A Color Coded Method to End Scheduling Madness!

A Color-Coded Method to End Scheduling Madness!

color coding for scheduling

Scheduling for speech/language therapy can lead to madness! Just joking, but it can be a true pain. I’ve tried many ways to schedule over the years and this color-coded system has worked best. Give it a try!

Color-Coded Method for Scheduling

Erasing penciled in student names can lead to losing track of a session.

With this method, you use small colored sticky notes and a page protector, but it will work with just a paper,  pencil, and any size sticky notes that you are willing to cut to size. Here’s how to do it.

  • Take a look at your students’ goals and figure out your groups.

  • Once you have your groups in mind, get your colored sticky notes ready! Either buy small ones or cut the

  • Stick parts down to the size of the slots on your schedule.

  • Write the names of your students on the colored sticky notes that match their team color (even if just arbitrarily assigned based on having schedules in common.  A Team= yellow,  3rd grade= blue, for example.)

  • Make a color-coded sticky for every session you need to schedule to ensure that you don’t accidentally skip a session while scheduling. It is also very useful when making schedule changes.

  • Make a master schedule of time slots where the students are NOT available. The colored slots on the schedule indicate this.

  • Putting in information about where the students are those periods can be helpful later on if you have to schedule a makeup session.

  • Also fill in periods you are allowed to take students, but it isn’t worth the hassle unless necessary.

  • If you do any block scheduling or push in times that have little flexibility, fill these in on your schedule now, too.

Use the LLL color coded sticky note scheduling method!

One of an SLP’s worst tasks: SCHEDULING!

Take the sticky notes and place them on your schedule, following these rules: 

  • Never place a sticky on the same colored spot.

  • Fill in all the colored spots first, leaving the white spots (with more flexibility) open until the end.

  • Place all of the group slots first, starting with your groups that have the most limited openings and the largest sized groups.

  • Next, do your students who have the most individual sessions, so you can spread them out over the week.

  • Then, fill in the rest of the sticky notes while humming your good luck mantra!

Keep putting your sticky notes on until your schedule is filled, If you get this done without encountering a problem, you win the Scheduler of the Year Award! That never happened to me. (SIGH!) 


Scheduling Problems

Never match the sticky note to the same colored spot!

Inevitably, there is a spot left where someone doesn’t fit. 

  • Take a photo now! Sometimes, a sequence of changes works, and your problem is solved.

  • Other times, you start making changes and it just gets worse, so you will need the photo to go back to where you were close to being done.

  • Then picking a different sticky note to try to make the switch usually works.

  • In the worst-case scenario, pull off some of the stickies for your easier to group slots and stick them on the side of the schedule.

  • Find new slots for your hard to schedule kids and then go back and fill in the easier to schedule kids.

  • One of the best aspects of scheduling using sticky notes is that you won’t end up losing track of any sessions while figuring out the scheduling snafu!

Now that your schedule works, put it in a page protector so that none of the sticky notes can accidentally fall off. Go make a photocopy to work from and keep your sticky original intact. It will come in handy when the teachers’ or your students’ schedules get changed!

Last, but very important, go home and de-stress at the end of the day. I find that a glass of wine with dinner works wonders!

How do you de-stress after scheduling?

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I’m Linda, an SLP who loves helping you build effective communication skills for your students using strategies and visuals. Pictures are time consuming, so let me make your life easier!

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