Battling the Scheduling Mayhem

In my classroom, I follow the structured “TEACCHing” model. I have the classroom broken down into lots of little centers.

I have 8 students. To help keep me organized and my students organized, I assign them a color that will stick with them throughout the time they spend in my classroom. Their schedule, schedule cards, binders, workboxes, and anything else that needs labeled is coded with this color for easy visual access (for the student and the teachers).

This color coded system really helped make scheduling a lot easier for me this year. To begin with schedules, I of course waited to get the schools “master” schedule to find out when my class would have specials (art, music, PE, etc.), lunch and recess. I also scheduling anything I knew that we would be doing daily, such as morning circle time, story time, snack time, rest time, and any other group times.

The rest of my allotted class time is designated to our centers. Since I have 8 students, we have 8 “required” centers that they rotate through daily. I used some good old math to factor how much time we would be able to spend at center during work times. Thankfully, we can have 20 minutes work rotations. This allows my students time to work and them time for their choice reward when they finish their work.

Here are my current classroom “required” centers:

-Teacher Time
-Language Station
-Writing Station
-Table Time
-Heavy Work
Here are our “choice centers,” where students can choose to go after they have completely finished their work center OR it is their scheduled “choice” time. 
-Bounce (Sensory Room)
-Chill Out (Reading Center)
-Sensory Bin (Sensory Tub)

Language Station
Cubby Area
Heavy Work
Play Area

Steps to how I completed our class schedule:

1. Look at school master schedule and create an excel spread sheet to determine when breaks can be given and how much time you have for work rotations.

Important questions to get answered ASAP:

-When does you class have lunch?
-Snack time?

2. After getting your caseload, determine how many “required” centers you will need, then divide up your work times to that number.

3. Make a schedule for your work rotations. I highly recommend using my “color” system if you can. It has helped me stay SO organized in scheduling and day to day in the classroom!

4. Print schedules for everyone in the class and have an “information station” for you and your TA’s. Last year, I didn’t have a teacher’s desk. Unfortunately, that left me a little unorganized, plus I had no wear to store important things like our main schedule, specials schedule, and other important information. This year, I have our Information Station in the corner. It is where all the schedules, class info, computers, printer, laminator, and teacher supplies are located. It’s a no kid zone. 🙂

If you have any questions regarding scheduling, please contact me!


  1. Erin Blecki on August 27, 2014 at 1:45 am

    I think I've come across this before, and I'm curious….could you explain what "heavy work" is a little more? I think it's exactly that right? Like physically heavy? Or am I really wrong? I feel like I've seen this before!! haha

    And I love the color coding idea! I color code each child's individual schedule, but love the idea of using the coding for literally everything!

    Creating & Teaching

  2. felkatz on August 27, 2014 at 3:50 am

    Do you have different grade levels in your class room?? i'm having the problem of scheduling all 8 of my students to go to their grade level rotations and inclusion. I have 2 (3rd grader-AU and 4th grader-ID) that can pretty much function going to Rotations (art, lib,pe,comp) on their own in the gen ed class but need an assistant for their gen ed time in science and social studies. The rest are pretty much need constant supervision(all different levels). So when my TA is out on rotations i have one group that is pretty good verbally etc and 2 that are non verbal etc.. Also i have to do my new curricullum that was given to use this year..which needs to be done on daily basis… ALso, have to make sure i get in all my GRADE LEVEL Standardized TESTERS(TX here we have STAAR -ALT for our LIfe skills kids) SO i ahve to teach each student 10 -STANDard TEKS per subject (which is Reading, math, writing) Oh yeah and I have 14 weeks to do this all.!!! LOL IDK but i'm going crazy trying to fit everything in.. I so much want to be able to do workstations … I feel like i can't accomplish all of this in a day!! Oh yeah also have to make sure i get all their IEPs in!!! LOL Is anyone out there in the same boat as I AM??

    • Anonymous on September 9, 2014 at 10:31 pm

      I understand I live in Texas and have 11 students with just one aid. My grades range from 1-5. The good news is this years STAAR ALT wont count. So get your classroom going and then try and work on those TEKS once the rest is hammered out. That will at least take one thing off your plate.

  3. kathy on August 27, 2014 at 10:31 am

    I always like to see how other teacher set up their classroom! We also use TEACCH and have 2 rotation blocks of time. One leads up to our lunch/recess block and the other begins after recess and goes to time for Related arts period. After related arts we have group theme time until dismissal. I would love to hear about your heavy work ideas. Our favorite one is a wagon filled with 2 liter bottles of colored water that students pull through the halls, opening the heavy glass doors to the glassed in "breezeways" as they go. Sometimes they move the bottles to the table in our room to peer through them and then put them back. We have also loaded a plastic tub with books for a child to move from one area to another.

    • Mrs. Dixon on September 5, 2014 at 1:25 am

      Kathy, I will be posting a FULL classroom tour this weekend!! 🙂

  4. Teach.Love.Autism on August 30, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    Thanks for sharing! I love your color coded system! I just thought the other day as I made a poster of my classroom schedule that using colors made sense! Thanks for all the ideas!

  5. Anonymous on September 9, 2014 at 10:05 pm

    Thanks! I love your classroom! Question: do your students do the work rotations in the same order everyday?

  6. Miss Lulu on September 15, 2014 at 2:05 am

    Scheduling is such a pain! I have 16 students this year and 9 paras. It took me 3 weeks to get my schedule finalized!!! I love your color coded system. I

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