In the video below, I explore life through the eyes of a middle school student that would utilize a wheel chair to navigate the halls and classrooms of my school. In the past, I’ve taught a couple students with physical disabilities and efforts were made to make my middle school classroom as accessible as possible to ensure the students could safely navigate my classroom and to encourage as much independent functioning as possible.
As I’ve explored my classroom environment from this perspective, I’ve learned that there could be ways to improve the layout to maximize accessibility. One of the initial things I noticed was my football themed hallway carpet at the entrance of my classroom could have loose strings that could potentially get caught at the bottom of the chair. Something as easy as snipping the strings could ensure safety. My individual desks were replaced with larger lab tables to allow more inclusivity, however a couple tables could be removed to ensure easy navigation around the room. Right now, there is a tight squeeze from the desk in which I was at to the guided reading table. I’d imagine that with a classroom of students, having books on the floor near workspaces and the drawer units near each lab table would need to be moved out of the way to ensure a clear pathway to my table. After reflecting, I think utilizing flexible seating would be beneficial to ensure the classroom is most accessible. I also need to rethink my cords near the library that could also pose a navigation issue.
This activity definitely was eye opening and is really making me rethink my space to ensure all students can be successful.