Have you been curious about how to set up your elementary autistic support classroom? Join me as I give you a sneak peek inside my classroom!
Come on in!
When you enter my classroom, you will find a sign-in station for my students. Each student has a sign-in sheet with their name and a blank line (or a traceable name) for them to practice writing their name each morning. Also included in their arrival routine is to place their communication log/folder in the pink bin under the sign-in station. This is a consistent routine that the students typically master by the end of the second week of school.
At the front of the room, you’ll find our daily schedule and related services schedule. It is important that a daily schedule is posted in a central location so that staff and students are able to view it with ease. Daily schedules keep everyone on track with specific activities throughout the day. I especially like to include a related services schedule due to my students receiving these services at different times and frequencies. Again, it helps to keep students and staff on track, and reduces the questions and confusion that can come with these differing schedules. Sticking to your schedule and establishing a daily routine is critical in an elementary autistic support classroom, however, schedules change. We must also be able to adapt to schedule changes and be flexible, which are great teachable moments for our students!
Each of my students have their own desk for their own belongings. Each morning they sit at their desks to participate in morning meeting. I make a copy of the Google Slides for each of my students and share it to their individual iPads. While my paras are manipulating the Promethean Board and leading morning meeting, the students are following along, interacting, and manipulating their morning meeting slides. This helps to keep the students engaged during this time, and reduces the amount of downtime that can sometimes happen during a morning meeting. Students also use their desks when their individual schedule indicates that they are to have time on their iPads or for times when they are eating, such as breakfast and snack.
Teacher and Para Areas
This year, I set up my teacher space a little differently than I have in the past. I still have my personal desk space, but I have included a group/center table connected to this space. It has eliminated a lot of back and forth that I would normally do during the day when checking emails, answering the phone, accessing materials, etc… I am able to keep everything I need for teaching my students right at my fingertips, which keeps the students engaged and reduces downtime. My para’s area is set up more for a prep/work space. They are able to keep their personal belongings in their desk, but they also have access to the laminator, printer/copier, colored paper, binding machine, and so much more. I made this space for them so they are able to prep activities and materials they may need throughout the week.
If you implement a center rotation system in your classroom, it is important to set up an independent work station as one of your centers. This gives you and your paras to work with other students, while increasing independent skills for each student as well. There are many different ways to implement an independent work station. Here are a few resources from the Simply Special Ed Shop to get you started:
Last, but not least…
The Calm Corner. Just looking at it makes me feel peaceful. My students love this area of our classroom. It includes sensory items (beanbag, body sock, peapod…), books, book buddies, pillows and blankets, and many more items to help my students regulate their emotions and take a break when needed.
Here are a couple of photos to show exactly how my elementary autistic support classroom is set up. It has plenty of space to be accessible for all students and spread out enough that students can learn at their center without being too distracted by the other centers around them.
Let me know in the comments below if there is anything you’d like to see more in-depth in my elementary autistic support classroom! What will your include in your classroom setup?