Using a Schedule Effectively for Distance Learning [Educators]

timetable, paper, and pencils for making a schedule

Schedules are an Evidence Based Practice that can help students be more available for learning. They are helpful to all students by clarifying what is going to happen, increasing predictability and making abstract concepts such as time concrete, and they help students to be more independent.

Here are a few ideas on how you can utilize schedules during distance learning or help caregivers provide structure for their students.

Tip 1: Begin by scheduling your entire learning time. There are two ways to do this: using concrete windows of time, or providing a list of things to do when it fits.

Schedule with Time Noted
This type of schedule is helpful if you are providing live instruction via a teleconferencing app. Help caregivers remember when students should be logged on by using calendar invites that will sync to their phones or computers.


  • 9:00 Language Arts
  • 10:00 Math
  • 10:45 Break
  • 11:00 Science/Social Studies 
Schedule without Time Noted
Think of this as a checklist. This schedule removes the concrete times and allows for more flexibility for the student or caregiver. It is simply a list of things to do during a set period of time. It may be helpful to give students and caregivers an idea of how much time to anticipate a lesson to take.


  • Read Chapter 4 of Tuck Everlasting and write a summary of the chapter. (1 hour)
  • Watch lesson on finding the common denominator and complete worksheet provided. (45 minutes)
  • Complete lesson and activity on Hydropower (30 minutes)

When creating this schedule, do your best to find the balance.

  • Balance activities that require sitting and listening with activities that involve movement and response. 
  • Balance activities that involve a high level of verbal or written responses and demands with activities with low demands. 
  • Balance activities that are required with time for students to choose what to work on. 

Tip 2: For activities or students that may need more support, create an activity schedule breaking down the individual components of a task.

Example: Comparing Fractions
  • Watch as Ms. Sullivan models comparing fractions
  • Complete problems 2-4 on page together
  • Complete even problems on page 132 independently. Raise your hand if you need help.
Example: “Into the Hive” Science lesson
  • Read “Working the Hive,” page 5
  • Underline all sequence words
  • Answer questions 1-3
  • Read “Being of Service,” page 6
  • Underline all sequence words
  • Answer questions 4-6

Tip 3: No matter which schedule you choose, you must teach your students and caregivers how to use the schedule you designed.

First, make the schedule visible to learners or caregivers. Create an image for each day and share it in your video while you teach, post it on your virtual platform, or send it out however you distribute your content.

Next, model using the schedule. Talk through the schedule with your students in the same way you would in class. Reference it before an activity begins and once an activity is complete.

VKC Resources

[April 2020]