In this post we’ll cover decisions to make and all the things to consider as you create your daily classroom schedule. Setting up a daily schedule at the beginning of the year is a bit like putting together a puzzle. It can be tricky to make all the pieces fit together. And it may take some trial and error to work out the perfect schedule for your classroom that also fits everything in.
Before we start, it’s important to know that every state, district, and even some schools, have their own mandated number of minutes for some subjects to be taught daily and weekly. Every school is different, and every classroom has different needs. What works for some classrooms may not work for others. These ideas are meant to be just that, ideas. Ideas to help you plan a daily schedule that works for your specific classroom, grade level, and your students.
How to Make A Daily Classroom Schedule
Some parts of your schedule will be planned for you and those are usually non-negotiable and out of your control. Examples are specials time (Music, Art, Library, PE, etc.), recess, lunchtime, and possibly intervention time or RTI.
When planning your schedule, the first thing to consider is when you will have a set amount of uninterrupted time for your reading block and math block. Everything else fits around those two blocks, your specials, and your lunchtime. As I said, it’s like fitting together a puzzle!
You’ll also want to incorporate time for classroom routines. Consider these activities:
- Will you need time in your schedule for arrival routines and morning meetings?
- Do your students do bell work when they arrive?
- What kind of transition time will students need after returning from lunch or recess?
- How much time will you need for your dismissal routine at the end of the day?
Scheduling Your Reading Block
In second grade a reading block typically lasts 120 minutes and includes a quick grammar minilesson, phonics, reading comprehension strategies, literacy centers and writing. It’s a lot to fit in and manage. Reading blocks are best scheduled in the morning when students are fresh, with subjects that are more hands-on, like science and math, scheduled toward the end of the day.
As you plan your reading block, consider these questions:
How will you divide your uninterrupted time between whole group instruction and meeting with small groups?
Where will you build in time at the beginning of the week to introduce and explain new centers activities or routines?
Think of Your Schedule as a Classroom Routine
Having a predictable daily or weekly schedule becomes one of your classroom routines. Students know what comes next, what they will need, and what will be expected of them at any point during the day.
Scheduling Your Math Block
In second grade a math block typically lasts 70-90 minutes. This is protected time that is uninterrupted and usually begins with about 20-30 minutes of whole group, direct instruction followed by about 40 minutes of small group guided work, interventions, and/or math stations. It’s important to keep in mind that just like a reading block, a math block can look very different from district to district.
As you plan your math block, consider these questions:
- How will you divide your time between whole group instruction and meeting with small groups?
- Will you schedule time for math stations? If so, how often? Daily, weekly, only on Fridays?
How to Create A Visual Classroom Schedule
What is a visual schedule? A visual schedule is a classroom display with subjects, events, and times on cards that is usually posted at the front of the classroom for students to reference throughout the day. This type of schedule uses schedule cards, clocks templates, and pictures that act as a predictable routine and aids with transitions.
Schedule cards. Schedule cards are printed, or hand-written cards that show the sequence of events taking place every day. The cards usually have a subject area written on them. Some schedule cards have picture cues included on the card.
Schedule cards with clocks. For older primary grades and elementary schedules, you may wish to add clock images to the schedule cards. Of course, this may not work for younger students who don’t yet know how to read an analog clock.
Free Daily Classroom Schedule Templates
Try this free online class schedule maker from Adobe Express to create your own class schedule in minutes. The site has lots of templates to choose from and you can customize your favorites using either a print or digital format. I quickly made this one, in about five minutes, as an example. You can chcange the color pallette, backgroound, fonts and more.
Sample Classroom Schedules for Primary Grades
Sample Classroom Schedule 1
8:10-8:30: Arrival, bell work
8:30-9:10: Whole group instruction/ reading minilesson
9:10-10:00 Reading workshop
10:15-11: Writing workshop
11:30-12:30: Recess & Lunch
12:30-1:50: Math lesson/math groups/ math stations
1:50-2:05: Chapter book read aloud
2:05-2:45: Science/Social Studies
2:45-2:30: Clean-up/ dismissal routine
Sample Classroom Schedule 2
8:10 – 8:30 Student arrival
8:35 – 8:50 Bell work
8:50 – 9:10 Morning meeting
9:10 – 10:10 Math workshop
10:10 – 10:30 Recess
10:30 – 11:30 Reading workshop
11:30 – 11:50 Phonics/vocabulary/grammar
11:50 – 12:00 Homework handout/collection
12:00 – 12:45 Lunch
12:45 – 1:05 Read aloud/Silent reading
1:05 – 1:40 Writing workshop
1:40 – 2:30 Science/Social studies
2:30 – 2:50 Clean-up/Dismissal routine
Be Consistent, Yet Flexible
Consistency is key when it comes to maximizing your teaching time. You’ll still need to be flexible however, as things will come up that can potentially change your schedule. Field trips, special events, field day, or an assembly may create a need to move things around. And it’s perfectly okay when you need to. You may not get to everything every day and that’s okay too!
Having a solid classroom schedule allows you to get more done, reduces stress, and gives your students a consistent routine. I hope these tips and ideas are helpful as you plan your daily classroom schedule this year. Save this post for later so you have it when you plan!