Step 2 includes defining the purpose of a class schedule.
Looking at examples of master class schedules. 
Teachers will outline their master class schedules. 

Resources in this week's download include: 

- Class Set - Visual Schedule (Website) (TpT)
- TRP (Transitions, Routines & Procedures) Handbook (Website) (TpT)

Resources from previous steps: 

- Floor plan & zone plan from Week 1 (Website) (TpT)

Schedules state or show what a person is doing and when they should be doing it.  Schedules take an abstract idea like time and put it in a concrete, manageable form using pictures or words.  

With your master class schedule, all staff will know what is happening throughout the day with each other and with each student. Creating your master schedule won't be a one-and-done thing. It can take several schedule drafts to find the perfect fit for your class each year. 

We'll talk more about changes in schedule & schedule sabotage in future steps.

Let's go through a quick example: 

I signed up for an all-day training, that started at 8am. There's no end time for the training which is unusual... Once there, they didn't tell you when your lunch was and still didn't say what time you'd be done for the day. I'd suspect you'd be a little anxious, and frustrated, wouldn't you? 

Now, on a scale from 1 to 10, how important do you think schedules are for everyone (students and staff)?  

When building your master schedule, you can think of it as building a barndominium. I'm not a craftsman or have much knowledge of how to build a house. I do know you have to have a foundation. You need walls, a ceiling, doors, and windows. Then the inner walls and doors for the rooms. There's way more than that, but for our analogy, we're going to build our schedule using these pieces. 

In order to build our master schedule, we need to know a few key pieces. 

-The number of staff you have (full-time, part-time, private nurses, etc.)
-Student support/ratios from IEPs or profile sheets in Prep Week
-Non-negotiable items (eating times, bathroom, bus, therapy, specials, etc.)
-Campus bell/rotation schedule
-Your class floor plan with the stations and zones from Step 1

In steps 2 & 3, we'll be utilizing include the TEACCH method, task analysis, and chaining (forward and backward). I'll go over these terms as we go through the next 2 steps.

sticky note schedule

Back to our barndominium analogy, let's put down the foundation.
I used to plan my schedule out with sticky notes, as I became more proficient, I do my scheduling in excel or google sheets. Feel free to do what works for you, but to get started we need to know: 

Barndominium foundation is all about "time"

What are your campus hours? When are students allowed on campus? When does your staff clock in or begin working? 

You also need to know how students arrive and leave campus. Which students ride the bus, which students walk/bike, or are parent drop off and pickups? If you don't know this yet, jot it on the Beginning of the year checklist and find out at Meet the teacher! (see Prep Week for BOY checklist)

The transportation list is included in the B2S Workflow (download for free from my vault)

This is important because staff needs to be available to receive and dismiss students. Now we can start putting up our metaphorical 'barndominium walls.'  

non-negotiables make up the outside walls of our 'barndominium'

In step 1, I mentioned the TEACCH method. The TEACCH method establishes a routine. Routines are functional skills for individuals with autism and/or other disabilities. The routines involve checking one's schedule and following the established work system. Then the work system can generalize to inclusion classes, outside of school, and throughout the person's lifetime.

The challenge is building an individualized routine that meets the needs, and interests of each student. 

In reference to our barndominium, the 'walls' of our schedule include non-negotiable items. Non-negotiables are breakfast, snack, lunch, bathroom, therapy, core academics, recess/motor lab, transition, etc.

If you're not sure about your campus schedule, meet with your team lead or campus administration. Find out some of the times your class will have lunch and specials. For me these, are non-negotiable and we have to work around these times in our schedule. 

Specials / Electives

Now that I have my breakfast, lunch, snack, and specials times on the schedule, I add in staff lunches. I send a staff to eat before or after the students eat. I eat my lunch when the kids eat. Then I come out for recess duty and relieve another staff member to lunch. If I have more than 2 staff, I stagger them before or after lunch in 15-minute overlaps. 

Now I move on to specials...ugh. Specials are such a conundrum. I know they need it, but it is a struggle. Also, since it's my conference time, it's hard to plan and also deal with 'situations' that pop up while my class is in specials. It's also hard when staff are out without coverage. Then I cover for them, continuing the cycle of little to no planning time. My joke is...hmm, "conference, I don't know what that means!? Lol" Nonetheless, usually by the 2nd quarter, we are doing much better and I can get a solid 30+ minutes to plan and prep. 

How do you know if your students have specials or not? Check their IEP schedule page, it will tell you how many minutes of specials they should be receiving. And what supports need to be in place to help them succeed. 

Here are a few tips in regard to specials or electives. Depending on the length (ours is two 40minute blocks), you may want to split the special rotations. Having back-to-back specials classes is hard. Or having specials against lunch is difficult too. It's too long to be out with extra demands, less structure, and more stimulus.  I like to split up the time and try to go to specials, return to class, do some work, then go out and repeat the process. 

Before school starts, I also meet with the specials teachers. I collaborate with them, ensuring we have an area in their classroom where we can be comfortable and still take part as much as possible. You may have different students going to different specials locations. You'll need to group your students and staff up as best as possible to foster success. Check with the inclusion teachers, for us, the first week is pretty monotonous - rules, expectations, etc. The first week, we only go for 5-10 minutes each day the first week to get acclimated and find our seats. The ones that can attend the entire time, start full time the 2nd week of school. If other students can't attend the entire specials time we set a timer. We build up to 40 minutes. Each day starts with 5 or 10 minutes and builds up to 40 by the end of the 1st nine weeks. 


Don't forget about transition times! At the beginning of the year, plan for extra transition time. Put in a few more minutes than you think you'll need. This ensures you'll have plenty of time to get to different activities around campus without rushing. Also, use this extra time to reteach expectations during each transition.  
Determine a way to display your schedule so admin and guests can see what's going on.

When I started teaching, I created a TRP (transitions, routines, and procedures) handbook. I listed all the transitions, all the routines, and all the procedures from start to finish. I wrote down step by step what staff and students were to do so we could follow them step by step. This helped solidify the same steps with all staff so there wasn't any confusion in our class. 

TRP Handbook for easy outline and steps of transitions, routines & procedures in class.

Therapy times are not set in stone until a few weeks of school have gone by. After I create my skeleton schedule, I give a list of potential therapy times that to our related services staff. They can support our class or pull a small group during a time that is less disruptive. For my students, I've found therapy times most successful after eating (breakfast, snack, lunch), or earlier in the morning.

Lastly, we construct the instructional blocks with the time slots we have remaining

Now on to our core classes! If I have any students that have instruction in another classroom, I set that time up as that subject. For example, if Susan goes out for reading from 10-10:40am, my reading time is going to be 10-10:40am. How do you know if your students have this or not? Check their IEP schedule page. If they are with you for all instructional times, then feel free to put your core subjects in whichever open times you have available. If they are out in another setting for instruction, again, check with the team lead or admin to set up the schedule for that student. This situation would be like the non-negotiables we talked about above. 

I prefer to have calendar time and reading as early as possible in the morning. Math would be next, as soon as I can schedule it, then science, and social studies later in the day. The motor lab is each hour 10-15 minutes or planned for the students' sensory diet. 

Now it's your turn to create a schedule! 

This covers the majority of components of a self-contained schedule. 
1.  Find the start and end times of your school day. Find your staff work times. 
2. Figure out when and where students arrive and leave. 
3. Add in lunch, snacks, and specials. 
4.  Using the IEPs or profile sheets, note any non-negotiables that are in their schedules.  
5.  Finally, chuck what's left into the core subjects.
6. Voila! You have a rough draft of your schedule (that will change at least 5 more times before it's set in stone)!

The beginning of my excel/Google sheet schedule 

As always, let me know what questions, frustrations, or ah-ha moments you've come across! I'll see you in Step 3: Individual Schedules. Where we talk about rotations, task analysis, chaining, and navigating the master schedule you created today!
Grab all of these resources as part of the full bundle, or join my mentorship at "Kolo Says" to get the bundle, resources, and a longer, more in-depth video for this step. Find Step 1 on TpT.

Also, join the Facebook group for more discussion and support and the weekly emails for reminders in your inbox each week! 

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