Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Pictures of Organization...

At the request of a poster (Cathy), I am posting a few pictures of some of my classroom organization.  Now I wanted to pretty things up and make them look perfect before I took pictures, but considering my last post was about my lack of organization, I figured I should just take some pictures on a regular day without making things look pretty.  Since taking the pics, I have already started some new organization systems in my room, so I'll have to take more pictures soon.

This is a picture of the bookshelf in my room.  We used to just have large bins filled with books, and last year I worked on organizing them into themes for students to choose from.  I don't have tons of books as these are all books I've bought with my own money, but the categories include: fiction, seasons/weather, history, character fiction, science, school, animals, holidays, homemade books, and books on tape.  Right above the bookshelf is my wall mounted tv and vcr/dvd player, so the top of the bookshelf often serves as a holder for dvd games, movies, etc.

My smartboard is on my main wall, so this board is adjacent to it.  I usually have our topic and cooking activity posted for the week, as well as a book sitting on the board that relates to the topic and a switch recorded with the book on it (that day it was in use when I took the picture).  My math students fill in the calendar info during their class.

I used to have a lot more dry erase board space, but since my smartboard was mounted on top of it, this is the only space I have to post our schedule for the week.  On this schedule I usually post OT, PT, Vision, Speech, lunch club, field trips, assemblies, etc.

This is my set of cubbies for smaller items.  I need to reorganize and relabel them a little, but for the most part they make it pretty easy for anyone to walk in and find a glue stick, a switch, or batteries.  We usually keep our larger switch toys on top of it, but the day I took this pic it looks like a few things got piled up there.

This is our 'pantry'.  I have two cabinets above my kitchen area, but one of them holds all our meds because it is our only locked cabinet in the room.  The other one usually housed all our food, but it was too small and was always crammed with things.  So this year I added this bookshelf, which helps separate the kitchen area (the door to my classroom is right behind it), and gives us much more space to grow into.  The only problem I'm having is one student who likes to take food from the shelves, but it has turned into a positive situation of sorts: we are working on spontaneous communication, and he will just walk to the pantry and point to or touch what he wants.  We just keep doing what we are doing or prompt him with 'use your words' until he states what he wants.  And if he doesn't ask, he doesn't get anything.  This is really helping him increase his spontaneous requests, as food is a big motivator for him.

Side view of the pantry-- to the left is the kitchen, to the right is the door to my classroom.  This area is beginning to serve as a 'postings for staff' area.  This is the first year I've had a box to keep 'to do' items for staff, such as laminating, cutting, etc.  In the past I've just done it myself or asked someone to do it, but this year I've gone from two paras and myself in my room all day to 5 paras in and out of my room as well as myself in and out.  This is making my life a lot easier, and they know to look in it when they need something to do.  This wall also has a list of specific prompts for a student who has some inappropriate behavior, some student schedules, etc.  I'm working on organizing this area right now, so I think it will improve.  On the back of the bookshelf, I have made labels with each of my student's names, and below each name is a magnetic clipboard with their data sheets attached.  This is really convenient for staff to grab a student's data sheets while they are walking out the door.

My bathroom.  This is the changing table, and below each student has a fabric drawer that contains their personal care items.  Next to the table is a bookshelf which holds student's wipes containers, boxes of gloves, clorox wipes, lysol, paper towel rolls, and chux.

So this is a brief overview of the organization I do have going for me, but I've got a ways to go this year.  Thanks for those who posted their organization ideas-- I've already borrowed some of them!

P.S. did I mention that the coolest thing about my room (and building) is that all the walls are magnetic?  I just think that is the coolest thing, and especially convenient in my room where I'm always posting things everywhere!  My favorite are those heavy duty magnetic wreath holder hooks people use on their front door at Christmas; they are very strong and I have them hanging everywhere to hang bins, cords, bags, etc.


  1. Wow --- thank you - this is soooo cool. Got some good ideas here!

  2. You mentioned that you had a book recorded on a switch. What kinds of books do you put on switches? I was wondering how you use this - do you do this so that non-verbal students can "read" the book? I'm wondering if this is something that could work for me.

    Thanks for the great pictures - I've been taking a lot of inspiration from them.

  3. Hi Michie-- you are right, I record a book on the switch so my students can participate in 'reading books'. I usually do this two ways: one is recording an entire book onto a sequencing switch, with each hit of the switch reading one page. This gives the students an opportunity to read independently, like if they are laying out of their chair on the mat. It can also give them a chance to 'read' a book to a peer, which is empowering for them. The other way I have my kids read books is to record 'turn the page please' onto a single switch, like a BigMack. While a peer or staff member reads the book, they pause after each page and prompt the student to hit their switch. This can be fun because they may make you read the book really slowly, or they may try to have you fly through the pages quickly! These are both fun, easy activities to do with switch users to give them more opportunities to 'read books'.