How to create visual boundaries in your self-contained classroom

how to create visual boundaries in your self contained setting

Creating Visual Boundaries

In any special education classroom, it is important to have clear boundaries. This helps ensure that students know their limits and what is expected of them. It can also help reduce distractions and keep the learning environment calm and organized.

There have been so many times in my 15 years in a self-contained setting that little Johnny is just up and wondering the room.  It wasn't until I had gone to a conference and learned about creating visual boundaries that the interventions started to work!

In this blog post, we will discuss some strategies for creating visual boundaries in your special education classroom.

If you want to read more on 10 ways to set up your classroom, you can do that here!

using furniture to create a visual boundary

Using furniture to define the space

One way to create visual boundaries is to use furniture to define the space. For example, you can use a bookshelf or cabinet to section off part of the classroom. This is a great way to create a small reading nook or quiet area for students to work on individual assignments. You can also use rugs or mats to delineate different areas of the room. This is especially helpful if you have a large open space that you need to fill. By using rugs, you can easily create distinct learning centers within your classroom.

Using Color

Another way to establish visual boundaries is through the use of color. You can paint walls or tape off sections with different colors. This is an easy and affordable way to make changes to your classroom environment. You can also use color to cue students to different areas of the room. For example, you might paint a wall near the door a different color than the rest of the walls in the room.  Or another example might be putting red tape around the teacher's desk so the student knows that that area is off-limits.   This will help students begin to understand their environment. 

Use visual supports

In addition to visual boundaries, special education teachers should also use visual supports throughout the classroom. Visual supports can be anything from pictures to written schedules. They help special education students understand what is expected of them and make it easier for them to follow along with the lesson. Using visual support is an important part of making sure special education students are successful in the classroom.

I use my visual aids pack from my TpT store to help with this.  I have many different visuals in this pack that I use to put around my room as a visual cue of their boundaries.  For example, a giant stop sign on the door.  A closed sign over the computer area and an open sign for the bathroom.  Using visual supports in your classroom will help aid your students in learning their boundaries.

I usually grab a small scrapbook container to hold all of my visual aids in!

Teach the visual boundaries you set

You won't be able to just put all of these boundaries in place and wave a magic wand.  I only wish it was that easy.  You will have to take the time out to teach these visual boundaries to your students.  

It's important to make sure that you are using visual supports to help your students understand the boundaries that you are setting. For example, if you want your students to line up quietly, you could use a picture of a quiet student in your line-up routine. This will help remind them of what they need to do.

Finally, don't forget to model, model, and then model some more. The more you do it, the better your students will be at following your visual boundaries.

I am a High School, self-contained Autism teacher from Central New York, who is passionate about individualizing student learning. I am a mommy of three, lover of all things Disney, married to my best friend and addicted to chocolate!! I hope that you find great ideas and inspiration here, so welcome!!

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