Classroom/Instructional Arrangment

I have been asked in the past to assist new teachers in arranging their classrooms for optimal learning and behavior mananagement. 

In a regular classroom, consideration of the needs of individual students with special needs can help both those students and others in the class learn more optimally.  While seating arrangement recommendations for students with ADD/ADHD, CAPD, or other Communication Disorders or Behavioral Issues often focus on seating up front and slightly to one side, there are classrooms where seating a student along one side, away from a window or door, or in the back of the room can allow the child to focus or be less distracted and distractible.

The first consideration in a special education resource room is a clear visual pathway to all parts of the room in order to monitor student activities.  The second consideration is what activity "stations" are next to each other.  If all instruction is in small groups with no independent workers, then dividers work fine to provide teachers with instructional areas.  If one teacher alone or with paraprofessionals will be teaching while some students are working independently, have headphones for computers and planning movement of students in the room throughout the day can greatly reduce "unstructured" movement, thus eliminating much off-task time or behavior problems.  Using cueing systems for asking questions can also reduce unnecessary interruptions to instruction.

For homeschoolers, providing several work areas according to the activity can make work time more productive and give necessary transition "space" for students who have need for movement or benefit from changing position within the structure provided.  Many homeschoolers use the kitchen or dining room table to do all school work.  Those who provide more project-oriented curriculum use a "rec room" or family room, shed, outdoors, or other more open space for working more freely.  Some homeschoolers set up a "classroom" within their home so that all school work is done in that space.  I have known some homeschool parents who sit with their children for 2 to 4 hours straight through and get all their academic work done in one sitting, so they are done for the day.  Others provide short incremental sessions throughout the day.  No matter what arrangement you choose, for students who have special needs, consideration for attention, alertness, and learning styles helps to make homeschooling more successful.

If you will be planning the physical arrangement of your instructional space and need assistance, call for a consultation appointment.  We will be happy to provide feedback and suggestions to make your situation more effective.


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