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Flexible Timetables

Started by Bronwyn Gibbs 10 Apr 2015 6:43pm () Replies (20)

Kia ora, I would like to implement a flexible learning timetable in my class. I'm trying to get my head around how this will work! I would love to hear from anyone with ideas, advice, how to's ....... Thanks, Bronwyn smiley 


  • Tracey Janes (View all users posts) 10 Apr 2015 8:37pm ()

    Hi Bronwyn

    Not sure if this is what you mean but I use a fairly flexible timetable - in my room we schedule in 15 minutes for a 'Team Meeting' (to include the roll, notices and sometimes some 'Brain Training') in the morning, Maths Group times (about 20 mins 2 or 3 times a week) and same for Literacy Groups, plus PE, and some Topic time, the rest of the time the students are managing their own time and study. They have a 'Must Do' sheet each week with about 6-8 tasks on which they must finish in addition to their Maths and Literacy work. This often includes language, arts, buddy time, fitness or research type activities... Let me know if you want more info!

  • Paulette Newton (View all users posts) 16 Jan 2017 3:26pm ()

    Hi Tracey,

    I hope you are enjoying your holiday! I was interested in seeing what your must do template looks like. I teach in Year 3-4 and are wanting some other ideas for self directed learning.

    Thanks so much


  • JackieB (View all users posts) 20 Jan 2017 7:10pm ()

    Hi Tracey, I'd love to see your 'Must Do' sheet as well.  I teach Year 4 students and we are heading into a more collaborative year, teachers and students alike, so more info would definitely be appreciated.

  • RachelO (View all users posts) 10 Apr 2015 8:52pm ()

    Kia ora,

    I am interested in this discussion too and would like to hear what others are doing.  

    I like the idea of students self-managing 'Must Dos' across different areas of the curriculum throughout their day.  That flexibility and freedom to choose must be motivating for many learners.  The trick is in creating 'Must Do' tasks that are engaging and accessible to all.  



  • Bronwyn Gibbs (View all users posts) 10 Apr 2015 9:08pm ()

    Thanks Tracey, that's exactly what I meant: students managing their own time and study. If at all possible would you be able to e-mail me a copy of your 'Must Do' sheet to have a look at? And is your Maths and Literacy work based on what they have done in a guided session with you? Also how do you monitor / mark the work your students are completing independently? I have a real range from super fast finishers to slow as slow to complete their learning (I guess we've all got those!!). Thanks very much again bronwyn@corinna.school.nz

  • Louise Tredinnick (View all users posts) 10 Apr 2015 9:11pm ()

    Hi Bronwyn 

    I'm not teaching this year but last year I introduced flexible learning for those students who were ready for this step.  Other students also wanted to be part of this group and a few preferred more structure.  The students who I didn't initially choose but wanted to be part of maintaining their own timetable were also able to do this.  The fact that they wanted to be part of it indicated to me that they were probably ready.

    Ok, as I taught in a busy intermediate school some learning sessions were fixed so I shared the fixed timetable with the students via the class google site using google calendar.  The students then planned their learning on their calendar with my layered calendar.  Then I set up a self-booking lesson calendar and the students could book available times to achieve their Literacy, Inquiry and other learning areas, to have a shared lesson or individual lesson if they wanted a lesson time outside the time I had planned to take their Literacy lesson or whatever lesson they needed.  They liked this flexibility and support to have extra sessions even on the same lesson if needed.  The appointment slots are great in google calendar.  I even used this function with parents for a regular drop-in time every Monday.  

    The students also shared their calendar with me so that I know when they were doing certain activities.  It was interesting when I first set up this 'independent group' as some of the 'regular group' felt that the other group were getting more 'freedom' but when I simply said to them that they could be part of the group and the practical expectations around this some of the students were happier with me scheduling their timetable. The whole system functioned easily with some students also working at night time and having more freedom during the day to attend to their own work e.g school council or other school-wide projects with students from other classes.  

    I also had self-booking lesson slots running a couple of days during two lunchtimes for those who wanted more 1-1 lessons.  This was especially helpful for students and we all enjoyed the relaxed and good learning. 

    I think the key is a well thought out system, with keeping good tabs on whose doing what and knowing exactly where the learners are at so that when they book a session you're super prepared. A strong class culture of buddy support is also very helpful :) 

    Enjoy your voyage of discovery Bronwyn.   

  • Louise Tredinnick (View all users posts) 10 Apr 2015 9:18pm ()

    Hi Bronwyn 

    Just to add something I forgot to mention - I also shared all my planning via the google site with embedded Docs with the students so that they could decide for themselves what they needed help with and what they would like to do independently.  All lessons were quite detailed and all resources hyperlinked with any student templates already pushed out via Hapara.  



  • Bronwyn Gibbs (View all users posts) 11 Apr 2015 9:38am ()

    Thanks for your reply Louise, and really useful ideas. I use google calendar for all my planning but haven't been sharing my planning with the class, I think that's a great idea. Like you say it is a voyage of discovery, sometimes I just want to be nearer the end than the beginning, but must remind myself to enjoy the journey! 


