The importance of a daily class schedule is relevant not only to the teacher in charge of daily learning, but also to the students in the classroom who are expected to be active participants in that structure.
Having a classroom system that has been explained and is displayed somewhere prominent in the classroom will be the difference between students who are whining about when they are moving on to the next activity versus students who already know they only have 5 minutes left until they move on to something else.
It doesn’t matter whether you have fourth grade students or preschoolers – consistency in the procedures are vital to classroom organization and setup.
Luckily Organized Classroom has you covered with setting up a simple visual overview they will love.
There is a free printable visual below and I explain the steps I use to create and display my elementary classroom daily schedule too! Keep reading to find out more.
We have had some discussions on the fan page lately about classroom schedules.
I started thinking about brand-new teachers and how they may not have a clue about setting up a schedule (if that liberty is given to them), so I will walk you through how I have always done my set up! (PS – my way is not necessarily the “right” way, but it is my way which has always worked for me.)
How Do you Set Up a Daily Classroom Schedule?
1. First, I start with my start and ending times of the school day on a sheet of paper (or even on a handy printable – see below).
2. Next, I fill in my specials times, lunch times, recess, and any other times (such as computer, speech, gifted resource, etc.) that may pertain to my class that year. Those are usually not up to me but are rather handed down from above.
3. From that point, I usually want to cry because I realize how little time I have to teach. But, I digress – I go ahead and fill in my reading block first thing for in the morning (even if there is a break in between). Depending on the district, it could be anywhere from 60-120 minutes, including writing and/or independent reading.
4. After that, I try to find an uninterrupted block of 60 minutes (or as close to it as possible) for math.
5. Last, I try to piece in 30-45 minutes for science OR social studies (I have always rotated every other week or 2 with one or the other rather than trying to teach 20 minutes of each).
6. Finally, I make sure to include 10 minutes at the end of the day for packing things up as it always seems to get away from you if you aren’t prepared. And I make sure I have a 10-15 minute allotment somewhere in there for a read aloud – no matter what the grade level. It could be after recess, at the end of the day after packing up (that does tend to get them to move faster btw), or I have even done it first thing in the morning if I had specials shortly after the announcements.
Where Do you Display Your New Visual Template?
One option is to create your own custom mini pocket chart.
With this choice, you can display it on a central table – or even in the middle of a grouping of desks to save the dreaded “When are we done?” question constantly throughout the day. You could even choose to only display the current and next activity times for those students who struggle with the concept of how long something will last.
A second choice if your schedule seems to change on the daily due to specials, pull-outs, specialists, and other regular school events is to create a one-page printable for each day and place them on a pretty clipboard.
Hang the clipboard from a magnetic hook on the whiteboard or a removable hook attached to the wall that is in clear view of all students.
A third option is to display it right on a student desk. Grab the freebie printable below and tape right on student desks in the corner if needed as a visual reminder for the minute by minute plan while at school.
So there you have it – my version of how I tackle the dreaded daily schedule. It really gets hairy if you are trying to coordinate team-teaching with other members of your grade level or if you are a gifted/special ed resource who needs to work with multiple teachers and grade levels (I still have nightmares about those conversations. LOL).
How about a fun freebie to at least make it look pretty?
The best routine is honestly one that students know their role for that specific time period. While we all know that no day is typical and that there is usually some sort of schedule change on the daily, it is still important for students to have some sort of outline for how their day will go.
Having a blank or editable version of your schedule is particularly useful so you can make those tweaks as necessary to be able to display to students which makes it easier for them to adjust their expectations of the day as well.
Have fun scheduling!
This post originally appeared at Organized Classroom.