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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Visuals in a severe-needs classroom

Most sped. teachers are LOVE visuals, but severe-needs teachers often have to go crazy on the visuals because we still have so many non-readers. At the beginning of the school year, I assigned each student a different shape/color. I labelled every students' things with that shape/color (and paired with the written name).
A ton of items in the classroom are labelled with their shape/color, including:

  • Our independent work time boxes and areas

  • Attendance during circle time

  •  Our tables and desks

  •  Our bathroom bins

  • Our data wall/ data clipboards

One of the cool things about this system is it fosters some independence Most of our students are able to find their bin in the bathroom and grab a diaper without any help from us (we have even switched the location of the baskets and the students are able to discriminate which one is theirs). We have also moved their name tags on tables and they've been able to find their new spot. In circle time, we have removed some of the shapes/color coding and a few students are able to identify their written name without the shape/color now too!

Do you have a visual system that works great with your students?


  1. Hi Kimberly Ann.

    Love your blog. We had a schoolwide theme of superheroes this year so on the first day of school, I let everyone pick a superhero and that's what we use. It's nice too because I can communicate in "public" about "superman" and only my paras know who I'm talking about!

    Next year I will have it ready for "meet the teacher night" and those who attend will get to choose their own. The rest I will assign prior to the start of school.

    1. I love the idea of using superheroes! Maybe next year I will do some type of characters too!! Thanks for the new idea :)

  2. I just have to say I love this blog post! It's full of ideas I can use in my classroom. I also teach students with moderate to severe learning needs. Most of my students are nonverbal and non readers. So, I'm always looking for ways to increase learning opportunities. Thanks for sharing your ideas!