Classroom Set-Up

Welcome back to our Special Education Summer Blog Hop! This week you can take a tour of some great special education classrooms and get ideas for your own classroom set-up or some fresh ideas for the new school year! Disclaimer: I was on maternity leave this spring so I have not had a chance to update my classroom tour photos. This classroom tour is somewhat outdated but still relevant! Come back in August and I will give you an updated tour of my 2015-2016 classroom.

When you first walk in to my room, you will see our behavior chart and our transportation chart. I chose this for transportation because there are always a lot of adults in and out of my room, and I like to be able to see where everyone is going at a glance. You can read all about my behavior system by clicking here. 

This is our "business center" if you will. The kids come in and take care of business in the morning. They drop off their folders in the blue basket, choose their lunch and sign their name. My lunch count pictures stop me from having to repeat what the lunch choices are a million different times! They are stuck on with velcro and I have pictures for every choice of lunch that my school offers so I can change them each day. I am working on polishing these up for TPT and they should be available in my store this summer.

Have you been to a frozen yogurt place with those great sturdy spoons? I save them and use them as the name sticks for our lunch count. They are durable and cute!

My classroom jobs are also displayed here and I change those weekly. Next to my student mailboxes I store construction paper by color for quick access and easy organizing.

My birthday wall is one of my favorite parts of my classroom! I got the gift bags at Target for .69 cents each, and then I used the birthday set from Erica Bohrer. Since I have a small class, we also include our principal, secretaries, custodian and nurse on our birthday wall so we don't forget about the special people that help us each day!

At the end of this countertop is my shrine to Dr. Seuss because I have such a special place in my heart for him. The Lorax has always been my favorite children's book. I made these truffula trees out of pom pom flowers. Some of my happiest childhood memories are my dad reading me Dr. Seuss books! The small trash can is used for a word family of the week. The kids will put a word in to the trash can if it belongs in the word family and then I will draw them out like tickets each week to pick a winner.

Our next stop is my play area. This is where my kids have free time. It is also our sensory table during centers every day. That rectangular table is a sensory tub with a cover, so underneath it is where I put different sensory tubs. Above the sensory table is our Scrap Monster. It is where we throw any scraps and extra papers. The kids use it for crafts, free drawing and scrap paper when they need it. Who knew a recycling bin would become more popular than toys?! If you don't have a Scrap Monster in your room you need to get one!

Since I last photographed my classroom I have added a grocery store play area. You can read all about it by clicking here. 

This is one part of my library and my workbook storage area. The baskets on the bookshelves hold leveled reading books for guided reading. The top four bins are: Theme books for the month, Magazines, "Fun Stuff" (like Angry Bird books and popular books that the kids go crazy for) and Eye-Spy Books. On the book display I have all of our theme books for the month that I read to my kids. In the colored bins I store all of my student workbooks. 

Since I teach two grade levels, I have 2 sets of workbooks for reading, writing, handwriting and math. This is the only way to keep it all straight! I also have scissors and glue sticks here for quick access because my students don't store those things in their supply boxes. Along the white side of the shelf are my students' photos in the order that our line goes for the week. This visual is helpful for all of my students because they always want to be the line leader and they start fighting over who they stand next to. Having the line order on display settles all disputes about getting in line. I change this weekly. Next to the line order is our supply box basket. You can read an entire post about my visuals by clicking here.

Along this wall is my children's book library and some other miscellaneous supplies. These books are organized by theme. Below them from left to right is a basket full of flash cards for quick access by the students and teachers, clipboards, boxed puzzles, musical instruments, tangrams, math legos and small wooden blocks. On the very bottom are my crate stools, and you can read my tutorial by clicking here!

This is my calendar center and teacher chair. This whole corner has changed since I last took photos of my room- specifically those shelves behind the chair! Now those are home to all of my center tubs which are pictured below in the photo of me reading to my class on Read Across America Day.

Below the monthly calendar is our weather graph, with our morning meeting activities and greetings hanging next to it. All of the pieces of our calendar are velcro so we can easily change things each day.

Inside that four square jewelry organizer are my calendar pieces for the upcoming months. The polka dot bucket has our brain break sticks in it. The tall clear container is our "party puff jar"- the kids earn puffs for being good as a whole class. When we fill up the jar we will have a special party! In the pink magazine holder are additional morning meeting ideas, as well as "minute filler" books for extra minutes here and there.

The next stop is that back wall below the windows. On the bottom shelves I have all of my supplies in bins. These are supplies and materials that we use frequently.

Along my window sill I have family photos of all of my students. In August when I send home a welcome packet I ask my families to send in a photo for our classroom. I love making our classroom a comfortable and happy place and I think this helps! The kids can read to their families and share the photos with their classmates throughout the year. Below the photos I have some community supplies hanging in buckets from Ikea.

Behind my guided reading horseshoe table are all of the materials that I use with my kiddos during direct instruction and centers. This STAR crate is the home to all of my data collection and student information.

The blue crate has all of my teacher manuals for the direct instruction programs I use, as well as my guided reading materials.

Each of my students has a skill basket that has materials specific for them. The things that I put in these baskets are directly related to their IEP goals. It is also where I store books that they are working in. They have flash cards, letter and sound cards, picture sorts, sound tubs, etc. The things that are in their skill basket also get sent home for additional practice in my students' "skill bags".  I like this system because there is always something to grab to work on with a student and they are accessible to my aides as well.

Next to my skill baskets is my sub tub which holds materials for substitutes. Next to that is my drawers full of daily materials and things for centers.

These are my daily bins and the bins where I organize what we need for centers each day.

These drawers are perfect for months of the year because there are 10 for September-June. Inside of each one is where I store copies that I will need each month. It is only where I store monthly specific things that I send out for copies in August and get for the whole year. For example, monthly behavior calendars, morning work for each month and calendar math for each month. 

This corner of the room tends to get a little disastrous, especially by Friday! Please excuse the piles of stuff everywhere!!

This is a teacher station, which means it is a computer the kids don't use. It has mailboxes for my aides and our teacher projects basket. Our teacher projects basket holds projects for when there is downtime in the classroom, like lamination that needs cutting out or copies that need to be made. My aides are sooooo unbelievably helpful!! 

This is Alaska, which is our sensory time out area. The kids use Alaska when they need a break and during rest time. They can color, play with the sensory toys and bottles, take some jumps on the trampoline and bounce on the ball. 

This is the tech table! The tech table is used during centers when the kids use the Chromebooks, iPad and iPods for audio books.

Last but not least, this is a command center of sorts. It is right by the door and it holds all of our daily schedules. My kids leave for a lot of different services and therapies during the day, so this is where I keep our master schedule on display. There is a sign out sheet for therapists because they come in and out while I am teaching. This whole area is good for some of my students that thrive on schedules and routines. They always know what to expect and are learning how to find out if they have somewhere to go that day!

If you have any questions about any of the things in my room, I would be happy to tell you where I got them!

Next up on your tour of special education classrooms is Julie from Laughing and Little Learners. Click below to see how she sets up her classroom. 

Laughing and Little Learners

Make sure you come back next Sunday for week 3!


  1. Your room is so colorful and organized! I love how everything has a place and a purpose!
    Mrs. H's Resource Room

  2. Your room is so bright and happy! I'm loving that Teacher Projects box. Genius. The cabinet behind my desk will thank you for that idea!

  3. I love your pictures and the colors! So bright and cheery!
    Autism Classroom News

  4. What a great post! Thank you for sharing all the pictures and ideas from your classroom! I'd love to know where you purchased the Guided Reading Starter Kit and the voice levels chart. Again, thanks so much!

  5. Your room is SO lovely!!


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