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Creating a Pacing Guide & Curriculum Map

Let's talk about yearly planning. These days, most special education teachers have required standards that they must teach from. If you must teach from standards, then you absolutely have to be intentional in planning how and when to teach each standard. Creating a pacing guide/curriculum map will help you plan out your year and ensure that you are covering the standards. It gives you a sequence and a clear outline for what you will be teaching. It's not in stone, so of course, you can change and adapt as needed. Here are the steps I follow when creating my pacing guide.

SPED Curriculum

I love hearing what curriculum other teachers use in their classrooms. There's a lot of options out there. Some are great for special education and some require tons of modifications. What I'd really love is to spend a professional development day visiting other classrooms and looking at the curricula they use, so here's a little peek at what's being used in my classroom. Disclaimer: These are my personal opinions and experiences with curriculum and programs. Don't hold it against me!

Tips & Resources for Teaching Time Concepts

Understanding functional math skills, like time and money, is essential for students with severe disabilities. I posted some tips and resources to teach money skills a few weeks ago and today I'm here to share some quick tips & resources for teaching time concepts. All of the resources linked in this post are ones that I actually use in my classroom with my students!

Tips & Resources for Teaching Money Skills

Learning to count money and understand money concepts, like purchasing and budgeting, is an important life skill for our students with severe disabilities! I want to share some quick tips with you and a few of my favorite money resources. All of the resources linked in this post are ones that I actually use in my classroom with my students!

Back to School Survival

The first few days (weeks) of school can be pure chaos! Teacher tired is so real! And it's so unpredictable. You may think you are prepared and then a new student moves in, or you end up managing a severe behavior issue, or get called in to assist with another student, etc., etc., etc.  One little bump can throw everything off and next thing you know, you're sitting at your desk at the end of the day crying. I may know this from personal experience. Here are a few suggestions for surviving those first few weeks.


Making Inclusion Work in Secondary Settings

I teach in a self-contained classroom, but I schedule several general education classes for my students each trimester. I work closely with my school counselor to create schedules that will interest and challenge my students. I want them in classes where they will learn something. Inclusion not only provides time for social interaction outside of my classroom, but it’s an opportunity to work on generalizing skills and allows students to learn some grade level content. Some of the classes that my students take include PE, music, choir, history, health, keyboarding, science, and college & career awareness. In a secondary setting, meaningful inclusion can be hard. The content is difficult, and teachers lack training and knowledge when it comes to working with students with disabilities. Here are a few tips for making inclusion successful in a secondary setting.

Modifying General Education Curriculum

As special educators, we often get the curriculum short end of the stick. It's not unusual to find a special education classroom stocked with little curriculum or leftovers that another teacher left and no budget to purchase anything new. I have a lot of direct instruction programs that were designed for at risk students but that I don't really find work for my students with severe disabilities. I also work in a district where that has a lot of subscriptions to curricula and programs and I often incorporate them into my classroom. I love using Reading A to Z  and Writing A to Z with my students in reading groups and I usually use Go Math for at least one of my math groups. I'm also seeing schools move more towards full inclusion and push in models, so it's important that special education teachers understand how to modify curriculum to make it work for our students. Over the years, and with lots of trial and error, I've figured out a way to use lessons that weren't exactly designed for the population I teach and seen tons of student success! Here's are some tips when modifying general education curriculum.
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