Students with special learning needs account for 14% of public school children. And among these pupils, each need is different.
So, how do you, as a teacher, create lesson plans for such a diverse class?
It can be tricky, but with the right planning, you will help each student thrive.
Read on to see how special education teachers are making lesson plans to help all their children learn.
Learn From Mistakes
One of the most important things to remember when creating lesson plans is to learn from your mistakes.
If an activity doesn't work for the majority of children, then it should be re-evaluated. This doesn't always mean that it should never be used again. Fixing the lesson may make it a perfect fit for most students.
Continue this process of elimination and correction until you feel like a lesson is meeting the needs of your class.
Not all special needs lessons should remain the same while you are teaching. Remember to be adaptive, so when something doesn't feel like it's going right, you can then decide to change it.
There may be a time when you need to scrap the lesson and improvise. It might seem scary at first, but once you know your students and have confidence in your teaching ability, it will become natural.
It can be as simple as moving on to the next activity or having a backup plan in case the first one isn't received well.
No matter the case, it is essential to always expect the unexpected but be prepared to move quickly. The last thing you need is for your students to get bored or frustrated with an activity, so be aware of their feelings at all times.
Get Ideas Online
If you are new to special needs education, it helps to read about other teachers' experiences online.
You can gain knowledge about activities that work for others to spark your own imagination. There may even be printable worksheets and materials that you can order and use in your class.
Lessons aren't the only things available online. Knowing that you aren't alone helps with your self-confidence too.
Visit teaching blogs and join online groups to connect with other educators to discuss topics and share experiences.
Inclusion and participation are important in all learning environments, but studies have found that integration of special ed lesson plans is needed for student success.
This means that activities shouldn't separate special needs students rather include them in regular school programs. As a teacher, you can ensure that your students don't feel different than any other children.
It may depend on the school whether classes with special needs are separate from regular classes; however, you can be sure your students participate in school-wide activities and integrate lessons with them.
Within your class, allow your student to decide where they belong rather than placing them in a category of their supposed needs. Putting boundaries or limitations on them will only make students feel limited and ostracized.
Accommodate Sensory Needs
While integration helps students feel like they belong, you also have to be aware of their special needs.
One of the most common components of a learning disability is the need for sensory stimulation. So, the lesson and purpose can be mainstream, but the tactics may differ.
For example, children with special needs might require a more hands-on approach or an added bit of color and sound. You can add multi-sensory learning to any lesson plan to make it more enjoyable and effective.
This is a great way to find and highlight each of the student's strengths so that they feel comfortable. It will also help them learn the subject matter quicker and more effectively.
Keep a Routine
Teaching special needs require patience and obedience, both of which can be achieved through a routine.
A routine doesn't just help you stay organized and calm; it also helps your students know what to expect. When your students know what comes next, it makes your instructions easy to understand.
Students will begin to do things like clean up independently when they know that it's almost lunchtime, for example. Also, they will understand the reason behind your instructions, removing the need to question you.
Plus, a schedule accommodates many special needs because it removes the element of surprise, which many students find comforting.
Communicate With Parents
No one knows your students better than their parents. When children get home, they may tell their mom or dad what they enjoyed about class or what parts were difficult.
Use the parents as a resource to understand your students more. You can then make adjustments to your lesson plans to make them easier or more challenging.
If students like certain parts of the class, then you will know to keep it as a routine.
Also, parents will appreciate your interest in making plans around their child's needs. You can't please everyone, but you can get an overall assessment of your efforts.
Resources for Special Education Teachers
Whether you teach at home or in a classroom finding the things you need for special education teachers can be difficult. Lesson plans need to be interactive and accommodating for all types of learning.
We make it easy to locate appropriate activities for your students, from adapted books to task bin lessons.
Check out our collection of products to find the perfect lesson plan for your next class.