I’ve been asked about special education lesson planning and how I do it.
But first, I have a few questions for you!
- How does your school or grade-level team lesson plan?
- Do you lesson plan together as a team, vertical plan based on content, or individually plan for your own class?
- Are you required to submit lesson plans to a “coach” or administrator?
- Is there a required lesson planning format that you follow?
- Our grade-level teams plan in the following way: each teacher tackles one content area: Math, Comprehension, Writing, Language, Vocabulary/Morning Message, and Phonics. This teacher writes the unit plans and assessments, weekly lessons, resources for class (flipcharts, activity pages, exit tickets), and homework. These lesson plans are shared out 2 weeks (10 days minimum) in advance on our “intranet” where we can upload files. Each teacher is also required to presubmit their lesson plan to a designated Teacher Development Leader (often an administrator) for review. This review is a big process at the beginning of the year with constructive feedback, and then often falls into a “check for completion” after the first quarter of the school year.
- We backwards plan the year, so the scope and sequence and unit plans/calendar are already shared out before the school year starts (we work during the summer!). This “big picture” is extremely helpful to the special educator (me!) and I access them often. Weekly grade-level team meetings often include discussions regarding timing adjustments to the completed plans due to field trips, snow days, and/or data review (i.e.: our students need more practice!).
- The lesson planners also meet vertically with other grade levels planning the same content area. For example, the first grade teacher planning math will meet with the kindergarten and 2nd-4th grade math teachers to discuss key teaching points.
- As the special educator, I download the general education weekly lesson plans and then differentiate them for students on my caseload. I’d love to say I do it the same way every week/month/year, but as my students’ needs change, so does my planning!
- This year, I’ve often “stuck to the script” for comprehension, phonics, and math, and then differentiated the presentation (small groups, more guided practice, parallel teaching). Next, I supplement and add in tons and TONS of spiral review based on data analysis (I collect data daily!). In previous years, my students have been in a completely different place than the general education population, so my lessons were following a different (more “bare bones”) scope and sequence. It completely depends on my students’ IEP goals and objectives and their areas of strength/growth. VERY interesting, especially because my first graders seem to grow and change WEEKLY! This makes my job
- I submit my lesson plans 10 days in advance to my team leader. This is the accountability piece our school has built in for every teacher. I find that my lesson plans can be cumbersome and I don’t refer to them too often throughout the week. Still, they are a great resource when I’m prepping and/or a student is absent and we need to find a way to catch up the instruction.
That was A LOT of information about lesson planning!
Here’s what my weekly lesson plan overview looks like:
Sorry about those “fancy” font choices I made back in 2012 😉
I hope these lesson plan ideas are helpful to you. If you interested in learning more about special education lesson planning, check out these posts: