I get very excited when discussion in the No Time For Flash Cards community about how to create a peaceful classroom environment brought up the idea of visual schedules. As a teacher, I have used visual schedules in the past, but for whatever reason, I haven’t used a visual schedule in my current classroom. A visual schedule for those of you new to this term is simply a schedule that is made up of pictures. These are fantastic tools for children to understand what to expect and to prepare for transitions. Transitions are by far the time when teachers notice the most disruptive and defiant behavior, and it’s not because children are naughty, it is because children aren’t prepared for the transition. One way we can help children with transitions, with behavioral expectations, and even separation anxiety is to have a visual schedule available. You can see the Facebook post here:
Tips for using visual schedules:
- Keep it simple. I have a lot of choices in my free printable schedule download, but that was to hit all the important parts of the day for a variety of my readers. Make sure you have all the important transitions you need but no extra. For example, if you read a story and do music at circle time you don’t have to have both photos on the schedule. Too many pictures will be just as overwhelming as not knowing what to expect.
- You don’t need to have it labeled. I labeled mine because I don’t have a ton of print in my class and I would like to add more. I have two versions of the printable for you with and without labels. You can print out the schedule with my labels, use the blank one or write in your own classroom’s terminology. Maybe you call circle time rug time or music song circle. Make this your own. See all the photos and labels here.
- If you don’t have room on a classroom wall after you laminate you can turn it into a flip book using binder rings. Make sure this flip book is accessible and in the same spot daily so that children can access it as needed.
- If you have more than one snack or mealtime, use one of the food pictures for every eating time in my unlabeled download. The consistency is comforting.
- Replace the stock photos with photos of your own students to make it that much more familiar. I will be doing this in the next week or two!
How to make a visual schedule.
Print the cards out here.
Labeled <— click to print free pdf
Unlabeled <— click to print free pdf
Cut so that each page makes three long rectangles.
Add to a pocket chart or sentence strip chart in your class. You may need multiple charts for your schedule.
Do you use a visual schedule in your classroom? Share how it works and any tips you may have in comments.