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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 


  • 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.

  • 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 :)

  • 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?

  • 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


  • Jane Armstrong Bos (View all users posts) 06 May 2015 11:15am ()

    Hi Hilary,

    If you need help or advice with next steps you could contact the Connected Learning Advisory. This service is provided free of charge to all state and state-integrated New Zealand schools. It is funded by the Ministry of Education and managed by CORE Education.

    There is also a lot of content on Enabling e-Learning with teachers sharing how they are using google docs especially for writing. I know it can all get a bit overwhelming looking for things and working out what is the best way forward for your students.

    Some things that maybe of particular interest to you might be:

  • Hilary Bevin (View all users posts) 17 Apr 2015 8:55am ()

    Jane, thank you for sharing the Wairakei video about differentiating learning. That was great to have a video and see how it is practically used (i enjoy visuals!) We are 2 teachers with 46 students new to MLE and chrome books, google docs and harpara all start this term so there is a lot to learn and manage.

    Do most people use google sites now? We have KnowledgeNet at our school but find it a little 'clunky' and with the coming in of google docs etc possibly google sites would be easier to manage learning and resources for students?

    Would love to hear how more people do the learn it, practise it, prove it and also any other ways you monitor your learning tasks (must dos, can dos) for your students on google docs.

    New to VLN and learning so much already so thanks to all! :) 

  • Jane Armstrong Bos (View all users posts) 17 Apr 2015 8:18am ()

    In this video Planning for differentiated learning at Wairakei School teacher, Kate Friewald describes how she uses Google spreadsheets to create her weekly plan, maths plans, and literacy plans. She shares these with students who have "must dos and can dos". Students are split into cooperative work groups. Each group member has a number of "must dos", to complete within the morning block, and some blank time to structure their own learning focused on their learning needs.

    You can see more from students' perspectives on the Universal Design for Learning page on Enabling e-Learning.

  • Matt Ives (View all users posts) 15 Apr 2015 11:32am ()

    We've been doing the flexible timetable thing at Amesbury School for a while now. It's important to understand that student self-management using flexible timetables and in independent time is something that is learned and requires ongoing reflection - it won't be easy at the start. It's also crucially important that we give students this time though, as they can never learn to be self-managing with time / behaviour if they are never given the chance to practise. School can be a place to learn how to do this.

    Here are a few points we've learned:

    Like others here have mentioned, having appropriately challenging / authentic tasks to choose from during independent time is key. We make sure all students have followups from their core lessons (reading, writing, maths) which are their Must Dos, and then can select from a range of personally interesting Can Dos (a passion project, coding, art, etc). The Must Dos are non-negotiable, the Can Dos may or may not happen depending on time. We make sure they have enough Must Dos / Can Dos to fill out the week so that no kids are knocking about with nothing to do - that's when the behaviour issues start.

    Team-teaching helps make this work. We have four teachers in the hub - this means three teachers can be taking workshops / 1:1 with kids, and the other teacher is "on roam" supervising the kids during their independent time. When I'm on roam I'm on constant loops around where the children are working, which is all around the school. It's good exercise! When two teachers are on roam you can stop with more kids and discuss / conference more, but when it's just one, it's pretty full on simply supervising.

    Specify different zones for different tasks. A difficulty with independent time is students distracting each other. If you specify a certain zone in the classroom / school is for collaborative work, and then some areas are for quiet independent work, you can have kids choosing which zone works best for them for certain tasks. I've also developed "flow signs" which kids can use to indicate to other kids they are in flow and don't want to be disturbed.

    Must Do / Can Do tracking. We have 1:1 Chromebooks, so use Trello, a Chrome app for task management. On Monday, kids set their Must Dos and choose their Can Dos. As they move through the week completing tasks, they move them over to the done side. This is important as you WILL have students trying to repeat the more fun tasks instead of doing the ones they find challenging. This is to be expected though, and it's good learning to sit down with kids and talk about prioritisation. When we didn't have 1:1 we used paper timetables of the week which we put up on the wall, kids writing their Must Dos and Can Dos on there.

    Portion of the day. Currently, we do this independent time for two blocks of the day or less - this isn't like a whole day thing. The other block is whole group inquiry / writing stuff. During independent time they check if they are in a workshop (using an overall hub timetable) and if not, they get into their Must Do Can Do tasks. They might have a workshop after half an hour, in which case they need to independently pack up and go to meet the teacher in the right place, or they might not have a formal workshop at all. Yes, students are sometimes late / unorganised, but again, these are good learning conversations to have and you can set goals for kids to be more aware of this.

    Anyway - just a few of the bits and bobs we've been doing. Interested to hear how others are doing! Ask away if you need any clarifications.

  • sandrafraser (View all users posts) 12 Apr 2015 12:21pm ()

    I have been experimenting with independent (what I call flexible timetables) timetables for a few terms now.  It is a work in progress that keeps evolving as I work out what works and what doesn't.

    I am in large, extremely busy intermediate school where our days are broken into four 65 minutes blocks. I have a year 7 BYOD class.  Initially, I tried to get students to plan their whole week keeping in mind the non-negotiables such as assemblies, PE etc. students found this overwhelming so I broke it down into days.  Each morning I write on the board what needs to be worked on today eg Maths, Reading etc. I also write up any teacher instructional time eg Reading group X will be with teacher block one.  Students then plan their day around this.  All the work they have to do is either on Hapara or Schoology.  

    The hardest part I think is the setting up of the work especially at the start of the term. eg Reading groups as you can't see every group on the first day so you have to have other activities ready for them to do independently.  However, once it is all up and running I find I have more time to work with students giving them feedback/feedforward, conferencing with them etc.

    Students seem to really enjoy it too.  When I first started trialling this I asked the class after a few days what they thought, most seemed to really like it.  One comment has stayed with me, one girl said "I like choosing when I do maths, as my brain is not awake enough for numbers first thing in the morning" - I always used to do maths first thing in the morning.

    This is just my perspective and as I say it keeps evolving.  I think you just need to jump in and have a go.  See what works and doesn't work for you and your class.  Good luck!

  • 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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