Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Picture Schedules

Picture schedules are nothing new in education.  But they are much easier to make, with online clip art and digital media at your fingertips!
In my First Grade class, I have our daily schedule on the board.  Some people put up generic schedule items, my style is to list things fairly specifically.  I just find that it give my students a very clear picture of what is to come.  We preview our schedule at the beginning of the day, during our Class Meeting and then we review it and check it off frequently throughout the day. (Some years my class has needed to check it off after each thing, some years, they are satisfied to do it only three or four times a day… I adjust to meet their needs.)  It only takes a minute and it really does help your students with attention, behavior and focusing difficulties. 

 In my school district, we are required to have content and language objectives posted.  I keep mine right next to the schedule to help me remember to use them. J

In addition to my schedule on the board, I have had many students that have needed their own picture schedule. I literally took my schedule and shrunk the pictures down to the desired size to create the student picture schedule.  Not every student needs this, although they all really want their own. 

The schedule is made with Velcro on each agenda item and then two long strips of Velcro on two different colors of laminated posterboard. (I use green
for what we have to do and then they move it to black for where it goes when it’s done.  My original schedule was green and red, but if you use the “Red and Green Choices” behavior system (recommended for children with Autism, the coloring doesn’t work.)

There is a lot of explicit instruction that needs to happen when you introduce the picture schedule to your student.  Here are some examples of things you need to have thought through well enough to share with them:

·         What the purpose of their schedule is

·         When, how and who will move the items from the green to the black (In my class, this is the individual students responsibility- when they finish something, they move the card... no other students get to move them.)

·         Who will be responsible for keeping the schedule updated ad ready for each day (In my class this is my job.  I reset the schedule and make necessary adjustments.)

The more explicit your direction, the more likely your student is to have success with it.  It really is a powerful tool. It provides students with a sense of security and structure as well as control.  (I like to say that I give my students control on my terms- meaning, they get the sense of control and choice, while I am structuring it and keeping them in line with my expectations.)

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