As the new year begins, I have been making several of these paint stick “flip” schedules for some of my new (and not new, but newly unsure) students. While we regularly use paint sticks with Velcro to make individual student schedules (see below), the flip version provide more closure when a schedule event is done. This seems to be especially reassuring to those students who appreciate visual models.
Here’s what you will need:
- one paint stick
- one file folder
- images/descriptions of your daily schedule (more on this in a moment)
- Glue Stick
- Hot glue gun
First of all, let’s talk about your scheduling images/descriptions. It will be most helpful if you can use the same images as you do in other schedule-related visuals in your classroom. I make my daily schedule on my computer using these clip art images, and we have several large copies posted around the classroom. Therefore, when the kids see them on the paint stick schedules, they are familiar with them, which is helpful in making the schedule more meaningful to them.
For this flip schedule, you will need small pictures of your schedule. A typical paint stick is about 12″ long and 1″ wide, so all of the schedule pictures/descriptions that you want to use need to fit in that space. Even more important than the length of your paint stick is the width of the file folder. If you use a letter-sized file folder, it will be 12″ wide along the folded edge.
Count the number of events that you are including in your paint stick schedule. For example, I have nine main events in my day that I put on my schedule. Then divide the width of the file folder by the number of schedule events. In my case, I divided the width of the file folder (12″) by the number of events (9), and figured out that each of my schedule pictures can be 1.33″ inches tall. I made mine a little shorter than that (about 1.25″) to be able to have a small margin of file folder between the images.
There are several ways to to create your images/schedule text. One way would be to make individual text boxes that are exactly the size you want, and then add the text and visuals within that set box.
I prefer to work with a table, because, well – because I like tables:
Once you have your visuals, you can print them and cut them out. I printed them on regular bond-weight paper.
Next, you will want to cut a strip from the folded edge of the file folder. I formatted my schedule pictures to be 1 1/4″ wide, and I cut the folder 1.5″ from the folded edge:
Once your folder piece is cut, glue your schedule pieces onto the inside right flap, starting with the first event at the top and working your way down. Because I formatted my pictures to be a little shorter than I needed, it gave me just enough room to leave a margin between the pieces:
The next step is to cut slits into the left flap of the file folder, so that you will be able to fold a section of the flap over each schedule event when it is completed. Using a ruler, mark lines on the inside of the left file folder flap, at the points between each schedule picture:
Turn your file folder piece over, opened up. If you want to add some kind of visual that will show when you close the flap (such as a smiley face, thumbs up or check mark picture), this is the time to add it before you laminate. If you need to, you can go ahead and cut the lines that you marked with the ruler before you laminate so that you can see on the outside flap exactly where you want these images to go.
It’s at this point that I like to laminate. I intentionally use the thinnest laminating film I can find. My school has 1 mm, which I usually avoid like the plague, but it’s perfect for this because it allows you to bend the flaps back and forth easily.
Trim around edges of file folders, and cut on each drawn line into the flap, stopping just at the fold of the file folder.
The next step is to hot glue the schedule onto the paint stick. Be sure and line up the fold just beyond the left edge of the paint stick, so you can easily bend the flaps back and secure them behind the stick.
Next, attach a thin strip of see-through Velcro on the right edge of each schedule picture. You can do individual pieces, or one long strip down the whole schedule.
Place a strip or pieces of opposing Velcro on the left edge of the left flap, as shown below:
Next, turn the file folder over and place a thin strip of Velcro on the right side of the outside right flap of the file folder, as shown:
Finally, place opposing pieces of Velcro on the left edge of the paint strip. Make sure that the opposing Velcro pieces line up, so that when you fold the flap back, it catches onto the Velcro attached to the back of the paint strip.
**If you don’t have any see-through Velcro, you can just cut your file folder a little bit wider. I cut this example below 1 3/4″ wide, and as a result had a small space on the right edge where I could place my Velcro pieces without them getting in the way of the picture.
Finally, you can customize the schedule as needed. I always make mine with the basic schedule events, but sometimes tape on things to personalize it to a particular student. The most common way I do this is to add a small photo of a student’s parent at the bottom of the schedule so that they can see exactly when their grownup is coming to pick them up.