Focus on Five: Academic Lesson Planning for the School Year

As summer is winding down, we are thinking about the upcoming school year and what we need to do to get ready. While the schedule drives our lesson planning, there are some forms of lesson planning that teachers are able to do now before knowing the schedule for the next school year. Following are five types of lesson planning I am doing now in order to get ready for the upcoming school year…

1. Year-At-A-Glance

The Year-At-A-Glance is something that we are required to complete at our school to show the units and topics teachers will be covering throughout the school year.  Since the students in a low-incidence classroom have individual goals, I adapted the Year-At-A Glance to be a one page overview for each student with all of their goals and benchmarks for the school year. This not only provides a good overview of goals for yourself, but it also can be given to parents or paraprofessionals as a reference. It also is a helpful to use when creating groups around similar goals. One feature I added was the date of the previous IEP so that I know about when when a student’s IEP is coming up.

2. IEP-At-A-Glance

While this is very similar to the Year-At-A-Glance, this document can be a helpful reference to specialty teachers, paraprofessionals and even your administration. While it’s not really a lesson plan, it is something you are able to work on now, especially if you have many of the same students in your classroom again this school year.  After this document is complete, you could include these one page references in your lesson plans also. I’ve included spaces for allergies or medical concerns, student’s goals, learning styles, academic accommodations and behavior accommodations.  

3. Scope & Sequence

Teachers at my school were required to create a scope and sequence for all the standards they were teaching in a given subject in a school year.  Since we get our goals from the ABLLS-R, my colleague and I decided that making a scope and sequence with the ABLLS-R skills would be most beneficial for us and our students.  While some categories of the ABLLS-R seem to have skills in a logical order, going through and re-ordering the skills so it meets the needs of the students in your program and you know which goal to work on after students have mastered previous goals. It might take a while to create a scope and sequence for the ABLLS-R at your school, so work on it with colleges. While our students will not get through all the ABLLS-R skills in one year, using this as a road map will help ensure cohesiveness within your school’s low-incidence program.  

4. Unit Plans 

For next year, my school will be doing Universal Backward Design (UBD) lesson planning for the units. I plan to use The Autism Helper’s Daily Leveled Curriculum for these units and I have included an example UBD lesson plan (above) for Unit 1 of the Level 1 Social Studies Daily Curriculum. The Daily Leveled Curriculum lends itself well to unit plans because the information you need to complete unit plans is included with the Daily Leveled curriculum. Unit plans are beneficial to get an overview of what you are teaching students and can help guide pacing for the year. I also have included a shorter “cheat sheet” below for using the Daily Leveled Curriculum at a paraprofessional-run station. Creating unit plans would be a great project to work on with colleagues because of the different levels within the subject areas and after you all have created these unit plans, you all will have access to all the levels for years.  

5. Weekly Lesson Plans

While weekly lesson plans are based in the schedule and groupings, I’m starting to look at my weekly lesson plans from last year and adjusting the formatting and groups to make them more user friendly. My school requires weekly lesson plans, but if your school does not, unit plans and instructional programs might be sufficient for your classroom. Since I do know most of the students I will have this year, I’m going to start with making groups and planning what students will do at each station and I can always plug in the schedule later.  My weekly lesson plans last year included the groups, times, arrangement (group size; teacher or para led) and a short explanation of what is done at each station to inform my principal. Since students in a low-incidence program thrive on repetition, my weekly lesson plans don’t change dramatically from week to week. Looking at your weekly lesson plans now to make changes to make them more useful for you. One great resource I’m planning on using is the Special Education Lesson Plan Template from The Bender Bunch.  

I hope you are able to use some of these forms of lesson planning to help guide your school year. Check out The Autism Helper’s past posts on lesson planing including Lesson Planning and Curriculum Maps and Lesson Planning for an Autism Classroom. Also, look on The Autism Helper’s Teachers Pay Teachers page to find more lesson planning resources like the Ultimate Guided Reading Resource for Special Education and Special Education Must-Have Forms and Templates. As always, share ways you do lesson planning in your classroom below!

Holly Bueb
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  1. I love your sequencing of the ABLLS. Would you be willing to share either here on the blog or on TPT? Is there another resource you use to determine the sequence? I love the ABLLS but struggle to come up with a sequence that makes the most sense

  2. Thank you so much for this post! I can’t begin to express how much this helps!

  3. Are these templates available on TPT?

  4. Can you share the entire scope and sequence? I have learned so much from all those that contribute to this site!

  5. I didn’t see the year-at-a-glance or IEP-at-a-glance listed. I just want to make sure those are there before I purchase it.

  6. I’ll ask Holly to do more blogs posts on this topic!

  7. Those are not included. Those were created by the teacher.

  8. Do you have the entire ELA ABIIS-R Scope and Sequence posted somewhere?

  9. This was created specifically for this classroom. We will work on sharing more!


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