Sunday, July 5, 2015

Special Ed. Summer Blog Hop: Week 2 Classroom Setup

Welcome back for Week 2 of our Special Ed. Summer Blog Hop!

 I hope you enjoyed Week 1 and you were able to learn something that you could take back to your classroom this upcoming school year.  This week's topic is...

As a special education teacher, there are some years that I spend more time in the resource room and other years I spend most of my day out in the general education classrooms doing coteaching with my partner teachers.  This year, much like last year, will be a healthy dose of both settings.  The setup of my resource classroom is based on student needs from year to year.  There are some years when I only really need a table to do small group intervention and then there are years (like last year)  that I had several grade and ability levels of students all in the resource room at one time and I had to design and then redesign my room to help manage my classroom effectively.  

Any way the needs of my students go, I feel like there are areas of my room that are important to incorporate.  The graphic above gives an outline to this post and what I consider when setting up my classroom from year to year.
 I think that my room needs to echo the design of a "regular" classroom as much as possible.  I believe that helps my students feel more comfortable and makes my room feel like all of the other classrooms in the building.

Here is a list of the areas that I like to incorporate into my classroom setup:
1.  Small Group Intervention 
2.  Individual Work Station (or 1:1 Teaching Area)
3.  Computer/Technology
4.  Library
5.  Cool Down Space
6.  Teacher Area
7.  Materials/Classroom Supplies

My classroom is currently in a state of disarray for summer cleaning, so I will post updated pictures of my room closer to the beginning of the school year.  Until then, I'll share with you an easy way I have found to "work" on my classroom without actually being there or moving the first piece of furniture.  By using PowerPoint, I can design my classroom at home :)  The gray pieces are furniture that can be moved around and the blue pieces are fixtures in my classroom that must stay where they are.

I do not overdecorate in my classroom for a couple of reasons.  First of all, I personally do not like a lot of "stuff" around.  If I do not really work on keeping my space organized then I can quickly let it get out of control.  So, if I start with only what is actually need then I am less likely to create a mess of all of the cutesy, teacher things laying around.  Second of all, the students that I work with typically have diagnoses of ADHD or ADD, anxiety, autism, learning disorders, etc. and limiting the visual clutter in my classroom helps them become less distracted.  I have been in rooms that even I can't concentrate in because of all of the posters on the wall or bright colors.  Now, I'm not hating if you are that type of teacher, it just doesn't work for me and typically doesn't work for my students.  Neat, labeled and organized helps my students and help teaches them to be that way by example.  

Lastly, classroom management is extremely important in the resource room.  Beyond setting up high expectations, clearly outlined rules, and a structured environment, a good behavior management and incentive program has always been helpful in my classroom.  I have students for a very short period of time during the day, but we have a LOT to get done in that amount of time.  It is important that each and every minute is used efficiently and effectively.  A visual behavior system has been useful to implement in my resource room over the years.  
In the past I have used a clip chart system with students earning a point if they stay on green for the class.  
I have also used a class store.  This worked well for me last year, because my reading program incorporated points and I used the reading points and behavior points as currency to shop from the store.  
This year, I have a few different ideas that I promise to share with you as the new school year gets closer!

To find out more about how others setup up their classrooms, hop on to the next blog:
Mrs. P's Specialties


  1. I also wrote about the importance of organization and "decluttering". Too often I see well-intentioned teachers leaving up every single anchor chart or quick reference guide that he or she made for the students. When done this way, these resources just become clutter and useless for the students. It is important to have a healthy balance. Great tips!

    The Organized Plan Book

    1. Thanks! I have to really stay on top of staying organized and making sure to declutter!

  2. I love color, but despise clutter as you can obviously see from my room! Also, love that new button! :)

  3. I'm not sure if my comment will be on here twice (if so, sorry). Do you have more information on your school store and maybe some pictures? I tried it last year to no ava but would love to try again! Thanks!

  4. That's ok. I will share more about my store soon. I don't have any pics right now, because my room is a mess, but I'll share as soon as I get it back together.

    1. Thanks! I also meant to write that I really love your blog. I'm trying really hard this year to set it up to be easy to use for anyone since I'll be out on maternity leave at the end of January. This is definitely helping!

  5. I love using Powerpoint to arrange rooms. I miss the furniture clip art they used to have in shapes! I also would love to see a post about your school store!!
    Autism Classroom News

  6. I think I am guilty of putting too much on the walls of my classroom. I am trying to be aware throughout the school year about what my students actually use in the classroom, and what is just a distraction. This post makes me confident that it's okay to put up less! Thank you!


Your comments make me smile! :)