Scheduling! I’ve been meeting this challenge every September of my career with varying degrees of success. By success, I mean that the schedule I set actually stays in place for more than 2 weeks because, yes, we all know that one kid signing up for trombone lessons or one parent stating “you can’t take my child out of math” can start a cascade of changes. To me, that means a workable scheduling system not only works well the first time, but also allows for easier and inevitable modifications. As indispensable as stickie notes are, I’ve never found them to work well for this purpose. For one thing, even using the smallest of stickie notes still makes for a rather large array, and I do better when I can view the week at an 8.5″ x 11″ glance.
This year I tried something new. With my nifty wipe-off pocket and a letter-coding system, I was able to organize and schedule with a minimum of fuss, and was very pleased with the results. Here’s how I did it:
- On my trusty yellow legal pad, I made list (and checked it at least twice!) of all of the students on my caseload, arranged by grade, and noted their need (artic, grammar, etc.) and number of sessions.
- Then, on another page, I grouped these kiddos as individuals, pairs, or trios.
- Once I double-checked that I had all of the students and their sessions accounted for in my groupings, I labeled the groups “A, B, C….”
- With a blank schedule slipped in the wipe-off pocket and the school-wide lunch and specials schedule in hand, I started plugging the groups into the schedule with a wipe-off marker. As changes needed to be made, it was easy to wipe off and move the group labels around — so much easier than crossing out or erasing names on a paper schedule. And it was easy to check to make sure that I didn’t miss anyone in the process; all I had to do was go through the ABC’s!
- When the schedule was completed, I notified the teachers of the assigned times for their students, made a few tweaks per their request, and it was done. I then typed the students into the schedule I use on a daily basis.
- I noted the tweaks on the wipe-off schedule and put it aside, along with the grouping page I made in step #2. When changes come up that require multiple groups to be moved, I can pull these out and work from there.
The photo was taken the first week of school. Those blanks you see — well, they are all filled in now with new referrals.
What scheduling system works for you??