Strategy: Posting and Using a Schedule

Check-Up Menu > Posting and Using a Schedule

Posting and using a daily schedule is a helpful step toward developing a successful classroom structure. A schedule allows your students to be familiar with the various routines and activities that occur daily in the classroom. Children (and adults) like predictability. Having a schedule that you follow each day provides this predictability for your students.
People are creatures of habit. Once we understand and practice a routine, it can become engrained in what we do without even really having to think about it. Providing a visual for students of the expected routines and schedule helps to remind them of the expectations for daily occurrences in the classroom. This can also help minimize time for transition between activities and therefore lead to more time for classroom instruction.
How Posting and Using a Schedule Relates to CARES
By providing students with an environment that is predictable, you are enforcing a safe and comfortable classroom climate. When students are not surprised by routines that continuously change, they can attune to more important classroom activities. When transitions become seamless in the classroom, there will be more time available for not only academic instruction, but also for opportunities to engage more with students in ways that help you connect authentically with them. When you provide students with a visual reminder of the routines and schedule by posting those in the room and also provide verbal reminders, you are meeting the needs of different types of learners.
Some key elements for effectively posting and using a daily schedule:
1) The schedule is taught and reviewed with the students. The schedule may be reviewed each day at the start of the day.
2) The schedule for the day is posted in an area where students and visitors to the classroom can easily view it.
3) The posted schedule is developmentally appropriate. For instance, the wording is appropriate, and the schedule provides visual images as well as words for younger children who may not read well.
4) The schedule accurately reflects the schedule for each day of the week.
5) When changes to the schedule occur, students are informed in advance. When possible, changes are discussed at the start of the day or well in advance of the change.
6) About 80% of the day is allotted to instructional activities. In addition, the activities throughout the day provide a balance of teacher-directed, independent, and group work activities. It is best to schedule independent and peer group work directly after teacher-led instruction.

How To

How to Develop, Post, and Follow a Schedule

First, develop a schedule that is developmentally appropriate, accurate, predictable, and that allocates 80% or more of the day to academic instructional activities (see the elements of an effective daily schedule above).

Next, create a visual representation of the schedule that can be easily seen and understood by students and explicitly communicates your expectations each day. Then, teach the schedule to the students.

If your schedule changes across days, you may consider using a system that allows you to easily change information. For instance, using a display holder that allows you to slide different content in and out depending on the day.

When teaching students, you may say something like:

Quotation Mark
Here is our daily schedule. This schedule is a plan for what we will be doing throughout the day. As a class, we are expected to follow it as closely as possible. If at any time you are unsure about what you should be doing, please use the schedule as your guide.
Example Video:
Reviewing the Schedule

Video Prompts: 

  • Notice how this teacher reviews the schedule for the day with the students first thing in the morning.
  • This teacher demonstrates writing in cursive (a skill the class is working on) while going over the schedule.
  • She also provides opportunities to respond (see Increasing Opportunities to Respond) by asking them to read the words as she writes them.
  • What did you like about how the teacher reviewed the schedule for the day?
  • How could this be helpful to students?
  • How might you incorporate a review of the schedule into your mornings?
Examples of Posted Schedules:
Posting and Using a Schedule - Example 1
Posting and Using a Schedule - Example 2

Strategy Tool

Posting and Using a Schedule - Strategy Tool
Use the strategy tool to create and teach a daily schedule to your students to start the year off right.


Posting and Using a Schedule - Reflection
Take a moment to reflect on whether the plan you have developed for posting and using a schedule will work.

Goal Setting

Posting and Using a Schedule - Goal Setting 1
Use the following goal sheet to monitor student understanding and use of the schedule.
Posting and Using a Schedule - Goal Setting 2
Use the following goal sheet to monitor prompting for students to transition to the next activity.


Concentration Areas: Connection to the Curriculum; Authentic Relationships; Reflective Thinking About Cultural, Racial/Ethnic, and Class Differences; Effective Communication; Sensitivity to Students’ Culture

What is CARES?

CARES is an acronym for the five domains that research has found to be successful in engaging students of culturally diverse backgrounds at school. Each letter refers to a significant element of interaction within the classroom. Applying all five domains of CARES works because it promotes a better understanding of students and ourselves by using strategies that deepen those relationships every day.

There is no single element that works independently of the others. All five CARES domains, together with the Positive Behavior Supports & Classroom Climate elements, support one another and need to be applied in the classroom to be successful.

Why is it important?

Research has shown that each of the five CARES domains has a significant impact on students and their behavior when used regularly and over time. Students who are known and understood by their teachers as individuals in the classroom report deeper connections academically and to their school. When teachers understand their own cultural heritage, they better understand the differences between themselves and their students and report higher levels of mutual respect with students. This also helps teachers to recognize the similarities they share with their students as well as recognize ways in which they are different. Students are more connected and engaged in classrooms where teachers welcome exploration; invite, acknowledge, and celebrate cultural differences; make relevant connections to the curriculum; listen attentively to understand how each student is approaching the concepts; and use humor and other effective communication tools.

Positive Behavior Supports & Classroom Climate

Concentration Areas: Smooth Transitions, Pacing of Instruction, Student Engagement, Clear Expectations, Use of Praise, Use of Reprimands, Level of Disruptive Behavior

What is Positive Behavior Supports & Classroom Climate?

Positive Behavior Supports refers to the proactive ways that teachers work with their students, as well as the ways that teachers respond to challenging situations with students. The focus is on recognizing and affirming student strengths rather than punishing them or taking something away from them. A positive approach to the classroom will promote a classroom climate that is welcoming to all students and is a place where students want to engage with the teacher, each other, and the curriculum. All individuals, students and teachers, and the interactions between and amongst all classroom members play a role in the climate.

There is no single element that works independently of the others. All Positive Behavior Supports & Classroom Climate elements, together with the CARES domains, support one another and need to be applied to the classroom to be successful.

Why is it important?

In a classroom climate that is positive and welcoming to all members, the classroom becomes a safe place where culture and diversity can be openly discussed. A supportive climate is one that promotes student engagement and success. Students feel supported and motivated to be an active member of the classroom community. The teacher taking a positive and proactive approach creates a climate of care and respect and promotes desired student behaviors. This classroom is also a place that provides consistency to students, which is especially important for students who may experience stress and uncertainty outside of the school building. Teachers who have positive and proactive classrooms report fewer disruptive behaviors from their students, an increase in student achievement, and better overall perceptions of school climate.

Posting and Using a Schedule

CARES Overview

Greeting Students at the Door

Using Journals to Build Relationships

Identifying Reinforcers for the Classroom

Using Social and Emotional Coaching

Using Behavior-specific Praise

Using Active Supervision

Using Group Contingencies

Using Precorrection

Teaching Behavior Expectations

Providing Academic Feedback

Increasing Opportunities to Respond

Developing and Using Clear Academic Objectives

Coaching Process – Menu of Options

Coaching Process – Providing Feedback

Coaching Process – Introduction and Overview

Observation Practice 4

Observation Practice 3

Observation Practice 2

Observation Practice 1

Using an Attention Signal

Teaching Classroom Routines

Physical Classroom Structure

Values Card Sort – Example

Card Sort Introduction

Coaching – Interview Guide

Opening the Meeting

Defining and Teaching Classroom Rules

Mrs. James

Miss Faber

Double Check Classroom Check-Up Overview