Here’s to Another Year: Autism Classroom Tour!


I have been CRAZY excited to share my classroom with ya’ll this year. This is my third year in this classroom, and I’m in love with how it turned out it this school year. I kept a lot of the same centers from last year, and added a few new fun ones (Magnet Center, Bulletin Board, Assessment, and Teacher Time Center). All summer, I worked on creating and finding the perfect resources to use daily that would meet ALL of my students needs. I always want to create a safe and nurturing classroom atmosphere where my students can feel at ease. Tons of organization and the LEAST amount of clutter as possible. Oh, and lots and lots of visuals!

Grab a cup of coffee or a glass of red juice (hehe) because this is a looong puppy of a post…

Schedule/Cubby Area

I assign a “color” to each student in my class every year. This has helped me in SO many ways with material organization, especially all those pesky schedule cards. I use 2 cubbies for each student in the class. One cubby is used for their picture schedule, and the other holds their data binders, math and reading folders, and their book bags. In the bottom cubbies, I store all their academic binders (math binder, handwriting without tears, etc.) I will have to do a later post on how I keep up with all the different levels/IEP goals with these folders and binders. 🙂
Unpacking bin visuals and steps from here. 
Tape on the floor to help with lining up boundaries at the beginning of the year. 🙂


Table Time

Table Time is where students complete clothespin tasks from these packs. I change the activities out monthly so they go along with our classroom theme!



Art Area

We love doing crafts in our classroom! I use a mixture of my Easy Art Activities (shown below) and other fun crafts that go with our theme that I find on Pinterest. We prep everything ahead of time in the bins for the week so we don’t even have to think about it each day. 
We are also big fans of hallway displays!
Below is a picture of how I show the directions for our easy art activities so students can follow along with the steps in the pictures. So far, we have been able to compete these activities after story time in the afternoon. I give students the supplies needed and we complete the activity one step at a time following the picture directions. This has really increased independence during art time!





The workshop center is a standing task center that I switch up monthly. We usually have a sorting task, assembly task, and then a few other non-specific tasks. 




I got this sort from Erin from You-Aut-a-Know and love how it helps students practice sorting by different sizes.

Magnet Center

I am so excited about this area! I got the GIANT magnet sheet from Walmart (It’s a drip-pan and costs around $11 – you can find it in the automotive dept). We secured it to the back of a shelf. I got the giant ten frames from Lakeshore on Amazon and the link is below. At this center, I also use these monthly Cookie Tray tasks from Erin at Creating and Teaching, and also some cookie tray activities from Make Take Teach on TpT. 
Similar drip pan:





This number/counting sorting activity has been such a hit in our class this year. Lucky for you, it’s FREE until this Sunday (September 13th, 2015). Grab it here!
A pic of our cookie tray tasks. I keep them in sheet protectors and just switch the activities out weekly from Erin’s packs. One pack will get me through a month, and then I switch all of them out for the next month’s theme.

Bulletin Board Center 

This will be another center that I will switch out monthly. I got the activities from Melissa at Autism Adventures of Room 83. For some reason, anytime a task is HUGE and does not involve sitting, my kids love it! 
All the task pieces go in the chart to the right and students just go to town matching the items. There are different levels for built in differentiation (i.e. matching either uppercase to uppercase OR matching lowercase to uppercase letters).

Teacher Time

This is the area where all the magic happens. 
I have tons and tons of tasks and activities in this center, and this is where I really focus on IEP goals and skills the students need to master. Most of the activities are separated by skill in the white bins (from Dollar Tree); however, for some students that are working on higher level skills, they complete activities from their reading and math skill folders as well. 


Lucky for you, these labels are TOTALLY FREE!




I pull tasks from several different packs, here’s a list of links for Back to School:
Apple Binder Tasks from Autism Adventures
File Folder Tasks from Kayla at My Special Learners
Reading Center
Oh la la I love our little reading oasis. I inherited this rainbow beauty from a teacher that left the school and I am forever grateful. My students LOVE chilling out on this thing to read a book! I change out my books monthly and keep all the our reading adapted books here so students can always have assess. I like to keep adapted books in either a large ziploc baggie or one of those more durable bags so the pieces don’t get lost.  I get most of our adapted books from Jenna from Speech Room News. She has them for EVERYTHING, and I like to keep our materials consistent each month. 



Nothing fancy to see in our workbox area, just lots of tasks! 
I got the plastic shelves from Lowe’s for about $14 a piece and they’ve lasted years! Our finished baskets are just big plastic tubs. 
For our workbox system labels, I used this pack from Erin at You-Aut-a-Know. It saved me so much time to just print it out and use it immediately versus making my own! Sorry, I took the picture before I had all the labels completed. 🙁


Students find their color schedule and simply match the pictures to go through their work systems. Some students are able to take the tasks right off the main shelves, and others we set up for them and they match. Read about my color-coding system here or click the picture below.


The “stand up” sorting colors task shown below is from this pack. It’s great transition activity for early finishers that come to the workbox center ready for their next center only to have students still working. 


Group Time Area
We use the group time area for our morning circle time, literacy groups, story time, science/SS, and some whole group art activities. 
I keep all the supplies/program used in this area at this area in the bins (which STILL need to be labeled) so I don’t have to waste time running around the room in between activities. 
I will be doing a blog post about all the different reading materials I use SOON (pinky promise).

