Many times mini-schedules are often forgotten about or go overlooked in our special education classrooms. Or maybe you think that daily schedules are enough!
Let me tell you why mini-schedules are so crucial for our kids.
The daily schedule tells students what to expect during the course of the day. Mini-schedules provide the students what to expect during a given center or activity. I know that this may seem like overkill, but I promise you that it is not.
I want to answer all of your questions on mini-schedules today!
What are mini-schedules?
mini-schedules just breakdown activities within the daily schedule and they are super helpful for students with autism. Students on the spectrum are visual learners, so having a breakdown for an activity will provide excellent support.
For example, the student goes to check his or her schedule and sees that the next thing on their daily schedule is a math center. Then, they go to that math center, but now they don’t know what to expect or what to do. If there is a mini-schedule provided, students will transition easier and more calmly.
Why do we need to use mini-schedules?
We need to be using mini-schedules with students with special needs because it provides students with just that extra support that they need to succeed. It doesn’t matter what it looks like as long as they know what’s coming next and when it will end. This will curb behaviors because a lot of times behaviors arise because when they get to the centers they don’t know what’s expected of them. They don’t know what behaviors are expected of them and they don’t know when the activity ends.
Where do I put mini-schedules?
I would tape a velcro strip or have a whiteboard handy at all times for the staff to have easy access to change the mini-schedules out for the students. Many times the same schedule would be used for all the students in the classroom if they are completing the same tasks.
What does a mini-schedule look like?
Once the student gets to a math center, the mini-schedule can look like a variety of different ways. It doesnt have to be pretty. It can be a written list, a drawn out list (use your best drawing skills), it can be a pre-printed schedule, or however you want to list out what it is the child needs to complete in this center.
Where can I use a mini-schedule?
Mini-schedules can be used across the classroom setting and even across the school setting. I would use mini-schedules in every facet of the child’s day. If Johnny is going to the library, then once he is in the library and sitting, he should be provided with a mini-schedule of what he is to do while in the library. If Johnny is doing a craft center in the back of he room, he should be provided a mini-schedule of what is expected of him to finish the craft and what he to do when he is done.
Does it support staff?
Mini-schedules also have paraprofessionals or other related service provides that push into the classroom. The adults just follow the visual schedule along with the child. This gives adults no reason to ask what needs to be done and holds them accountable for the work as well.
What about general education settings?
Using mini-schedules in the general education setting is a breeze and is honestly so worth the work that goes into it because behaviors decrease and attention increases. If a student is being pushed into a 20-minute Listening and Learning Block for second grade, then there should be a mini-schedule used. It should say something like this:
- Sit on the carpet
- Teacher will read a story
- Teacher will ask questions
- Complete the storyboard
- Go back to homeroom
Having this type of support is so beneficial for self-contained students and integrated classroom settings.