My classroom's physical setup

Here is a video tour of my classroom this year.  The camera work isn't the best, I apologize.

Untitled from Nicole Mays on Vimeo.

My classroom is set up with very clear physical boundaries defining each area.
  • This defines the space so that the students understand where they are supposed to be
  • This minimizes visual (and some auditory) distractions from other areas of the room
  • This provides obstacles to discourage "runners" from eloping (or at least gives us a bit more time to catch up to them)
As you will see from the video, the main areas of my classroom are
  • the entry "hallway" where the students put away their backpacks in the morning and where we line up when leaving the classroom
  • laundry area
  • kitchen
  • bathroom
  • storage nook and closet
  • whole group instruction area (tables)
  • carpet/circle time whole group instruction area
  • individual work desks
  • computer stations
  • other various areas (the small whiteboard easel, swing, books, listening area, etc.)
  • teacher desk/area (at the back of the room)
  • teacher work area (at the front of the room)
  • Sensory room (separate room)
When we do small group work, the groups are either in the sensory room, on the carpet, or at one of the tables in the front of the room.  ADL (Activities of daily living) obviously take place in the bathroom, kitchen or laundry area.  Whole group work either takes place at the tables (if there will be writing, using manipulatives, etc.- anything where the students will each be doing their own activity) or on the carpet (when we use the wiimote whiteboard, story time, etc. - anything where we will be working on one activity together as a group).
I am tremendously lucky to have a lot of storage! I also use shelf units as dividers, and then cover the shelves with curtains (I use curtains to cover EVERYTHING, as you can see - out of sight is out of mind and it keeps little hands from getting into everything - also minimizes visual distraction as the curtains are a solid, calming blue). The shelves provide even more storage.
You will also probably notice the light covers.  These are available in different colors, but I kindof have a blue theme going in my room anyway, and I have found blue to be a calming color for most of my kiddos so I go with blue. They tone down the harshness of the flourescent lights but still leave plenty of light for us to see.
The wooden dividers between the individual desks were made by my dad, as were the footstools on some of the chairs that you see and the stairs in the entry "hallway".
The next few posts will be about room setup, and I'll go into more detail about some of the areas and things that you see in the video.

5 Responses to "My classroom's physical setup"

jackie (visit their site)

thank you thank you thank you for this fabulous tour :) i'm incredibly jealous of your space (especially the storage!), but it's very clear that you've worked so hard to create a classroom that best benefits your kiddos! i will definitely be "stealing" some of your ideas!

Monica (visit their site)

You have put a load of work in to making this classroom work for you and your students. It is wonderful to see and gave me some great ideas for my classroom. I just found your blog and am so excited to continue reading it :).

MNicoleM (visit their site)

Jackie and Monica - thanks for visiting! I have put a lot of my heart and soul (and paycheck) into the class LOL - and Jackie, I am incredibly lucky to have so much space and storage!!

TomekaWilliams (visit their site)

You are truly insprirational. I am so excited to have found your site. We need more teachers like you. I am a aspiring Teacher. I have just started working on my Bachelor degree here in Georgia. I have a 6 year old autistic son in a MOID classroom who is my inspiration to teach in Special Education. Thank you for making yourself known. You are simply AWESOME!

MNicoleM (visit their site)

aww! Thank you TomekaWilliams! And good luck in your education - we certainly need more good special education teachers. Also best of luck in the future for your son :-)