Academic Skills



Back to School Block Party Week 2: Planning the first two weeks (when you don't have a curriculum)!

Welcome to the second week of the back to school block party I am hosting along side some of my favorite SPED bloggers out there! I am currently writing to you from a beach house in Ohio (yes we have beaches in Ohio and they are pretty awesome!), but I am already thinking about how I am going to plan the first few weeks of school. As many of you know teaching in a self contained special education classroom can come with MANY pro's and cons....the biggest con for me and we have NO curriculum. This is not by the fault of my school district it is just that the students in my classroom's needs change from year to year and I have many students for multiple years so the curriculum can't be the same every year. 

Lets start with the basics....I don't actually write formal lesson plan....#sorrynotsorry. I did buy a beautiful Erin Condrin Lesson planner this year ( which will be arriving this week) and I plan on using it ---actually I am going to force myself to use it. HOWEVER I don't write too much in my lesson plan books. I am a full believer in the bullet point lesson plans...I will get into this more in a blog post scheduled for the end of August when I can show you HOW I use my Erin Condren Planner...But basically I just bullet point what I want to accomplish in each big park of my day. 

Now a constant THREE Times a year (beginning, middle, and during the student's IEP time) I take some very important data. My school purchases for the Intensive Needs Teachers the ABLLS (Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills) workbook. I was SUPER intimidated of ABLLS when I was handed it two years ago and I will be 100% honest with you that I did nothing but read the manual the first year. The second year I purchased the an amazing resource from the Autism helper called The ABLLS Resource Kit. Now this product requires A TON of prep, but it is well worth it when I was finished because I have my binders ready to go each time I want to assess my students. This assessment gives me a great baseline on what they know/need to accomplish in the school year so I can design their curriculum. You then fill in these beautiful graphs that I attach to every IEP and then pass on to the next teacher so they don't have to begin the test from scratch they can just assess where the skills left off. It is amazing and if you have more questions about ABLLS let me know, because I see a future blog post solely about ABLLS in the very near future! 

Ok, so WHAT in the heck is everyone is in the room doing while I am working on ABLLS assessment with my students 1:1----well we are working on MASTERED TASKS People! My students (and all students with severe needs) struggles with change....and the change from summer break to back to school is stressful on everyone. I want to make sure that they understand the rules in my classroom, the structure of the classroom, and have a smooth transition into a new school year. So how do I do this? WELL I put together a bunch of back to school resources that will keep my kids busy in the classroom while getting back into the swing of things as opposed to being stressed out about a new routine/classmates/teachers. You need to build rapport in the classroom with staff and students and I for one do not like to stress my kids out with learning things that can be hard for them such as new skills. You can check out my Back to school pack, which includes Math activities, fine motor actives, reading comprehension activities/adaptive book, and making green vs. red choices, here This bundle is a great $$$ saver and includes 5 products for a discounted price! Here are some pictures of these products in this bundle!

LASTLY, know that what happens in the first twos weeks is a whirl wind of chaos....hopfully organized chaos, but as long as everyone goes home with a smile on their face (staff included) I consider that a WIN for the day! 

Let me know how you spend your first two weeks in the your classroom in the comments below and make sure you hop on over to the wonderful Especially Education to see what she does to prep for the first two weeks...and don't forget to hop thru every blog :) 

OHHHH and the BEST PART---check out INSTAGRAM we are giving away a Blog Hop Give-A-Way of a 1 year personal use license to Smarty Symbols! 

Have a Great time Prepping everyone!!! 


  1. OK I need to hear more about ABLLS because I've literally never seen OR done it! And YES to MASTERED tasks for the first few weeks!!!

  2. I also haven't done ABLLS! My school used it before I got there, but now they use VB MAPP, which I don't love that much. I can't wait to read more about how your bullet point lessons!

  3. 1. Add me to the list of people who have never done ABLLS! I feel like I need to know more about it...
    2.Organized chaos is absolutely the perfect way to describe the first two weeks!
    3. I can't wait to see how you're going to be using your ECLP... I'll be back for that post :)