9 Practical Tips to an Organized Speech Room You will Love!
Do you feel that if your speech room isn’t organized before school starts, that the year will be a long, downhill slide? If you don’t love your space, it affects your mood whenever you walk in the door.
Since time is so precious, here are some things to think about before you even enter the school. Priorities can help you get off to a good start more quickly! Try these practical tips for an organized speech room you will love.
And if you have multiple schools, the effect is just magnified!
- Seat students where they can see a bulletin board with posters of the strategies you will be teaching. It is great for helping them to use the strategies more independently throughout the year.
- Place your chair in a position where you can reach the phone (for help if needed) or door (for students who are runners) before your students can leave your room. If you don’t have a rolling desk chair, consider getting one as it makes reaching students and supplies so much easier.
- Have a low file drawer or a rolling cart within arm’s reach of where you are sitting. This is the place to keep basic supplies, log notes, books and other therapy items that you are currently using.
- Put your computer in a place for easy access. Students can easily see online activities from their seats or move chairs over to it. Accessing online resources makes therapy easier.
Consider individual student needs
- Some students are better able to work in defined areas with boundaries. You may be able to easily rearrange one chair to a better location if you plan ahead.
- If your room size allows, it is great to have a single desk for kids who come individually and need boundaries. Place it where there is a wall at their back and/or side and they have an undistracted view, if possible.
- Windows tend to be more distracting than wall decorations because of the movements you catch out of the corner of your eyes.
- If your room is small, you have boundaries built-in! You just might need to give your table a push in one direction or another to make it work.
- Have a rug or bean bag chair symbolizing a quiet area, with a ‘BREAK’ symbol near it. You can prompt your student to request a break when they start looking stressed or begin getting up from the table.
- Nonverbal students with motor planning problems may need to practice using communication boards or picture exchanges. Change locations as needed. I found this out, to my chagrin, when a student could only exchange a symbol if I was sitting across from him. Real life does not have static positions!
There are so many ways to store materials! For my tips on how to store worksheets and TpT materials, check out this post.
Shelving is the best bet for games and toys. If you don’t have built-in classroom shelving, inexpensive plastic shelves that come apart easily for summer storage work well.
- For young or easily distracted kids, a cover for the shelves is helpful to eliminate distractions and show that it is work time. Fabric, like felt or a sheet, works well as you can pull them aside to make the toys visible during reinforcement or free request time.
- Use a symbol board with available choices on the cover for students’ requests. If you say, “Sure, go get it.” after the request, you can see if they are functionally discriminating the symbol system.
Bins have many uses!
- Keep a bin of the books, activities, and worksheets you are currently using within easy reach (on top of your short filing cabinet or in your rolling cart).
- If your caseload is diverse, have two bins. One bin would be for the younger/lower level materials. The 2nd bin serves the older/higher level materials.
- Bins allow you to quickly grab what you need, adjust activities for mixed levels, or add a quick activity to end the session.
Containers for organization!
I just love containers!
- Keep a container in easy reach with school supplies you frequently use.
- Use colorful seasonal boxes or containers with a fun open-ended thematic game to use as a review activity to start the next session.
- Containers can hold thematic toys for younger kids or challenge activities for older kids. Sooner or later, someone will get curious and ask about it!
- Benefits include unprompted requesting, questioning, quick language samples, and checking different skills. Let’s not forget – just for a bit of fun!
- Having a variety of fun thematic activities available helps pull mixed groups together! The photo shows how I did this one fall.
- The activities included funny apples describing cards, sorting boards to check flexibility in categorizing skills, and a describing poster that looks great on bulletin boards.
What is your best tip for organizing your speech room?