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Flexible Timetable for a Junior classroom

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Started by Paula Asiata 11 Apr 2015 10:46am () Replies (12)


Hi everyone,

Just been reading a post about Flexible Timetables and this a direction or approach I want to try in my classroom. This year we have been discovering different ways to work and have been creating different spaces we can work within our classroom, being flexible in the way we work. So now the next step is trying to be flexible with my timetable. I have been reading a lot on here and there are great ideas but most examples are with older children. I have a class of Year 3's. If anyone has some good tips, templates for creating the flexible timetable or examples of what has and hasn't worked that would be great. Thanks for sharing :)





  • FionaR (View all users posts) 11 Apr 2015 3:37pm ()

    Hi everyone

    I run a flexible timetable with my year 6-8 (approx 95 students).  We use Google slides as a daily timetable where the students find the non-negotiables (things they must attend) and they fill this in each morning before school (or sometimes in the first 10 mins).    Our sessions are based on 30 min blocks and we run on sessions (not days of week).  This has enable our planning to be more efficient also.

    Students have their own copy of the timetable using google docs and they just fill in.  This is shared with homeroom teachers

    Other gaps during the day are timetabled by the students if appropriate.  They would find their workshops in literacy/maths or Inquiry and attend if they are being offered that day.  We have a tracker system (digital or paper) that they students complete with their  timetable each day which homeroom teachers check at end of each day to ensure students have got to what they needed to.

    This system enables us, the teachers, to be very flexible as to when we run our workshops and collaborative planning of the following day, at end of each day, is imperative.  

    Sometimes we see some kids doing maths at 10am, others are working on their Inquiry and some may be attending literacy workshops.  We only ever have 2 teacher from the 3 teaching at any one time and the other is the Learning Coach.

    Hope this helps :)

    Fiona Rossiter

    MLE Whakarongo School

    Year 6-8

  • Rachel O'Connell (View all users posts) 11 Apr 2015 10:38pm ()

    Hi Fiona,

    I am new to Y7-8 (teaching this level for the first time) and was wondering if you would mind sharing an example of your Google Slide/google docs timetable.  I am keen to head down this road, but have so many other things to get my head around first.



  • Abbie (View all users posts) 14 Apr 2015 11:17am ()

    Hi Rachel, 

    I don't know if you have found this discussion thread yet or not, but it may be helpful: /discussion/view/922782 . It is the same discussion, but seems to be more senior based. 



  • Julie Tumarae (View all users posts) 11 Apr 2015 4:14pm ()

    Hi...thanks for sharing. What is the role of the Learning coach?

  • Abbie (View all users posts) 11 Apr 2015 9:01pm ()

    I am currently working in a junior team with two other teachers (and a part time teacher-aide). We have a list of must dos and can dos that are there for them to work with (action stations), using picture symbols for those who cannot read yet. These are up in a central space and are generally done in the order of each students' choice. Students manage the time they spend on each task themselves, with redirection supplied as needed by the action station teacher. They are pulled out by the other teachers for small group/ individual teaching. 

    The action station tasks consist of typical literacy and numeracy tasks, as well as inquiry tasks, Mathletics, creation tasks etc. After activities are still utilised, although this is at the group teachers' discretion and are always to be completed immediately after working in a small group. 

    We only began this path this year so are still ironing out the kinks.

    When I taught in a year 2-3 single-cell classroom, I set must dos and can dos for students on a contract, with different contracts for various groups. This only applied to reading though as I struggled to make it work effectively in maths. I generally only had a couple of students who needing explicit instruction regarding the order to complete tasks in. Students could negotiate if they did not get the must dos for the day completed (due to legitimate reasons). This was far from perfect, and there is a lot I would do differently, but the students enjoyed it and we had good results. 

  • Catherine Lynagh (View all users posts) 12 Apr 2015 10:18am ()

    I'm really interested to hear more about how this is going for you.

    Do you still have specific times of day for reading, writing, maths etc, or can the children choose when they do everything?  Are the must-dos similar for all students?  How much time did you spend teaching the routines at the start of the year?

    I am currently in a single cell classroom and run this kind of must-do, can-do programme for one block, when I take reading.  We will be teaching in shared spaces within the next couple of years though so it's great to hear about how teachers organise the day for junior students.


  • Abbie (View all users posts) 14 Apr 2015 11:39am ()

    This is going really well overall.

    Students can choose what order they do activities in unless they are one of our identified avoiders/wanderers/new entrant students. These students are generally told what order to do the activities in. I had a similar thing going when I did this during my reading programme last year in a single-cell classroom. 


    Reading groups are mostly taken before playtime - accompanying after activities to be completed straight after teaching; maths and writing generally occurs after play. 

    The only set times are 9-9.15 when everybody does phonics (students split off into their groups for this teaching). From 9.15-9.50 and 12-12.30 There is 'whole class' time (shared reading, values, fruit, fitness, reflection etc). Bear in mind though that students are taken out for groups from 9.15 to 12.30 (excluding playtime). Action stations are explained during this early morning time too, and are written up on the board with accompanying symbols for early readers. 


    In terms of those 'wanderers' we have had  a high level of success, going from having about 12-15 out of 50 students on our 'watchlist' of sorts down to 3-4. Mostly this now involves refocussing these students with questions like: "Have you been to the action station board to check what to do next? Do you know what you are meant to be doing? Where do you need to look?" 



    During the first few weeks we had our list of must dos, initially having no consequence for not completing work. This was gradually brought in: between swimming and the other term 1 business we were trying to find a balance as teachers. 

    Routine wasn't such a big issue as long as the teachers stuck to the basic timetable, because we don't have rotations, and group teaching is happening in a separate room to the other activities. Our biggest struggle routine wise was getting students to tidy up after themselves. This was in part a balancing act on our part too, as group teaching is tight time-wise and when your group is up for teaching you have to come straight away. 

    We addressed this largely through our topic which focussed on community and values. Because this was the first year we have taught this way, students aren't coming into a set in concrete (so to speak) programme - they were having to learn as much as we were about the way things worked. Of course the students managed the change much better than the teachers!


    Things have been really starting to hum along, with the inevitable hiccups along the way. Overall there is a high level of engagement and students are learning. We have begun refocussing children on quality of work over 'getting it done'. I am currently doing readings about this, and getting a higher level of self and peer assessment. 

    Hopefully this warble was of some help. I can also be contacted at abbie@tapanui.school.nz . Our hub blog (which is just starting) is mataihub.blogspot.com .

  • Vicki Hagenaars (View all users posts) 12 Apr 2015 10:01am ()

    Hi there

    I have seen these 'mustard must do' reminders used at Bulls School as I have worked with them and wondered if they may be of some use for those of you looking at the flexible timetables:



  • Emma Woolford (View all users posts) 14 Apr 2015 11:26pm ()

    Hi Abbie, what you are doing sounds fantastic! Can I ask, how do the children know when it is time for a workshop? Do you use a child to collect the rest, ring a bell...? It is something we are having varied success with in our mle, as we have a day each to use the microphone/call time but this is often not as consistent as it should be and can be frustrating.

  • Abbie (View all users posts) 16 Apr 2015 2:03pm ()

    The teacher comes and gets the next group - the students aren't overly aware of when they will be taken at present. We generally find that the fastest method is a quick clap and the group called out. The learning support teacher will generally get the one or two individuals they are working with, or clap and call the group. 

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