Writing Lesson Plans in the Self Contained Classroom

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Challenges in a Self Contained Classroom

Self contained-contained classes create special challenges for planning. Sean Gallup

Teachers in self contained classrooms face real challenges when writing lesson plans. We need to be conscious of our obligations to the IEP's and also, at the same time align our objectives to state standards. That is doubly true, if your students are going to participate in your state's high stakes tests.

Here in Nevada, we are among the 48 states and territories who have adopted the Common Core State Standards. We have adopted English Language Art this year and Math through grade 5. Special Educators are also responsible for providing students with FAPE, a free and appropriate public education. This legal requirement implies that students who are best served in a self contained special education classroom need to be given as much access as possible to the general education curriculum. State standards are the minimum curricular requirements of the state, and as teachers of record in special education classrooms, we are required to provide access to the general education curriculum.

The challenge is that many of our students aren't able to succeed on grade level, especially those students who are placed even part of the day in a self contained setting. With children on the autism spectrum that is complicated by the fact that some children actually can be successful on the high stakes test, and with the right kind of support, get a regular diploma from high school.

In many settings, such as mine, students may have fallen behind academically because their teachers have not been able teach the general education curriculum, either because of student's behavior or because the teachers does not have enough experience with the breadth of the general education curriculum. We are obligated to give them as much of the general education curriculum as possible.

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Align IEP Goals and State Standards

A list of standards from the Common Core State Standards to use when planning. Websterlearning

A good step to writing lesson plans in a self contained classroom is to create a bank of standards from your state standards or the Common Core State Standards that align with your students IEP goals. Then they are ready to copy and paste into your planning template.

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Create a Lesson Plan that Approaches the General Education Curriculum

A model lesson plan. Websterlearning

After you have gathered your standards, either your states, or the new Common Core State Standards, you can begin laying out the work flow in your classroom. In my classroom, I prefer to work with the students closest to proficiency in the general education curriculum as a group. In language arts (the plan above) we do instruction with the higher functioning boys first, as they will work independently after instruction. The other boys work in their folders with the supervision of the classroom aide.

This plan has all of the elements of a general education plan, but will rely on lots of IEP based work. Both boys in this group have comprehension goals, so reading and responding are fundamental. They also will be taking the state Curriculum Referenced Test and need to be familiar with figurative language, plot, climax and other fiction characteristics, as well as the elements of non-fiction and the ability to find information in the text.

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Create a Lesson Plan that Aligns IEP Goals to Standards

teacher resources,lesson plans,common core state standards
A model plan that aligns Common Core Standards to IEP's. Websterlearning

With students whose function is lower, you will be focusing on IEP goals, and the steps that help them arrive at a higher more age appropriate level of function.

This template was made with Microsoft word, inserting a table. I created three columns and then merged the two right columns for the content.

There is a space for each of the students' individual instruction as well as a list of the activities that will be in their folder or on their visual schedule.

Because this is a Microsoft Word Document, the squares will expand as you add text. For reading/language arts, which is a two period class, I'm using a single plan for each of the two "level" groups.