First up today, I wanted to show you my classroom layout as well as a brief explanation of each area in my classroom!
Kids with autism thrive in a setting that is structured through utilizing visuals and schedules, but the physical layout of the classroom is important too! I try to divide each area by utilizing furniture (shelves, tables, desks, etc.). I also label each of these areas with the same pictures as my student schedules. This physical structure helps students understand "where" they need to be. I find that this physical structure helps keep kids from running away or roaming around the room. Since our kids our visual learners, we need to appeal to that sense in everything we do. You can potentially prevent problem behavior by providing a great deal of physical structure from the get-go. Some areas in my class are used for multiple types of activities, but the adult/routine stays the same at each station. For instance, I always am the adult at "teacher time"; the kids always come the same time of day to my station; however, we do complete a variety of activities depending on which IEP goal we are working on.
Here are some brief descriptions of each area in my room:
AM Group Area: Our morning circle which consists of going over the weather, calendar, social skills, and academic skills each day. We also use this area to store our schedules (on each student's desk). And, the kids gather here to sit and wait for transitions out of the room (recess/going home).
Independent Work Area: This is home to "Work Station" and "Factory." Both stations involve allowing students to work on already mastered skills to foster maintenance and independence.
Break Area: This area has bean bags, large therapy balls, as well as a variety of other toys for kids to engage with during break times.
Reading Area: This station is run by an assistant. Students work on a variety of reading and spelling skills through hands-on activities. Students read adapted books, complete daily spelling worksheets (roll a word, make a sentence, etc.), as well as other seasonal reading center activities.
Language: This station is run by an assistant. Students work on increasing their speed and accuracy on a variety of flash card sets and fluency timing sheets. Students also have binders of worksheets related to IEP goals which they work on when they are not involved in a fluency timing.
Teacher Time: This is where students work with me on IEP goals that need more targeted or direct instruction.
Science: This station is run by an assistant. Students work on completing worksheets and hands-on activities about a monthly science topic.
Small Group Table: This area is used for a variety of activities. We have our daily math groups here; I run a 2nd (higher level) morning group here; we use this for art projects, cooking activities, and playing small group games.
Computer Area: Here, we have 2 classroom computers and some iPads for student use during break times as well as targeted "technology" time. I have never had "technology time" before...but am super excited this year about it! I am creating a list of apps for each student that goes with their IEP goals. That way students can work on addressing IEP goals through technology!!
I will be back soon with more photos and more detailed explanations of my stations!