Discover Best Practices for Preparing Your Classroom for the New School Year

By: Warren Laidler

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It’s That Time of Year Again!

The new school year has arrived, and everyone is busy preparing for their students. Lesson plans, IEP’s, new curriculums, and training days all encompass our time before school starts. However, one of the key factors of this preparation is the learning environment.

Is your classroom ready for the new school year?

Top 10 Classroom Preparation Set-Up Checklist

❏     Is your classroom clean and orderly?

❏     Is your classroom inviting for your students — Is it a place that encourages students to do their best?

❏     Is your classroom inviting for your team and other adults?

❏     Does your classroom have clearly physically defined areas based on learning activity that will encourage learning and reduce distraction? (i.e. individual desks; small/large group
instruction area; quiet area; play area; technology area)

❏     Does your classroom have clearly physically defined transition area in which movement between classroom stations and/or to outside of the classroom occurs?

❏     Is your classroom well organized to promote student learning and minimize challenging behavior? (i.e. activities and tasks kept in clear/well labeled clear plastic bins; classroom decorations and bulletin boards in an organized and logical layout so not to be distracting or overwhelming)

❏     Does your classroom have a class daily written/illustrated schedule to help your students predict their environment, stay on task, encourage learning, and prevent problem behavior?

❏     Does your classroom have individual daily schedules for your students who need additional support above the classroom schedule?

❏     Does your classroom contain visual instructions for activities? (i.e. picture/word instructions on how to wash hands)

❏     Does your classroom have a classroom wide or individual reinforcement schedule(s) posted and clearly visible? (i.e. token boards for individual student earning)

Congratulations! Your classroom is now ready for the new school year! Just by making these 10 changes to the environment, you have improved the effectiveness of the entire program.

If you would like a formal environmental rating scale to evaluate your classrooms physical organization that will provide suggestions for improvement, you can take the Autism Program Environment Rating Scale of Self-Assessment (APERS). This is a great tool to help evaluate your classroom’s physical layout at the beginning of each school year. Below are some additional tips for creating the most ideal classroom for your students.

Help and Support for Classroom Organization

For visual supports, instructions, and reinforcement systems check out the “My Resources” section of your Rethink account.

Learn tips and real-world examples of classroom set-up, check out the “Setting Up for Success” archived webinar in “My Resources“:

Check out other classroom organization tips and best practices.

View Webinar

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