top of page


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.

Before you begin, you'll need a copy of your standards, a pen or pencil, and a blank pacing guide template.

1. Identify which of your standards are essential. Circle them. Things to consider:

  • Grade levels

  • Student IEP goals

  • Tested standards (if you participate in an end of the year assessment like DLM)

  • Prerequisite or foundation skills

2. Underline the key words in the standard and highlight the verb. This will help you really break down the standard and write I can statements later.

3. Plug the essential standards into your monthly pacing guide. Base these on the progression of the standards and teach skills in the natural order. For example, identifying single letter sounds before letter blends.

4. Write learning target statements (or I Can statements) for each of your monthly standards.

5. Determine key vocabulary for each standard.

6. Write lesson plans and create assessments OR align your pacing guide to the curriculum that you already use in your classroom. If you have a program with a really good scope and sequence, use it to help write your pacing guide. Otherwise, you may have to align certain parts of programs to different standards, or use multiple programs throughout the year.

Filling in the pacing guide is pretty quick once you've identified your target standards. Aligning to your curriculum is more time consuming. And obviously creating your own lesson plans and assessments is incredibly tedious, but sometimes, it's the only option. However, if you have your pacing guide completed, it's easier to do the lesson planning on a monthly basis. I'll have another post to share examples of my pacing guides soon! In the meantime, make sure you grab the pacing guide template here. Thanks for reading!




bottom of page