1. Hello Jannike,

    I have been a teacher for 15 years, but have been put in charge of the ALP (Adapted Learning Program) for the next school year. I will have 12 students and 2 aides to help. Most of the students have moderate to severe autism, but there are also other disabilities (deaf, cerebral palsy). I have NO special education training and want to do my best next year. I have your schedule for teaching social skills. Do you have any other tips for me? Thanks!


    1. Hi! That will be a tough year. My suggestion is to look over the student's IEP goals, and group students in 2s and 3s based on similar goals. The goals will also help you determine centers or stations. I found having the students rotate through centers in groups of 2s and 3s to be most helpful, with a couple of individual work stations for those not able to work in a group. Once I have determined what stations, I do the layout of my room. I had a teacher area. This was where I worked on LA, Math, and goals that didn't fit in anywhere else. Students came to me 2-3 times a day, at different times, I just called it Teacher time, or LA, OR Math, etc.Then I had a large group area, which was where I did science, social studies, social skills, art, etc.I had an Independent Work area, and a separate Life skills area, and computer area. I've also had spelling, vocabulary, art, binder stations ( depending on IEPs) that were run by my Paras. Once you've figured out centers, then make your schedule for your Paras and one that shows where your students are all day. You'll make tons of changes the first few weeks of school, but it's good to have a plan in place for the first few days. Then make your visuals for your stations and for your student schedules. During the first few days, don't worry about their goals, just provide busy work, because it's important to establish your daily routine first. Once that is established and any bugs have been worked out, you make adjustments. Then you can start looking at specific lesson plans. For the basics, I use their IEP goals to guide my LA, Math, etc. For the other content areas, I used my school's curriculum in science and SS to guide my plans. For instance, in 7th grade, my school does the human body as one of their units. They are pretty in depth, so that won't work, but I can cover the basic concepts by adapting and modifying. Pinterest is where I would go for inspiration. I always show a video, make an adapted book, do an experiment, and a hands on lesson. Similar for Social studies. A big part of my day is life skills. We happen to have a kitchen which has been very handy. I have very specific life skills task that we do in there. I have a life skills Workstation with big tasks that don't quite fit into the independent workstation area. Then we work on putting away groceries, washing dishes, doing laundry, money skills, mopping, all those kinds of things. We have a classroom job which includes wiping down desks and chairs, doorknobs, sweeping, tidying up books, plugging in iPads to charge, emptying or yeah and recycle, Etc. Then we have school jobs. I've solicited jobs from different departments in my building. For example we help the school nurse by making ice bags, washing their blankets and pillow cases, we shred papers for the school psychologist and for the front office, we sharpen pencils for other teachers, we do other classrooms recycling, we put down wash cloths for the cafeteria, the possibilities are endless. Thessaloniki were jobs we did in at the end of the day. I also had a community skills program in place. We would go out one to two afternoons a week. One day we might just be looking for safety signs, another day we might practice crossing the street, a different day we might go to a local business such as the store and do a scavenger hunt for certain grocery items, or looking for those, or maybe we would practice purchasing something. This was how I set up my classroom with a limited budget, but if you are given money to purchase more resources, one of the things I found most helpful was ULS, which has a fairly integrated lesson plan system that covers many of the areas that I mentioned. Pinterest will also be your friend. I wish you good luck. If you have other very specific kinds of questions please don't hesitate to ask I'd be very glad to help.

  2. Good grief, sorry about the typos, auto correct has a mind of its own. If something was not clear, please ask.

  3. Jannike,

    Thank you so much for the response. I am on vacation right now, but will definitely be contacting you closer to the start of the school year. I truly appreciate your response. Enjoy your summer.

  4. Sorry, I also meant to say that I have been inspired by the layout of your classroom, and you have given me plenty to consider. I love the idea of helping out around the school. I had considered having the kids help with the pop can and paper recycling. I love the ice bag idea! The ladies in the office are always grumbling about that job! Take care!

  5. Hi, I saw on a different blog that you had a packet about working with aides that was available on your blog, is that still true? I will be a special education teacher in an 8:1+3 class for students with ED and I would love all the help I can get for working with my aides, planning for their day, and our expectations. Please let me know how you can help! Thank you!!

  6. I wanted to send you an email, but I don't see it here... mine is I wanted to tell you about my book that can even be adapted for Special Ed too...
    Feel free to email with any questions : )
    ~Lucy Ravitch