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Updated: Jan 14, 2023

Daily student-led discussions are an easy way to incorporate transition planning into your classroom curriculum. In Utah, we are required to begin transition planning at age 14, but I like to start as soon as I get new 7th graders. Our students with cognitive disabilities need a lot of repetition and practice with new skills, so middle school is an ideal time to start working on self-advocacy and self-determination.

Self Advocacy through student led discussions with student planners

One way that we address these skills is through our end of the class period routine. At the end of every class period, staff and/or peer tutors discuss with each student about something they did well and something they can improve on.

It takes us several months of practicing this before my students learn to precisely identify their strengths and needs. Being able to identify their strengths and needs is an essential skill for the rest of their lives. In order to advocate for yourself, you need to know what you need help with and learn to ask. It's also helpful for goal setting and managing their behavior.

I love watching my students grow over the year and generate their own ideas. But it takes time. This is a critical thinking skill; it requires them to recall specific details, analyze what went well and what didn't and then express their thoughts. It can be tough at first, so with some students, I provide visual supports in addition to the sentence starters. We also spend a lot of time modeling and giving students choices during our discussions.

planner discussion visual support

Here is what their daily planner looks like and the prompts we use for our discussions.

student planner discussion starters

If you want to grab a copy, you can download it by clicking on the button below.

It's fully editable, so you can change it to fit your students' needs. If you start this in your classroom, I'd love to hear how it goes!




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