Classroom Structure {Making It Work}

Categories: Interventions | Resources

You are setting up your classroom. You’re sweaty. You’re tired. You’re feeling like you have writer’s block. My advice – back track a bit. Go back to your notes or ideas for Step 1: Organization and Planning. Make sure you are letting yourself think outside the box. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut, especially if you have been teaching for a few years. You start to think that things “need” to go in this certain spot. I’m getting so crazy that I am even toying with the idea of not having a teacher’s desk next year. I know! Nuts! We will see if it actually happens.

Maybe your issue is that you have not been granted a large classroom. You are feeling cramped and like you can’t fit in all the centers. No worries. I have gotten a ton of emails asking if you can use the same center for different activities. My short answer – yes! My long answer – The rationale behind using one area or table for only activity is to provide additional cues and prompts for what the student will be doing.  Many people with autism often do not pick up on social cues and/or expressive language. When they arrive at a new location, they often do not understand what is expected of them since they cannot comprehend cues and language. Using additional prompts such as visuals, routine, physical boundaries, and specific tables will help them understand what happens at each center.

The one table for one activity setup is really just  an additional cue for our kids. It’s not a rule. You can use other cues if you don’t have enough tables.

– switch out the visuals

– use a time routine

– therapist/teachers/aides as cue

– colored table cloths or worksheets

Check out this post for more ideas:

The Autism Helper - Structure

Give yourself some time to play around the the furniture set up. Nothing is set in stone. You can always change things later in the year. Yes, you can. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Figure out what works for your students. Every child with autism is so different so every classroom group is going to be very different! And remember – moving furniture counts as your daily workout 🙂

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4 Comments

  1. I have to tell you that I got rid of my desk and I haven’t missed it one bit. I just put everything next to my teacher table. I love having the extra space. My coworker thought I was crazy and then she did it too. I say go for it.

    Reply
  2. Yes! I am really thinking about it! Thanks for the input!

    Reply
  3. I’m thinking about getting rid of mine too. I never sit at it in the day time, and often find even before and after school that I will sit at a kid’s desk, or one of our big tables. Often my teacher table is just a dump zone….

    Reply
  4. I also thought about getting rid of my desk too but I do use it every day before and after school. I think I could use the area for more productive things but I need space for all my preparation, IEPs, and data collection.

    Keep the good ideas coming!

    Andrea

    Reply

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