Sequencing calendars are used within our routines as a way to delineate or break the steps of that routine up into separate, smaller chunks. In essence, we are taking a larger moment in time – the routine – and breaking it into smaller, more manageable segments. You can think of this as you would if you were following a recipe; to accomplish the larger task of baking a chocolate layer cake, you need to break it down into the smaller, more manageable, steps of the recipe. By following the recipe we are able to label the ingredients, list the steps in such a way that we are following a sequence (or, a clear beginning, middle, and end, which is something all routines should have), and come out with a fantastic cake to eat in the end.
- Dividing the activity into smaller chunks of time
- Labeling the steps
- Steps are repeatable.
- Steps are easy to anticipate.
- Establishing a beginning, middle, and end
A sequencing calendar can look like the one pictured above: a box with multiple slots in it. On the other hand, it might be a recipe written out or brailled. Or, a set of symbols presented one at a time for each step of the activity, if that’s what the student needs.
Again, we are trying to break the larger activity into smaller pieces/chunks that we can label and put into a repeatable sequence of steps. This will allow for an expansion of language and conversation, and provide more manageable time frames for those kids who need it.
Videos: Sequencing Calendar
This video shows a class making dog biscuits. The students, Tania and Nate, are both deafblind. They shopped for the ingredients the day before they baked, and the students were going to take the biscuits home to give to their own dogs on the following weekend.
Video: Tania Makes Dog Biscuits
You will see Tania using two different calendars in this video. One is a portable grocery list, made up of tactile symbols, of the items she has already purchased. The other calendar is a sequence box that breaks up the steps (or recipe) of the activity “cooking dog biscuits” into their proper sequence.
Techniques to note in this video:
- Hand-under-hand communication strategies
- Pairing vocalizations with sign and symbols
- Group activity and student interaction
Skills infused into this activity include:
- Counting and labeling
- Receptive and expressive communication
As you can see each slot in the activity box breaks the activity of making dog biscuits into smaller “chunks” or segments. By doing this, we are making the larger task more manageable. It is now easier to add greater detail, which allows for more in-depth conversations, and we have our beginning/middle/end sequence of steps to follow. In essence, we are giving more detail in condensed doses, within the structure of the routine, and while we are actually doing the routine.