Lesson Planning and Curriculum Maps

Special Education may pretty much be synonymous with paperwork. Oh the paperwork. That godawful paperwork. Not only do we get the special privilege of doing IEPs, transition plans, progress reports, reevaluations, behavior plans, transition plans, extended school year plans – we still have to do all of that “typical” teacher paperwork like lesson plans and curriculum maps. This is not why you went into teaching. Unless you are a masochist who loves paperwork. A lot of this paperwork we need to suck up and just do but when it comes to lesson planning and curriculum maps I like to take a different approach. I want to make this paperwork work for me. I want this paperwork to be useful and beneficial. I want this paperwork to help me make my day run more smoothly. This will take a little creativity and maybe a little bit of negotiations with your principal, but it will be well worth it.

t

What is a curriculum map?

Curriculum mapping is a process of recording and organizing what content is taught over an extended period of time. It provides an overview of when concepts are taught.

I love curriculum maps. Maybe I have drank the kool-aide but curriculum maps immensely relieve my trying-to-fit-it-all-in anxiety. Our IEP goals tend to be massive concepts that include a bunch of little skills that need to be mastered. Creating curriculum maps allow me to schedule out the pacing of this instruction. Scheduling out all of the concepts really helps me because I know I don’t have to try and worry about a certain concept now because it’s scheduled on my curriculum map for later in the year. I like to create curriculum maps for groups of students or specific students depending on how they are grouped.

I love curriculum maps so much that I included curriculum maps in my Language Arts and Math Leveled Curriculum. I love seeing a quick overview of the concepts I am working on with each group!

t

Why are lesson plans important?

It is essential to have some type of a plan for every center in your room. While some centers will stay the same every day (ie. Fluency), for other centers like Direct Instruction or Social Group – you need a simple & easy to utilize lesson plan format to reference each day.

Yes lesson planning isn’t always fun but having that quick reference guide for what you are working on is essential. Our jobs are BUSY. Mid-morning you may not remember what you ate for breakfast much less what you had planned to do in direct instruction

Tips on Lesson Planning:

Create a “quick guide” version of your lesson plans. If you need to do a more detailed version according to your school policy – fine. But sifting through all that text in the middle of a chaotic day will not work! Create a simple format that tells you briefly what you are doing with each student or group through the day!

Be flexible! Drama is our job. If there is a massive meltdown, fire drill, and toileting emergency (probably all at the same time too) – your phonics lesson you had planned so nicely isn’t going to happen. Be ready to go with the flow, change your lesson plans, have back up ideas ready, and move things around as needed!

With all of that flexibility, consider writing your lesson plans in pencil! Then you can easily move around activities and make those changes that WILL happen without having to reprint anything. Ink doesn’t grow on trees 🙂

13 Comments

  1. Perfect! I was just sitting down to work on my curriculum map. I love these ideas. Thank you.

    Reply
  2. First of all I loooooove all of your products and I swear you have made me a better special needs teacher!! So thank you! I was wondering, do have a video of how you actually do the daily curriculum in your class, like how you do groups, what you do when you are actually working with the children? That would be awesome! Thank you again for your dedication to our special needs friends! Your are amazing!

    Reply
  3. First of all thank you for everything you have shared! I swear you have made me a better teacher! My question is do have a video of you actually doing the daily curriculum with your students? Showing what you do during the math and/or LA time? I would love to watch that if you do. Thanks again for your dedication to our special needs friends! You are awesome!

    Reply
  4. I will definitely work on a video like that! Thank you so much for reading! Your sweet comments made my day! 🙂

    Reply
  5. Thanks for reading 🙂

    Reply
  6. I am brand new to having an autism classroom. Your blog has been a godsend thus far. I love these curriculum maps. I wondered if you could point me to a pre-k curriculum map? Thanks bunches!

    Reply
  7. Hi Nicole! I don’t have a specific example of pre-k one but I can definitely work on some and do a blog post on it. I would suggest following the same setup and breaking down the basic skills you are working on even more. For example if teaching colors working on red, yellow, blue in the fall; purple, green, grey in the winter and so one. It’s a bit harder to anticipate the pacing for our little guys but at least it can give you a rough plan!

    Reply
  8. Hi Sasha,

    Thank you for this! I have your LA leveled curriculum, and so my curriculum maps for grammar are done! Its a great resource. My question is about reading strategies, what curriculum do you use to teach your higher groups the different reading strategies? Do you have anything for this?

    Thanks!

    Reply
  9. Great question! I group students based on reading level and run guided reading groups several times a week. We focus on comprehension and reading fluency. As the reading levels get higher the comprehension gets more complex (ie. inferences, character traits, etc.) and as well as the ready fluency (the books have more quotations, longer passages, etc.). I use worksheets in this packet https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Ultimate-Guided-Reading-Resource-for-Special-Education-824556 for extension activities.

    Reply
  10. Will you be making higher level curriculum packets? Like levels 4, 5, 6?

    Reply
  11. Working on Level 4! Hopefully done by Back to School!

    Reply
  12. Hi Sasha
    Just wondering if you have an example of behavior mapping?

    Reply
  13. No but I can work on a blog post about that!

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest