And a FREE Editable Speech Schedule!
Make a speech therapy schedule without stress? Are you kidding me? It definitely is a true pain, but there are ways to make it easier. I’ve tried many ways to schedule over the years and this color-coded system has worked best. Give it a try to make speech scheduling (and rescheduling) faster and less error-prone throughout the year.
The benefit of a paper schedule is that you can work on it while sitting through the endless beginning of the year meetings. But if you have the luxury of doing your first schedule on the computer, make colored background cells in the table for color-coding. Type separate color-coded text boxes with students’ names instead of sticky notes. Just be sure to line them up in a visible area so you don’t lose track of any of them.
Make a Master Schedule
You’ll need small colored sticky notes and a page protector, but it will work with just a blank FREE schedule, a pencil, and any size sticky notes that you are willing to cut to size. Do you make your first schedule online? see the hints above!
Here’s how to do it.
- Take a look at your students’ goals and figure out your groups. Here’s how to manage mixed groups.
- Once you have your groups in mind, get your colored sticky notes ready! Either buy long, thin ones or cut them down to the size of your schedule slots.
- Write the names of your students on the colored sticky notes that match their classroom schedules. Usually, you will find that there are a group of classes having the same lunch times, for example.
- Make a color-coded sticky for every student session you need to schedule. This ensures 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 during those periods can be helpful for finding the students who are out of the room or scheduling a makeup session.
- Also, fill in periods you are allowed to take students, but it isn’t worth the hassle unless necessary. Typically, read gym class!
- If you do any block scheduling or push-in times that have little flexibility, fill these in on your schedule now, too.
Make Your Speech Schedule
Take the sticky notes and place them on your schedule, following these rules:
- Never match the color of the sticky to the color of the speech slot.
- First, fill in all the colored spots. Leave the white spots (with more flexibility) open until the end.
- Next, do group sessions. Start with the groups that have the most limited availability. This will typically be the groups with students who have different classroom schedules (multiple schedule colors,) the largest groups, and students with the most academic level classes.
- Next, do your students who have the most individual sessions, so you can spread them out over the week.
- Then schedule your students with the most sessions so you can spread them out over the week.
- Finally, fill in your remaining student sessions.
- Keep putting your sticky notes on until your schedule is filled.
Inevitably, there is a spot left where someone doesn’t fit.
Take a photo or screenshot now! (Or print a copy.)
Sometimes, a simple 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.
- First, see if you can move someone into the trouble spot that you found. Check out the slots where your unplaced student(s) will fit. Often this solves the problem.
- In the worst-case scenario, pull off the stickies in your easier to fill slots and stick them back on the sides of the schedule.
- Switch around your harder-to-schedule kids, seeing if you can fill the speech slot that became a problem.
- Then go back to placing your easier-to-schedule kids.
- When all else fails, see if you can push in during that impossible-to-fill slot. Or make it your prep time.
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. If you had to move the sticky notes around a lot, use tape to make sure that they stay put. Then 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. For me, a glass of wine with dinner works wonders! And hopefully, you will be celebrating the easiest speech schedule that you ever made!
Then check out Planning Made Easier for more tips to help you have an easier beginning to the school year!
Grab your FREE download for making speech/language therapy scheduling easier by signing up here!