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Schedules in a Middle School Autistic Support Classroom

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I am so excited to be able to talk about this, I am in a love/hate relationship with schedules, but most days I love them. I have a bunch of schedules that I use in my classroom and I think it is necessary to have them to keep my classroom running smoothly and keeping everyone (both students and staff) sane!

I plan on sharing a bunch of the schedules I use with you. Some you may use already in your classroom and others may help set off a lightbulb telling you that something like that would work in your room too!

The first schedule I make is my hard core instructional schedule. This has every minute planned for every student. I know you’re thinking, “Wait, she plans out every minute for all these kids? That’s a lot of work!” It is a lot of work but, in my eyes it is totally worth it because when Johnny starts to act up all one of the staff have to say to him is you shouldn’t you be working at life skills, point to their schedule, and most of the time (notice I said most) they will go right back to what they should be doing. The reason this works so well is because as we know students with autism love and rely on schedules and routine so I play off of that. There is no excuse to be off task when they have it right there in front of them showing them what to do.

middle school classroom schedule for autism

So, as you can see I took away the student names at the top but, normally they would be at top. Then along the side I have the period times (because I teach middle school and some of our day runs in coordination with the bell schedule like lunch and specials) and I also have real time broken into 15 minute increments. I have found 15 minutes works well because most students can at least work for that long or if they can’t you can build them up to that. If I had less students like in past years I have worked with some for 30 minutes because they could handle longer instructional time.

This schedule has lots of different components to our day. There is direct instruction time, para work time, and independent work time. I plan to get in more depth about each of these parts in a later post.

Another schedule I make is the one below. It is the paraprofessional and teacher schedule. So, just like the students there is no question about where each staff member should be. I even put in breaks for everyone.  Then we all get what we need and I don’t have to worry about my paras stressing out or missing their downtime. We all need breaks and down time so this schedule makes sure it happens.middle school classroom schedule for autism

middle school classroom schedule for autism

Here is the schedule that we use to know which work tasks each student is to complete that day. This is a life saver for the staff. Not only do I make this in advance but, we train one of the students to learn how to read it, find the velcroed numbers and letters and place them on the student desk Velcro strips  for the student to use during their specified work task time. It is a great reference tool if we want to check what work they might have completed already, check to see if anyone skipped work, and see if any kid is assigned the wrong task.

Well I hope I have you some things to think about when you are looking into making your schedules for this school year. Don’t get frustrated with me. I think I sat at my computer for 3 hours one day last trying to get them all done. And unfortunately, they will probably change 6 more times before it works for everyone. Just remember that schedules are essential to decreasing problems with both staff and students in the classroom.