  • Jodie Brown (View all users posts) 11 Apr 2015 1:34pm ()

    I too am continuing to develop my own thinking and knowledge about this area. I am from a smaller school of only 5 classrooms- so one at each year level- which certainly limits some of the MLE pedagogy. 
    I have a year 3/4 class and believe in having the visibility of planning and allowing children to plan some aspects themselves.

    So, in T4 last year I trialled flexible timetabling within reading time, and have continued with it this year - allowing the chn to timetable their own rotations. As a class I got them to talk about good readers, and what they need to practice to be better readers (plays, reading with a buddy, spelling practice, etc). Then I created a timetable that each child fills in on a Monday morning. The chn go about completing their timetable- using my timetable that tells them when they're working with me (the blank spaces are for 1-1 reading that again, the children timetable in on a rotational basis). On their timetable there is a list of must do-s, and then some can- dos. Some chn do need more scaffolding to ensure they are on-task, so for those chn I set them at least 1 of their rotations each day, and they choose the rest. 
    The children really love it and it has been great to hear feedback from the children that I had in T4 last year that have moved on to their next teacher, who has now taken this approach on board due to their motivation.
    My class so far this year have picked it up well- although I continue to tweek it! Long term- I would like to use this same approach within maths and writing times. But- due to the age, I'm getting one bit sorted at a time!
    Hopefully that helps... 

    Teacher Weekly Reading Timetable Childrens blank reading rotation timetable

  • Charlotte Cottrell (View all users posts) 17 Jan 2017 11:54am ()

    I am going into my 3rd year teaching collaboratively and 2nd year in a full ILE.  I teach approximately 120 children with three other teachers at the Year 3/4 level.

    I would love to be able to use a flexible timetable.  I know this would take considerable organisation and support with 120 students.  I am wondering if anyone has run something similar with more than just a single class at the year 3/4 level?

  • Ngaire Shepherd-Wills (View all users posts) 18 Jan 2017 5:00pm ()

    Hi Charlotte,

    I was just wondering how you are wanting to run your flexible timetable? Are you wanting learners to opt into teaching workshops and organise the rest of their day themselves? Do you want this to be digital? Might have some ideas for you, but just wanted to know more.

    Ngaire :)

  • Vicki Hagenaars (View all users posts) 11 Apr 2015 5:38pm ()

    I also am out of the classroom but had been playing around with this concept while teaching at intermediate level after seeing it in action at Tawa Intermediate.  Like Tracey I had a list of must do activities for the week and shared this on the Ultranet each week.  Like Louise I shared the planning - including those delightful non- negotiable times we have in intermediates - and had students that I conferenced with regularly as they needed a more teacher driven organisation of their learning. 

    As often as the timetable allowed, these conferences were undertaken within the first hour of the day so that the students then had direction for their day with goals to be completed that they had chosen but knew I would check on. I would touch base with them again as needed later in the day. This freed me up to be facilitating in the classroom for the other students needing my time. If it was a week where my time was in high demand a booking my time list would begin to appear on the board - completely student driven.

    The way things were when I stepped away from teaching at that level were by no means perfect, and the fact we were not set up for collaborative docs made some of the learning community work quite paper driven in spite of my class having greater access to devices.  Work on devices was often kept in one person's folder and required me to access it if that person was away. This was a frustration to me more than the students as they did not know what they were missing where I did! Very clumsy compared to having GAFE or O365 up and running properly.

    I look forward to following this discussion further and love ideas that have now been shared. Good luck as you give this a go, Bronwyn. 



  • Chris Meehan (View all users posts) 11 Apr 2015 10:11pm ()

    Reading Louise's last post, something which I have tried with Year 7/8 students to overcome time constraints and students who have difficulty managing themselves, is mentoring. During last year in a 2 teacher / 56 Year 7/8 students space, we found a small group of boys in particular, from Yr 7 who struggled to stay focused when presented with several days worth of 'stuff' to do.

    Both teachers talked about it with these children and suggested the idea of a mentor for each of them, who would help them to get tasks done and to organise their time. 

    Our most successful pair was a Yr 7 boy, rugby head, not really into learning, but prepared to give it a go - who was paired with a Yr 8 girl - whom he chose from a list of possible mentors. She was not a top A grade student (whatever that is!), but was a really hard worker and a bit bossy! Without fail, she would take time each day to sit down with the boy and go through timetables, his feedback from teachers and students, and to help him review and reflect on his own learning. Teachers were seeing his work output either face to face or through Hapara Teacher Dashboard, as well as in almost daily maths and reading group sessions.

    The year ended with the boy buying his mentor a cute necklace and bracelet which he gave her quietly (after getting advice from the teachers about how to do it!), and on the last day in floods of tears because he was going to miss her so much in 2015. It was a fantastic way to get a child really well motivated and into learning.

    It's worth a try.






  • Vicki Hagenaars (View all users posts) 12 Apr 2015 10:04am ()

    Something tangible I have seen in use at Bulls School quite successfully for their senior students are these clever wee bottles from Sparkle Box called Mustard Must-Do, Mayo may-Do and Ketchup Catch-Up. 


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