My Classroom

Welcome to my classroom! I teach in a self-contained, life skills unit at a middle school (7th-8th grade). My students all have severe disabilities and are in my classroom for the majority of the day. They each go to at least 2 general education elective classes, like PE or art, depending on their needs and interests. Here's a few pictures of my classroom from the past few years

Classroom 2014-2015

My classroom is pretty small, so I have had to get creative with the best ways to maximize space and minimize the chaos.  I've had anywhere from 4 to 16 students on my caseload. Many of my students are one on one, some have pretty intensive behaviors, and usually a few have significant mobility needs. I also am blessed to work with some amazing paraprofessionals. I usually have 4-6 paraprofessionals each year.

Classroom 2014-2015, Group Area
I like to make sure I always have a few group areas in my classroom. Because of the wide range of abilities and communication styles in my classroom, I rarely do whole class instruction. Instead, I split the class up into groups and each group goes to one of the group areas. I will run one group and my paras will run the others.

My classroom always has an independent work area. My independent work tasks are stored in the mint bins on this shelf that I bought from Walmart. They are sorted by type and difficulty. The icons on the front of the bins are removable, and there is a copy of the image underneath the Velcro. I place the removable icons on student's visual schedules. They go to the correct bin and locate the task and when they are finished, they put the task and the icon back.

I also use independent task boxes that I store on this awesome shelf that I got for free from my librarian. I sort these by level- Errorless, Level 1, Level 2, and Level. I use my Work Tasks for Secondary Students (you can read more about them here) and Especially Education's task boxes.

Independent Work Task Area 2014-2015
Independent Work Task Area 2014-2015
Independent Work Task Area 2014-2015

I've switched up my classroom management system pretty much every year, depending on my students and their needs. I usually use a classroom economy with class money. You can read about how I implement it here. Students use the money they earn to purchase reinforcers during free time or purchase items from our classroom store at the end of the day.

This picture is from my classroom in 2015-2016. You can read about how I used behavioral trackers here. The students pick up their trackers in the morning from this clipboard stand. The blue strip of paper taped on the counter is a counting aid for students when they purchase items from the store (see below.)

 This cupboard is our class store. Students only have access to this at the end of the day.
Classroom Store

I have an adjoining room in my classroom that we call the "motor room." Some years, it's used for motor, some years for sensory, some years for behavior, some years for storage. Currently, our free time cupboard is in this room.  I love that it's not as easily accessible during work time. It's full of games, puzzles, and books that students can choose during free time. They also have access to portable DVD players, iPads or computers during free time, but they have must have enough class money to purchase an activity. I have a rule that if they had an electronic device for free time one class period, they must choose something else the next class period. This way we can rotate and everyone can have a turn.

Free Time Area

This is one of my favorite things in my classroom!  This is where I store all of my picture icons for student schedules or PECS books.  I always print and laminate extra when I create new icons and keep them here so we can easily grab one when the other gets lost or eaten.

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