Saturday, August 23, 2008

Classroom Schedules and Functional Curriculums

With a new class this year, in a new building, I have spent a lot more time than usual preparing my classroom schedule and reflecting on the difficulties on addressing both the federally and state mandated academic curriculum and the absolutely necessary functional curriculum all while meeting personal care and behavioral needs (and assuring my paraprofessionals get their well deserved breaks). Below is a Slideshare of where I am right now with scheduling. (Click icon of the screen to actually be able to read it.)

It looks good on paper, but will 15 minutes really be enough to bring three girls and a boy (By the way when does that happen in intensive special needs? More girls than boys in a class? This has to be a first!) to the rest room and "freshen up" the other young man? Besides we all know the schedule will be blown to bits by a seizure, a "meltdown", a fire drill, an assembly, wheelchair clinic and/or therapy schedules many days. Still I love to think that it is possible to fit everything that is important into the (completely inadequate) 30 hours a week I am allotted.

Schedule 2008 2009
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: boardmaker high)

There is a very interesting article in this month's Education and Training in Developmental Disabilities on the factors contributing to the use of a functional curriculum in a cross categorical special educational classroom. It really pushed me to reflect on whether my beliefs about the value of a functional curriculum match what I do in the classroom. It also pushed me to think about how much NCLB and mandated state assessment takes time from my instructional day and limits the time I have to actually address functional curriculum. Reading the article made me shift a few things around in the schedule and think about how to better balance what I am mandated to do by the law and what I am mandated to do by my student's needs. In a contest between teaching to a test and teaching my student the skills that will bring them better outcomes in life and a higher quality of life overall deciding what to do takes mere seconds.

Besides what good is knowing who Walt Whitman is or your state's history if you have no way to communicate it? And what good is knowing algebra or geometry if you can't count money or tell time? And what good is knowing how to write or type if you can't figure how to make a grocery list and then shop for those groceries?


  1. Hi - interesting post. I agree functional curriculum is important. What grade do you teach?

  2. Until a week ago it was post grad which meant ages 18-22. But BAM now it is grades 8-11.

    Here is what I have taught:
    1997-1999 high school and post grad
    1999-2001 grades two to five
    2001-2002 weird class grade 8 and a random 21 year old
    2002-2005 grades 9-12
    2005-2008 post grad
    2008-2009 grades 8-11

  3. Thanks for posting your schedule. I just started teaching a high school class of students with multiple disabilities. Your schedule makes so much more sense than mine! Could you send me the boardmaker file or tell me how to make some changes from the pdf file? Your blog has been a big help this summer as I was preparing to teach this class. Thanks again.

  4. I will post the BM file to the Yahoo Boardmaker group when I get home (at an internet cafe now), which you should definitely join for all of the great resources (although be forewarned that you will be expected to share in someway yourself - be it posting questions to the list, sharing files, etc). I have no idea how to change the PDF. It is pretty easy to make the schedule from scratch in Boardmaker though. Figure out how many time periods per day, make that many "cells" going down. Then make six columns of those (five days plus one for the times). Then fill them in. Besure to add in time for toileting, etc.


  5. I am amazed (impressed? envious?) and that schedule and how you seem to be able (on paper, at least!) to have everyone doing the same thing at the same time. I teach grade 9 to age 22, and our school is on a rotating schedule (Period 1 today is Period 7 tomorrow) and with some kids out for inclusion classes, my schedule is a mess.

  6. I agree. I teach k-5 but right now hv grades 1,3,4,5, w/different schedules. Throw in related svs and yikes! Every day is an adventure!

  7. can we see the schedule again please!! It seems to have been removed. I am interested in what a day in your class looks like. You seem amazing!

  8. I will have to look into where the schedule went. That is such an old post I am sure u don't still have the schedule that was posted. Maybe I will post out 2010-2011 schedule soon.


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