Classroom Structure: Why Is It Important?

We hear about classroom structure all the time. For many of us it becomes like second nature. We seem to innately create little cave-like alcoves in our classroom when setting up whether we mean to our not. But let’s stop for a minute and think about it – why is this structure important? Sometimes we do things for so long that we forget to reevaluate why it’s actually necessary.

Why is classroom structure important?

  • decreased negative behaviors
  • lessen student anxiety
  • increase independence
  • increase efficiency

Those are some pretty impressive outcomes and I better have caught your attention. Decreased anxiety? More independence? Who would turn those things down? That’s like turning down free doughnuts or free wine. Don’t be silly. We are jumping on that bandwagon.

So let’s say you got abducted by aliens. You’re probably freaked out, right. They kept talking to you but you don’t speak alienese. But every time they take you to the blue room they give you cookies, diet coke, and let you watch netflix. Every time they take you to the green room you have to do long division and eat celery. Even though you don’t know what they are saying after a few days of this routine, you know what will happen when you walk into the blue room and probably even start to develop a preference.  Okay, fine stupid example but you get my point.

Goal = Predictability

Our goal is to develop a predictable routine to help our students anticipate what they will do each day. They sit at the same tables and do they types of work at each table.

Since verbal language and socially cues can be difficult for children with autism, when the same physical areas are used for the same types of tasks – students know what is expected of them and what they will be doing when they arrive at a center.

This week we will be talking all about classroom structure. Whether you are a first year teacher or an old pro just looking to refresh your classroom, I love looking at classroom layouts. Reevaluating a space and trying to maximize every square inch actually makes me kind of ridiculously excited. This week will be talking about ways to create meaningful structure in your class, how to utilize this structure, how to apply these concepts to the general ed room, and more! Stay tuned 🙂


  1. Sasha, you have such an engaging way of communicating. Your web page is my first go-to when I am working to improve my classroom both environmentally and pedagogically. I teach in a small portable and although I feel I use my space wisely, I realize that there is always room for improvement. I look forward to reading your next installment. Thank you for your input on so many levels as I strive to make my classroom better today than it was yesterday.

  2. So excited about this week’s topic! I am moving into a new self-contained classroom and have been thinking about the layout, routine, schedule. I will be tuning in 🙂

  3. Thank you so much for this sweet comment! Makes my day to know that these posts are helpful. SO glad you are enjoying reading 🙂

  4. Yay! Good luck with your new position! 🙂

  5. if you dont have the space to use big pieces of furniture to divide a space or you dont have enough big pieces of furniture to use, you can always use bifold room dividers you can get from any home decor store. I use 1 throughout my classroom for those who are having difficulties focusing. Due to the age of my students, they have to learn how to keep focused in more distracting scenarios if they can to learn how to stay productive after they leave high school. I usually only make physical dividing spaces with big furniture for those who need that extra help to keep calm, focused, and contained (for safety reasons …. i.e. elopement or aggressive behavior towards self or others). My goal for my kids is for them to always gain skills to be able to move out of the “office spaces” and into the general area.

  6. Great suggestions!


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