Teaching Hack: The Visual Schedule
There’s nothing worse than setting students up for a task, only to be bombarded by a whole range of questions straight away…
“What do we do?”
“I don’t get it”
“Can I go to the toilet?”
“I don’t understand?”
“I’ve finished – what do I do now?”
“Can you help me?”
This can be particularly frustrating if you have other tasks you need to get done while they’re doing their activity, for example conducting a pre-test during Spelling Rotations or trying to listen to other students read during a Guided Reading rotation.
So, solution time!
I’ve created a Powerpoint template which I update each day, for each of the rotations and independent activities we do. I clearly write out the steps they need to do. Then, in the coloured bit down the bottom (in the same spot every time!) is what to do if you finish early. Along the side (in the same spot every time!) it either lists that I am available to help them, or to please not disturb me because I’m doing testing / reading / helping another student.
Right before they get started on the activity, I walk them through what I’ve written on the board to make sure they understand the task, and the extension task.
And then we all get to work!
The results have been wonderful so far!! By making the learning visible to the students, it helps them keep track of what they need to do. I think the consistency works well for them also – they always know where to look to find the information they need. And I’m finding I’m getting far less interruptions when working with other students!
I’ve made a template available here for you to download. There’s a couple sample slides so you can see how I like to use them, and also some template slides for you to update for your own class. All fonts, colours etc are completely customisable because it’s just a Powerpoint document!