Monday, May 5, 2014

Lesson Planning in an Autism Classroom

Lesson Planning is very different for autism teachers in a self-contained classroom than other teachers.  After posting about my different stations and schedules, I got a couple emails regarding lesson plans.  So, this is how I lesson plan and my principal is very accepting of the fact that my plans are done in a slightly different manner than the other teachers in the school.

First of all, I have all of these pieces (as well as my weekly schedule for each student and adult and evacuation plans) posted in a top-loading sheet right beside my door for easy access for anyone who comes into the classroom.

I have a cover letter, which describes the general set-up of the classroom (including schedules, structure, student ratios/groupings, stations, and behavioral strategies utilized).  I also include a sample of an IEP Minutes Spreadsheet.  The IEP Minutes Spreadsheet displays where each IEP goal is being worked on throughout the day and it looks like this:

I then describe, VERY generally, each subject that is covered in my classroom, the standards it covers, and the assessments utilized to assess the skills.  A sample looks like this:

Next, I do curriculum maps for my academic subjects like math and reading.  This covers my "teacher time" station, guided reading group station, and math groups.  Here, I am starting to try and tie in the Common Core standards that are being utilized.  A sample math one is shown below.  
For the other stations not covered, I rely on my general plans/IEP minutes spreadsheets since it would be impossible to plan this detailed for every student and every subject.  In a huge way, our IEP goals and benchmarks are each student's individual curricular map, so they should definitely count for something!  

For my academic curricular maps shown above, I then plan out activities for each day of the month.  An example of those plans are shown below.  

Now, just to let you know...I did not do all of this in my first year of teaching...or even in my first 5 years!  This is something I have started more recently...but it really makes life and planning so much easier.  If you do your curricular map at the beginning of the year, you can easily decide what topics to cover in a month and then find corresponding activities to plug into your monthly calendars!  

If you need any additional information on any of these topics, please send me an email


  1. Thanks for this! I was one who emailed about this. Do you see your students several times at your table for the different academic subjects? Is the monthly plan what you send to the principal? Really like the IEP goal/minutes. My class is a work in progress, so might be more of a next year thing.

  2. Thanks for sharing this! Its always nice to see how others do things. Even after 30 + years in teaching, I LOVE getting new ideas!

  3. Thanks so much, This is very helpful.

  4. This is my first year as a lead teacher. I appreciate that you mentioned this level of planning didn't start off immediately.

  5. Is there any way that you could send your lesson plan format via email? this is the first year that i will be able to use ANY format, and i LOVE what you have here!! :)


  6. I agree with Bonnie! This is my second year and I am struggling with planning for 2nd through 6th grade and 14 students. I just want to make sure I'm covering everybody on their individual levels. Thanks for sharing!