Focus on Five: Setting Up Daily Leveled Curriculum

The Autism Helper’s Daily Leveled Curriculum is an amazing resource for any low-incidence classroom.  You can use it in a variety of ways- for independent work, at a teacher-run station, at a paraprofessional run station and more.  I started using the Language Arts 0.5 Daily Leveled Curriculum and the Math 0.5 Daily Leveled Curriculum along with the Language Arts Daily Leveled Curriculum and the Math Daily Leveled Curriculum.  Using the 0.5 Daily Leveled Curriculum has been a great way to introduce emerging writers to independent written assignments. Here is how I am setting up Daily Leveled Curriculum in my classroom this year…

1. Identify Student Levels

I started by identifying student levels. Since I had most students in class before, I could determine their levels based on observation. With students who had not been in my room, I looked at their IEPs, talked to teachers and related service providers that had previously worked with the student and observed the student working during teacher time to determine their level. When identifying student levels, it is important to consider what time of the day or what center you will be utilizing the Daily Leveled Curriculum. I am using Daily Leveled Curriculum as an independent station, so I was determining students’ independent levels, which are lower than their instructional levels. If I were using the curriculum at my station or even a paraprofessional-run station, I would probably assign a higher level of Daily Leveled Curriculum to students.

2. Make Copies & Organize

Since I am using the Daily Leveled Curriculum as independent work, I decided to keep the papers in a crate of files next to individual drawers for each student. For some students, I decided to put their papers in packets and keep them in the drawers until they were finished. For other students, I made the copies and did not staple the papers together.  Any extra papers are stored in the crate with the individual student hanging file folders for each student, for each subject. At first, I only made copies of the first unit (to test first), but then copied more units to have for the whole year. For the students working on 0.5, I made multiple copies of each unit so students could get extra practice. For example, after students complete Unit 1 and Unit 2, I brought back Unit 1 for extra practice. When making the copies, I also make sure to print out plenty of anchor charts and store them in sheet protectors. For students who are not yet writing, I laminate the 0.5 anchor charts and have them use it as a matching activity.

3. Set Up Systems & Procedures

I put the students’ work in their individual drawers and keep the individual drawers at one of my tables, which is closest to the task boxes (which is also independent work). I have two separate sets of drawers for the Language Arts Curriculum and the Math Curriculum. I keep the language arts drawers in one area since we do rotations (students visit each station) for reading. Math is a little different. Students complete their “To Do” list during math time, which is written work (from the drawers) then computer. Students are able to choose their seats, so I move the math drawers to the front of the classroom. Students take their paper, anchor chart and pencils to their table and when they are finished, they turn in their papers to the finished basket and put the other materials back in their drawers.

4. Try It Out

I brought the drawers to the teacher time station and taught students the procedures for completing independent work. I made sure that students were able to locate their drawer, bring their materials to a work area, write their name, complete their work, turn in their work and put their reference sheets and pencils back in the drawer. Trying it out also helped me to adjust the levels as needed and ensured that I knew which supports or cues students would benefit from. For example, I try to put letter boxes on students’ papers for their names. I also could see how much work was appropriate for each student in the given time frame- some students were able to handle working on part of a packet, some students were able to complete one paper and some were able to complete 2-3 papers before needing a break.

5. Maintain

Maintaining stations can be hard, especially when I put so much work into the initial set up of a station. One strategy I have for making sure I maintain stations is checking student work after they have turned it in.  This is helpful so I can adjust student levels or give staff and students feedback so that they are able to complete assignments more independently. Another strategy to maintain independent stations is to talk to staff, because they are the ones monitoring stations while I am working with small groups. Every once in a while, I may put an independent activity at my teacher-run station and I observe all the stations, so I can make adjustments and provide feedback to staff and students as needed.

I hope this post gave you some ideas for setting up The Autism Helper’s Daily Leveled Curriculum in your classroom. For more on using Daily Leveled Curriculum in your classroom, check out The Whs of Leveled Curriculum, Setting Up a Content Center and Lesson Planning with TAH Curriculum.  Stay healthy and safe!

Holly Bueb
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