Tips For Creating A Schedule For The Self-Contained Classroom

Creating a schedule that works in a self-contained classroom can feel a little like swimming with a weighted backpack on... It is HARD! Today I am sharing some ideas that have worked very well in my classroom.


Here are tips for creating a schedule to reduce behaviors, increase on task behaviors and schedule therapies. These tips are designed for teachers who work in a self-contained special education program.

Design For Less Behaviors

Research has shown the benefits for adding movement into our classrooms. Adding in movement helps students self-regulate, improve learning and decrease off task behaviors. Put this research into practice by designing a schedule where students aren't at a "sitting" task for more than an hour. Make a list of the groups, lessons or tasks that you do in your classroom that involve some sort of movement. Here are a few examples from my schedule:

Morning Meeting

Write The Room

Walking Club

Count The Room

Recess

PT Group

P.E. Class

Once you have your list, you are going to sprinkle them through your daily schedule. Here is an example of what one of our days looks like:

Here are tips for creating a schedule to reduce behaviors, increase on task behaviors and schedule therapies. These tips are designed for teachers who work in a self-contained special education program.

In this example, we alternate sitting and moving based learning activities. Our morning work is mostly play based tasks such as legos, lincoln logs, linking people, watercolors, coloring, etc.

We also build tons of movement into morning meeting. Read more about our morning meeting tasks by clicking a post title below:








I don't really count snack as either movement or sitting, but you could add movement into a snack activity. For example, you could have students get up to request snack items (cup, utensil, snack, etc.) from a peer or have them prepare their own snack. 


I count our quick writing time as movement because we spend parts of it out of our seat. For example, students are coming up to do Question Of The Day or we are sitting on the floor taking turns writing about our theme words on the dry erase board.


Read more about how we do this writing activity: Instruction In Mixed Level Groups.


Most of the time, we aren't moving a lot during our life skills group. I run this group with our social worker. It was a time when we focused on community skills, kindness, self-regulating behavior management, etc. Since we aren't doing a lot of movement, I sandwiched it between  2 times that we are: writing and P.E.

After P.E. we have 2 half hour time slots devoted to direct instruction. We do take a 3 minute break at in the middle for reinforcement, but I do not consider that enough "movement" time. You can read more about direct instruction/work centers by clicking the picture below:




Since math groups are after work centers, a "sitting" activity on Tuesdays, I make it a movement group. A HUGE favorite in my classroom is count the room. For this activity, students have to search the room or area to find picture cards that match their sheet. Once they are found, they have to count the number of items on the card and record it on their sheet.


We use the count the room activities that are included in our theme units. Each set comes in 2 levels, so all of my students can participate. It gets them moving and learning without me having to do extra work... WIN!!

Scheduling Therapies

If your students are like mine, then they have a lot of people who want to pull them from your room throughout the day. All of my students receive speech therapy and many also receive OT, PT, SW, Music Therapy, TVI, etc. While my students need these services, it can be challenging to get all of it in and still have them in the classroom for all of the things I need to teach them. 

Before meeting with a therapist to schedule students' therapies, decide which times you need to block out. For example, I don't allow students to be pulled during our work centers because it is a time when we do direct instruction and specifically work on IEP goals. To make sure I don't accidentally schedule a therapy during this time, I highlight the time on my scheduling grid. Here is an example:


Here are tips for creating a schedule to reduce behaviors, increase on task behaviors and schedule therapies. These tips are designed for teachers who work in a self-contained special education program.


Tip: teach your paras how to read your schedule and therapy grid, so you don't have to be interrupted when a therapist needs to reschedule.

I hope these ideas have been helpful!!

Here are tips for creating a schedule to reduce behaviors, increase on task behaviors and schedule therapies. These tips are designed for teachers who work in a self-contained special education program.


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