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Introduction to Tier One Strategies

Tier One supports focus on all students in the classroom. These supports are consistently provided throughout the day to ensure successful delivery of instruction. I will briefly describe the first strategy, arranging the environment, utilized at The Rich Center.

The way the classroom is set up is crucial to a student’s success. The physical environment may significantly influence appropriate and inappropriate behaviors displayed throughout the school day. Arranging the environment involves paying attention to factors such as basic layout of classroom space, wall displays, and labeling specific locations. We start by determining the instructional format being used during the day. Most of our classrooms use small group instruction and/or individual instruction. During individual instruction, the use of dividers between work areas eliminates distraction and allows for focused attention to the task. During small group instruction, student seating is important to decrease behavioral problems. If a student is exhibiting challenging behavior, it is important that they are seated close to a teacher. It may even be necessary for a teacher to sit in-between students to prevent behavioral problems.

When setting up the classroom for instruction, it is critical to label specific areas of the classroom. Identifying areas of the classroom as work time, small group instruction, play, or downtime can assist the student’s awareness of the behavioral expectations in certain locations. It is a good idea to label teacher desks and cabinets as “off limits” areas. Areas of the classroom with no clear purpose may encourage students to wander or explore those locations.

Wall posters and decorations can be distracting to the students. It is important to keep the walls clear of clutter and only post items that are necessary to the student’s success. If important information needs to be displayed on the walls (classroom rules, schedules, etc.), make sure they are appropriate and student’s attention can be easily directed to them.