How To: Direct Instruction With Leveled Daily Curriculum

Let’s talk Direct Instruction with The Autism Helper’s Leveled Daily Curriculum!
As a special educator, I am constantly seeking effective teaching strategies that cater to the unique needs of my students. In a self-contained classroom, where students with autism require specialized instruction, Direct Instruction has proven to be a game-changer. Today, we will explore how The Autism Helper’s Leveled Daily Curriculum, coupled with the principles of Direct Instruction, has created a structured and engaging learning environment for my students.

Step 1: Assessing Students’ Levels

This student is doing a daily curriculum placement test from the autism helper.
Before diving into the curriculum and direct instruction, it is crucial to assess each student’s current level of understanding. This assessment helps me identify their strengths, weaknesses, and individualized learning goals. By understanding where my students are starting from, I can tailor the curriculum to meet their specific needs and ensure optimal progress.  For my classroom, I use the Placement Assessments found within Curriculum Access. If you do not have curriculum access, no problem!  Try assessing your students by giving them the pre-tests from some of the different levels and units.

Step 2: Prepping the Levels and Units

Once the student assessments are complete, it’s time to prepare the levels and units of The Autism Helper’s Leveled Daily Curriculum. This involves organizing curriculum materials, creating visual aids, and setting up workstations. By having everything ready in advance, my paraprofessionals and I  can seamlessly transition from one activity to another, maximizing instructional time and minimizing disruptions.

Now that the setup is complete, it’s time to start our direct instruction!

  • These next steps should be done every day, with each direct instruction session.

Step 3: Setting Expectations at the Center

To create a structured learning environment, it is essential to review expectations with my students at the beginning of each direct instruction session. By clearly outlining behavioral guidelines and academic goals, I can establish a sense of routine and predictability. This consistency helps my students feel secure and enables them to focus on their learning tasks.  I am using this visual rules pack in my classroom.  

Step 4: Introducing the Mini Schedule

During direct instruction time, a mini schedule acts as a visual roadmap for students, providing them with a clear understanding of the center’s activities. By presenting the schedule in a visual format, such as a picture or a chart, I can cater to the visual learning strengths of my students autistic students. This visual support helps reduce anxiety and increases their ability to transition smoothly between tasks.  It can be as simple as this first/then board that I use.  This makes it easy to change what each student is working for!

Step 5: Reviewing Vocabulary and Anchor Charts

This student is working on TAH Leveled Daily Curriculum.
Before delving into the core content, it is crucial to review relevant vocabulary and concepts. By revisiting key terms and ideas, I can activate prior knowledge and ensure that my students are prepared for the upcoming lesson. Additionally, using an anchor chart as a visual reference throughout the lesson helps my students make connections and reinforces their understanding of the material.

Step 6: Engaging with Worksheets

During direct instruction, worksheets provide an opportunity for students to practice and apply their newly acquired knowledge. By completing 1-2 worksheets, my students can demonstrate their understanding and receive immediate feedback. This feedback loop is essential for reinforcing concepts and identifying areas that may require additional support or instruction.


Step 7: Extending Learning with Extension Activities

To deepen my students’ understanding and promote generalization of skills, it is crucial to use extension activities. These activities go beyond the curriculum and encourage my students to apply their knowledge in real-world contexts. Extension activities can include hands-on activities and/or interactive games which can foster creativity and critical thinking skills.

By following these steps and implementing The Autism Helper’s Leveled Daily Curriculum, we can create a structured and engaging learning experience for our students. Direct Instruction, coupled with the curriculum’s comprehensive approach, ensures that each student receives individualized instruction and has the opportunity to reach their full potential.


Remember, every student is unique, and it is essential to continuously assess and adapt our teaching strategies to meet their needs. With the power of direct instruction and The Autism Helper’s Leveled Daily Curriculum, we can empower our students to thrive academically.

To read more about how I organize the Leveled Daily Curriculum for direct instruction in my classroom, read this post.  Additionally, witness firsthand the dynamics of direct instruction in my classroom by watching the YouTube videos below.

Your questions and comments are always welcome, as they contribute to the ongoing conversation about effective teaching practices. Thank you for taking the time to explore these resources and for being a valuable part of our community. Happy learning!


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