on the task-at-hand in order get to their favorites quicker.
- Helps minimize bad attitudes
- Works on time-telling and word recognition for pre-readers
- Provides mini-motor breaks to minimize the ‘wiggles’
- Helps develop independent work habits
- Helps develop good time management skills
Download free schedule pieces here.
But will kids like it? YES! Mine do anyway. When I asked ZooKid if he liked it, he replied, ‘It looks awesome!” They love knowing exactly what is expected, and they LOVE removing the finished tasks and visually seeing their ‘to do’ list get smaller and smaller. In the long run, it helps our students develop healthy time management skills that will benefit them in college and into adulthood. I would love to see your visual schedules at work. Comment below and perhaps upload a picture!
Till Next Time,