Hey guys, Could you guys please give me some tips on setting up my classroom. I just signed my contract for a self-contained, 2-5 classroom, 4 students with Autism and Downs syndrome. This is my first teaching position and I am both excited and nervous. I was a parapro for 3 Ĺ years in a self contained pre k class. I have seen my classroom once, but the teacher who was using the classroom last year has not yet moved out. I have not yet seen the kidís IEP's. Iím not sure where I need to start to set up the classroom. Any suggestions would be welcome. Please help. :-)
I have not taught S-C, but would try to get a hold of that teacher to get a bit of info in advance. Of course, look at the IEP's. They may or may not give you the info you need. Scheduling will be important as I hope these kids are mainstreamed for at least part of the day. I would like to start with a clean room and then try to envision a "home" for these kids. You are lucky that you have been a Para. I hope you will have one. Good luck. It sounds challenging!
two different work spaces so I can work with one student or group while another group works independently or with a para. I also plan to do better incorporating centers of different types this year. I also plan to have a small time-out/safety zone where they can take themselves or be sent to calm down and get a grip on their emotions. I also have (now) a computer area. It consists of two computers that are not hooked up to the internet but has Inspiration, Word and lots of Reader Rabbit, Math-a-thon CDs, Sesame street, and other educational cd games on their level.
I have taken the time to gather books of every genre, size, type and level. They love books! It doesn't seem to bother them if they cannot read it. I love being able to expose them to books as well. There is a carpet in that area. I also have my desk and a small desk for my paras.
To me, the scheduling is the hardest part!! Just do the best you can and try to not let the pressure get to you... PM me if you have specific questions.
Congratulations on your new position! One of my favorite places to start is by setting up a wall for Circle Time. I also set up a workspace with table and chairs. Then I leave space for centers and a classroom library.
I found a picture of my Circle time wall. It has a posting of class rules; calendar; number, color, letter and shape of the week, pattern of the week, colors and color words, daily writing, name of the day
Scheduling is hard, but be flexible to change because it will! Get in contact with the Autistic Specialist in your district on programs. My severe students need therapy PT/OT/speech along with teaching them life skills. Good luck to you in your new position!
I'm in your same spot there, lamina! I too was hired to teach a self-contained (specialized) classroom for children K-3. This will be my first year also. I've seen my classroom also as I was there when the teacher moved out. I have a large room, so I'm excited about that although, I to, am searching for ideas. My mind was as blank as the walls in the room when I first glanced at it! It's an overwhelming feeling at first. But, I think the main thing is to keep it simple and start with the basics as I'll be adding more and revising as the year goes by.
Thanks for the fellow teacher ideas below, as they are a great start!
For the "bones" of the room, I'm starting out by using individual desks because then I can place children near others with similiar goals and also place children individually because they may need that focus.
I like the idea of finding a good place for a circle or common area where you can have welcomes, calendar concepts, do group activities, etc.
Then, there's the idea of the "quiet, break space" filled with materials that will help calm your students in times of stress.
Also utilizing your related service staff like the Autism specialist, speech and language pathologist, etc. will be a good resource. If asked, they always seem to have a solution or a new perspective to the issues that arise throughout the year.
I definately think it's a good start to let IEP guide you through scheduling activities.
Also, check with your fellow teacher's in your building. Upon organizing/storing up their classrooms for the summer, they may find materials that they just are not going to use or don't need because they are moving to another grade level, etc.
Utilizing what you have or what you have available at your disposal is my last basic first tip to successful set up! All my best to you!
I would definitely try to find a "sensory" area where you can have exercise balls, fidgets, body socks, etc.
Kids will definitely need a place to take breaks.
Consider it like a house....you need a place for them to work and learn, a place to play, a place to eat (I assume you will do some sort of snack?...It's nice to have the kids involved in setting and cleaning that up), a place for rest/calming, etc.
I'm sure your mind is spinning with ideas. I have a s-c 3rd-5th with 13 students and 4 teaching assistants. It was quite a challenge setting it up, but what helped was thinking of having a space for each adult to serve the students and a special place for reading to the students. Storytime is a highlight of each day, so I have set up a circle carpet as well as a chair for me. The circle carpet happens to be an ocean motif, and it is used as a "meeting place" throughout the day. The students are often requested to "go to the ocean." They quickly learn the routine and expectations of that area as well as the the other areas in the room. I have a moveable white board that can be easily brought to the "ocean" if I need to write something or post something to go along with the story.
I, too, have a wall in the front of the class with the calendar, daily schedule, patterns, clock, day and date listed. We start the day here and each student does have a desk facing this chalkboard. Starting the day at a desk seems to set the tone for the day. It is easier to settle into the routine and assignments for the day if the students start at a desk. They move to activity areas from there, but they come in ready to start work with either a journal assignment or math daily work assignment at their independent level. With students ranging from pre-k to 2nd grade level it is important to be organized with something for them to do upon arriving because so many things can come up right at the start of the day, and if they don't have something they can do right away time can be lost so easily.
I was reading your post and had a couple of questions. I have taught fourth grade in a regular ed and collaborative class as a special ed teacher and this year was offered a position as a special ed teacher in a SC 3-5 grade class. I am very excited and nervous at the same time.
I wanted to ask you what is your schedule each day and how do you tie in the curriculum from the different grades. I will have 9 students in 3rd and 4th grade this year and two assistants.
Any help that you could provide or websites I can go to would be great.
I would first start with what is your theme??? Then I would call a meeting to talk with your paras. At that time I would tell them what you want from them and how you plan to work as a team this school year and anything that you might know about the students.
But before that meeting I would have a behavior management system that you can tell them about that you are going to use for your students. Also I lwould have a letter typed up that will go home with your students on the first day that tells about you,a behavior plan,and any supplies they will need to bring to school, a wish list for your classroom such as (books new or use, clorox wipes, small toys or snacks that you might use for your reward system.) You can make three diffrent letters.