How Many Dual Language Programs In The United States K-12 How I Built My Elementary School’s Master Schedule

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How I Built My Elementary School’s Master Schedule

My philosophy is that how you spend your time and resources reveals what your priorities are. This is my third year creating a master program for Bladen Lakes Elementary School. My efforts each year follow the process outlined in the book Elementary School Scheduling: Enhancing Instruction for Student Achievement by Robert Lynn Canady and Michael D. Rettig. This year, I explicitly explained the steps I took to make the calendar. My faculty and I at the school participate in joint leadership. The foundation of the schedule is established through many ongoing conversations with teachers, parents and students.

I want my teachers to be able to retrace my steps and maybe provide alternative schedules or make adjustments that I haven’t considered. All alternatives to the master schedule must be presented to the grade level committee using the same methodology and must be based on a deliberate strategy. “I don’t want to teach after lunch” is an example of a planning request that is not well thought out. An example of a well-thought-out scheduling request might be: “If teacher A and teacher B go shopping at the mall on Tuesday, the second grade could have additional joint planning time.”

It should also be noted that my school follows a time distribution chart in which each subject is assigned a specific number of minutes per week per grade level. Lunch, recess, special classes, computer lab time, math, reading, social studies, science, physical education, writing, and recess time are all tracked to the minute .

My school has about 350 students, until the spring of each year, when we have another 50 students who are the children of migrant workers in the local blueberry fields. I think the school is average. One of the complications we face each year is that we share our music, physical education and art teachers with three other elementary schools. Different teachers are in school on different days. This makes a cookie-cutter daily schedule simply impossible.

I have listed below the steps I followed to create the master program:

1. I charted out what teachers are on campus at what times. I created 30 minute time slots (our lowest unit of time) for the entire school week.

2. I assigned lunch to special teachers.

3. I have assigned open media/Accelerated Reader (AR) time each day, for an ongoing discussion with my media center coordinator Ms. Brigman regarding our AR upgrade.

4. I planned the planning of the level of the level and the common time. Each level will have at least one common planning time on Wednesday for one hour.

5. I scheduled all the special classes except the computer lab and media time. I have made every possible attempt to ensure that

  • a. Specials for each grade level were at the same time each day
  • b. Homerooms did not have two specials on the same day
  • c. The morning instruction block has been protected, with grades 3 and 4 as a priority
  • d. Kindergarten didn’t have 8-9 specialty blocks because of breakfast

6. I schedule library hours depending on when each classroom does not already have a special class.

7. I scheduled meals. I have kept the grade levels together when possible.

8. I scheduled computer lab time and recess time. Classes have a break every day except the days they meet with the physical education (PE) teacher.

9. I created a new planning grid for each day for each grade level. I think about the specials, lunches, and lab times I already have scheduled.

10. Referring back to the time assignment chart, the academic subjects were planned for each teacher. It always gives the individual teacher the opportunity to make changes in how time is chunked, as long as the total weekly allocation remains the same.

This year, you will present the schedule and these steps to the categories of the level in a summer meeting. I will talk to them about the alternatives and explain how I arrived at this schedule. The level chairs will then have the opportunity to ask questions and then take the schedule home with them for careful consideration. Then present the master’s program to the faculty in an email. There will still be several weeks before school starts, so everyone will have a chance to provide input.

I have many expectations for the calendar during the school year. First, the classroom calendar must be posted in the classroom. Some teachers like to create a different format than the grade level grid I use. This is fine as long as I have an actual copy of the level schedule in grid form. Second, the schedule must be followed with almost 100% accuracy. Permanent adjustments must be approved and must always have an accurate and up-to-date copy of the schedule in grade level grid format. Short-term changes must also be approved. An example is to exchange recess blocks and mathematics because the chances of rain in the afternoon. The teacher can tell me this in passing or – even better – send me an email before the exchange.

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