Calendar Area

For our calendar/weather area, I got the calendar from the Dollar Tree and the other visuals are from my Circle Time Visuals Pack found here.
During our morning meeting time, we also use activities and visuals from Autism Classroom News found here. 

Writing Center

Our writing center has tons of different activities since our students are on such different levels when it comes to handwriting. All students complete sentence builder activities. Each student has a writing folder with the work that meets his level. I prep weeks at a time, so whoever is monitoring that zone will know to just have the student complete the next sheet on the left in the folder. 


Here is a list of the different resources I have at this station:
Handwriting Without Tears Workbooks and additional materials 


Literacy Story Board

Every afternoon after recess, we have story time. We complete a story map and answer comprehension questions about the story we are reading on the promethean board. 
I pre-plan what books we will be reading weeks ahead of time, along with the visuals needed to complete the story map. We also complete comprehension questions about each story on the Promethean board, so I can just pull them up from my dropbox account and go!

1:1 Work Area

For students that need a little bit of their own space and have trouble with transitioning throughout the room all day, we have 1:1 work areas. All of the tasks for the specific student here are in the containers to the left and their is always a finished bin to the right of the desk. This area is highly structured to help the student learn boundaries and stay in the area during work times. 

Assessment/Fluency Area

This is quite possibly my favorite area (I think I already said that).
I’m clearly obsessed with organization and data, so having all my assessments, student data binders, and colorful data cart in one area is a dream come true. I used to run around the room pulling odds and ends to assess students each quarter. Now, I just pull them to this area during morning or afternoon “leisure” time and get right to work. This has been HUGE for me this year, and so helpful in collecting tons of B.O.Y. baseline data. 
In the binders on the shelf are some of the assessments I use. 
The boxes pictured below hold each student’s fluency flashcards and fluency data binders.

Heavy Work

For students that benefit from heavy work, we still use this system. Read all about heavy work here




Sensory Room

We are so fortunate to have a separate sensory room too meet our kiddos’ needs. 


I made the therapy ball hold from PVC pipe. Super easy and our custodian helped put it up for us! Clears a ton of room on the floor for activities. 🙂
I like to create a “Circuit” for students to complete while in the sensory room that they go through at least once a day. Of course, if they choose this room as a reward, they don’t have to do the circuit. 🙂
Read about the circuit here or click on the picture below.

Monthly Bin Organization

Play Area
Not a lot to see, but obviously every student’s favorite area!! I keep all the toys organized in bins (Mr. Potato Head, food, cars, blocks, etc.). Those bins live on the shelf you can barely see on the left of the picture below. 

First/Then Behavior Charts

These are essential for some students that struggle with behavior at the beginning of the year. If any of the top pictures get an X through them, the students do not get to choose a “reward” when they are finished with the center and will have to either sit and wait, continue working, or go to the calm down area. Thankfully, the chart helps and they usually get their reward. 🙂

Interactive Alphabet Board

My pride and joy this year.
It’s just sooooo pretty!!
The shapes and color visuals can be download for FREEEEE:

Hand Washing Station


Data Clipboards

Alas, another use for color coding. Keeps everything confidential and in REACH.
WHOA – that’s overwhelming! I’ll be going into detail about each center within the next week or two, but wanted to show off the room first and let you enjoy and hopefully pick up a few freebies! 
Let me know if you have any questions. 🙂

Pin for later!

special education classroom tour


  1. Lucca on September 11, 2015 at 2:06 am

    Your entire classroom is the most amazing thing ever. I've taken a lot of ideas from your work (color coded workboxes and data board, etc) but I wanna do MORE!

  2. Christine Reeve on September 11, 2015 at 2:30 am

    Amazing! It's beautiful! I so love your color-coding!!! And thanks for the shout-out–that was sweet!
    Autism Classroom Resources

  3. Anonymous on September 11, 2015 at 9:32 am

    Amazing! Thanks for the fantastic ideas and freebies! I have myself, one assistant, and a volunteer grandparent. We have 15 high need students with extremely varied eligibilities. I feel like a chicken with my head cut off most days. We have 1/2 day sessions so my focus is language, literacy, math and social skills. Prep time is usually on my personal time. Any suggestions for basic skills – needs to be 3- tier / very structured repetetive activities?

    • Gabrielle Dixon on September 11, 2015 at 11:38 am

      WOW – that's a heavy load for you and one assistant!!! What age levels? Elementary, Middle or High school?

  4. Lynsie O. on September 12, 2015 at 2:29 am

    I would love to see a schedule for your kiddos to better understand how they move through each center.

  5. Erin Blecki on September 12, 2015 at 2:20 pm

    I want to be a student in your room! It makes me so happy! I LOVE that behavior clip board with the first/then. You need to get that resources in your store ASAP! I also loved seeing how you set up the cookie trays! Your room is awesome, so organized, and so many resources!

    Creating & Teaching

  6. Special Classroom Friends on November 12, 2015 at 11:37 am

    Can you please put the behavior clip board in your store?!

  7. Rebekah Hill on May 10, 2016 at 11:25 am

    What do you use for the schedule cards for the unpacking the bin photo? The little green box with the backpack on it?

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.