Whenever I am planning lessons for my special education classroom, I have to remember two things:
- Keep it short
- Keep it consistent
Teacher Tips for Lesson Planning
I think most teachers (not just special education teachers) would agree with the keeping it short tidbit! I take it very seriously though or my students are completely lost.
I might teach a concept, take a walk with my students and re-teach it as soon as we get back to the classroom. One of my biggest mistakes my first year of teaching was planning a WHOLE HOUR for reading time! Wow! I learned that it wasn’t going to work for my classroom and re-structured our time.
I know many teachers have certain requirements set by their district for different subjects but even some simple movement activities during that time can be extremely beneficial for the kiddos. Here are some ideas I use if I’m teaching something that lasts longer than 15-20 minutes: brain breaks, taking a walk around the school, yoga, dancing (I put on a catchy pop song and let the kiddos dance), or anything else that just gets them moving!
For me, keeping it consistent means that my schedule for everyday looks very much like the day before with very little changing from day to day. Of course the content changes and sometimes the way I teach the content but typically the time of day is always the same. Every morning my students come in and know exactly what to expect and how to act. It really helps when we get a new person in our room too (staff or student)!
Keeping my classroom schedule consistent is especially important for all my students on the autism spectrum, over half of my class! It is my opinion that all students can typically benefit from this type of schedule though, not just students with autism.
About the Author
Rachel Urka is in her third year teaching special education. She teaches a classroom for students with moderate cognitive impairments and autism in Michigan.