Let’s be honest, creating special education schedules can be terrifying, overwhelming, exhausting and time-consuming. This daunting but yet oh so important task often becomes the bane of sped teachers existence.
There just seems to be SO much that needs to go into it. Needing your building master schedule, needing your grade level schedule, your individual cooperating teacher schedule (and PRAY that your coop teacher is not making their own schedule within the master schedule that doesn’t match what everyone else is doing), therapy schedules, and of course your IEP minutes. And IF you’re one of the lucky ones (note sarcasm) who travel to multiple buildings then that throws another curveball into the mix.
But, it need not be this way!
Here are some easy steps to developing your special education schedule that is first and foremost, a reflection of your student’s minutes (because let’s be honest again, that is what it always comes down to) AND allows you to have some time kid-free.
So, where do we start?? With materials.
Things you need:
Schedules~ Master Schedule, Grade Level Schedule (if different than the Master Schedule), Individual Teacher Schedules, and Weird Day Schedules (Late Start, Early Release, PD Day, etc)
IEP Minutes/Locations (SpEd vs RegEd)
Computer or Paper <– I’m old school and want to be able to write my schedule down first before I type into a document. But, maybe you want to type yours. Whatever your heart fancys. <3
- Whether on your computer or on paper, create a table that breaks your day apart. Ideally, you want to break your day apart by 15 or 30-minute increments.
- Next, I like to start with the grade level of students in which I have the most of. So for example, if I have 8 first graders, 2 fourth graders, and 2 fifth graders, I would make my first graders schedule first. Another note to add, I would block out the first grade plan time and teacher lunch time, as “my time.”
- Next, figure out and label within the schedule what I like to call, your “Non-Negotiables.” A “non-negotiable” is something that can not be touched within the schedule, meaning KID-FREE. Example, students eat lunch is a “non-negotiable.” Other examples, can include recess, specials or elective classes, specific related services times, teacher plan time and teacher lunch. Here is an example from Mrs. D’s Corner.
- Then, start plugging your kids and their times in. You will want to make sure that your schedule follows the Master schedule and your cooperating teacher schedules pretty closely. It is difficult to service a child for Math Skills during their classroom ELA block. And while sometimes we have to resort to that, I always encourage trying to find a path.
- Once all your students are within your schedule, start analyzing and ask yourself the following questions:
- Am I meeting my minutes?
- Does this schedule allow for the most direct instruction to my students? (Be conscientious of transitions and interruptions! The more of these you have, the less instruction you have!)
- Are my “non-negotiables” safe? Did I leave them alone?
Lastly, remember that your schedule IS and ALWAYS will be a work in progress, changing and needs to stay flexible. NEVER laminate your schedule (haha, I did this my first week of teaching #firstyearteacherprobs).
Check out some of these resources to help with the task of sped scheduling and YOU CAN DO THIS!