Teacher Tuesday: Picture Schedules!

Happy Teacher Tuesday!

Today I want to share something that I came up with last year and used on a daily basis. At the time, I was teaching students with multiple disabilities, and all of my students had sensory processing needs. On top of that, nearly all of them had visual needs and limited fine motor skills.

When it came time to create our classroom schedule, a list on a wall just wasn’t going to cut it for me. I wanted to come up with a way to involve my students and ensure that they could actively participate when we talked as a class about our schedule and daily activities. I also wanted to have a schedule that was versatile and allowed the students to understand the transitions we were making throughout the day. Here’s what I came up with:

Tactile Picture Schedule Baskets!

Here’s how it worked:

I bought several baskets from the Dollar Store. They came in packs of 3 for $1 each. I had six students so I bought enough baskets for them each to have a white one and a green one. (Twelve baskets at $1 for 3 = $4 total. Definitely worth it!)

I printed out a small sign to attach to the front of each basket. The white basket’s sign said “It’s time for . . .” and the green basket’s sign said “I am finished with . . .”

Next, I created visual representations of all of our major activities, starting with our morning routine. I first cut out strips of black construction paper. I then printed out Boardmaker symbols for each of the major tasks we complete each morning. I laminated the symbols and attached them to the top of the strip of black paper. I then found a real-life, concrete example of each activity and Velcroed it to the bottom of the paper, which allowed the students to pull it off if they wanted to explore the object closely. The end result looked like this:

For “meal time,” I attached a real plastic fork identical to the ones the students ate with. For my students who used a feeding tube for meals, I used an extra feeding tube in place of the fork to make it applicable to them.

For “wipe face,” I attached a piece of a real wipe identical to the ones we use after meals.

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For “brush teeth,” I attached a dollar store tiny toothbrush, and for “comb hair,” I attached a dollar store comb.

 

As we went through our morning routine, we would show the students the picture and object for each task. The students had a chance to touch and feel each object. When we started a task, the picture went into the white basket. When we finished a task, the picture went into the green basket. Some students were able to move the picture from one basket to the other independently. I think this provided a great transition visual!

As tasks finished, we allowed the students to stack the tasks in the green basket so they could see how much we had already done.

I also created strips for our daily “specials” classes.

This one was a little more difficult to come up with concrete objects for, but I’m very pleased with the results!

For “arts and crafts,” I used pieces of Model Magic, which my students frequently use in art class.

For “P.E.” class, I used a small plastic ball identical to the ones they sometimes use in the gym.

For “music” class, the music teacher did me a HUGE favor and lent me some small instruments (small maracas and bells) that he didn’t use anymore. I Velcroed these on so we could still pull them off and use them for musical activities in class.

For “library”, I found tiny board books (at a thrift store for cheap! Whoohoo!) and attached them to the strip.

“Guidance” class was the hardest for me to come up with a concrete object. I finally settled on a giant fuzzy ball. The guidance teacher often used these as visuals for feeling “warm and fuzzy” and also for rewards in class. It was something my students were used to seeing in guidance and no where else so it worked out perfectly! (I’d also like to note that there wasn’t a good picture for “guidance” in terms of attending a class, so I used another picture and wrote in “guidance” at the top. This was in the best interests of my students’ learning and understanding.)

I should mention that I did a picture strip of everything for EACH student. I had six library strips, six music strips, etc. It was exactly what I wanted: a simple way to keep my students actively engaged and allow them to access the schedule and understand what was going on in their surroundings. It was also a great visual way to teach transitions.

You could do this for an infinite number of school activities (recess, calendar time, subjects like math, science, etc. The list goes on and on!) It takes some work but it is worth it in the end!

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Today’s teaching outfit:

Cardigan: Old Navy

Dress: American Eagle

Cami underneath: Express

Tights: Express

Boots: Payless

Necklace & bracelet: Lia Sophia

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