All About Visual Schedules

If you have been around for a while, you know that I am all about visual schedules! I used them like crazy when I was in the classroom and if you are a new special education teacher, you are going to want to use them too! This  blog post is all about visual schedules- how to organize them, why you need them and different types of visual schedules depending on the needs of your students!

Why You Need Visual Schedules 

Having a visual schedule is important for students, even if it is a Whole Group Class Schedule and not an individual visual schedule. Students THRIVE on schedules and our students in special education ESPECIALLY do. They need to know what is coming next in order to have a successful day at both school and even at home. The more predictable we can make their day, the better chances we have of decreasing any behaviors and unknown factors about their day. Can you imagine waking up and not having any type of schedule to follow each day? It would be difficult! 

Plus, having visual schedules actually helps them with communication and even reading sight words. Students begin to identify the words on their schedule pieces once they know what the picture stands for. Nonverbal learners are able to point to visuals or pick them off their schedule to communicate their needs and wants.

Different Types of Visual Schedules

 There are many different types of visual schedules that you can use with your students in special education, depending on their needs. My individual schedules can look a variety of ways: Wall schedules, binder schedules, desk schedules, dry erase boards- those are all about what that student needs. Check out this blog post from SSE blogger Whitney all about 4 types of Visual Schedules:

  1. First- then
  2. 1, 2, 3- choice
  3. vertical
  4. checklist

Any person with a visual impairment, cognitive impairment, or a person that needs concrete representation of the day’s events might even benefit from a Tactile Schedule.

Most of my students used an individual schedule from this pack of over 157 different visuals when I was in the classroom. I always color-coded each student’s schedule and had their daily binder match that color as well. That way, if a piece was on the floor-we knew whose it was easily.

visual schedule made interactive with matching pieces

In addition to individual schedules, you can also use a general whole-group schedule. A whole group schedule is for everyone- including the teachers and staff! I use my whole group schedule to keep everyone on task. It is more general than the individual schedules because it applies to everyone! The number one mistake teachers make is creating beautiful schedules- and not using them. How do I stay on track? I made my schedule interactive. I put up the large pieces and the job of a student is to match the small visual to the word to create the day’s schedule. It gives the power of their day back to them and helps everyone stay invested. The students always loved doing this and fought over this job in my classroom!

How to Organize Your Visual Schedules

Visual schedule pieces can get lost and be difficult to keep track of or easily maintain. Whitney does a grab sharing how she manages to organize all of her pieces for her visual schedule in this post

Check out these options for schedule organization (affiliate links):

64 Drawer Organizer

44 Drawer Organizer

26 Drawer Organizer

Simple Visual Schedules

If you are looking for the ultimate visual schedule bundle, check out simple visual schedules! It is everything you need to get your year started off on the right foot! It includes both whole group interactive schedules, individual schedules and schedule boards, work center schedules and even token boards! You can use these for students as young as preschool or as old as 8th grade. You can even edit pieces to make them fit your classroom needs!


  • 157 visual schedule pieces in each color
  • 13 colors (OVER 2,000 pieces in all!)
  • Whole group interactive schedule (2 fonts included)
  • Work Center Schedules

Add Simple Visual Schedules to your cart here.

What’s your favorite kind of visual schedule to use? DO you color-code yours also?

Happy teaching!

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