Welcome back to the special ed summer blog hop! We are week 2 of the 5 week hop and this week is all about creating a classroom space that meets the needs of your students.
My students are highly distractable and do best when their environment is highly structured and divided up to limit extra visual distractions. At the same time, I need to be able to see what is going on at all times.
Obviously this picture is from last summer, before school started back up. You can see how I seperated the 2 work tables while still allowing for good supervision.
Here is a view from the door. The tables didn't work out, so we went back to desks. Otherwise, the room set-up remained the same. The table with the two chairs in it by my teacher desk is where I pull students for direct teaching. This puts me in a good position because I am facing the 2 back tables while the students I'm working with have their backs to the other groups.
One way to limit visual distractions is to cover them up. I know that there are lots of cool patterned fabric out there (Chevron anyone?!), but choosing a dark solid color will block out distractions well.
In the picture above, you can see our student mailboxes. I try to build in as many opportunities as possible for students to practice recognizing their names as well as their peers. For mailbox name tags, I use binder clips with erasable labels. The binder clips are great for moving the names around easily. If I have a student with a visual impairment I can write his/her name in a different color and make their mailbox be on top. If you wanted to promote continual scanning you could also move the names on mailboxes periodically.
Here is an up close view of the lesson plan materials also on the windowsill above. I also blog over at the Classroom Tested Resources collaborative blog. I wrote a whole post just on this element. Click HERE to read it.