Academic Skills



Curriculum For A Self Contained Special Education Classroom

Summer is a such a great time for teachers to recharge their batteries and turn their school brain off. Right?!? Well we always go into June believing that but let's get real. It is SO hard to turn our teacher brain off. The main goal I try to accomplish every summer is how I can prepare for the next year without having to take up so much of my nights and weekends. 

I teacher in a self contained special ed classroom. My students are with me more than 60% of the day. We go into the general education for social opportunities like recess, lunch, specials, and fun events, but their core academics take place in my small group classroom. I will be going into my 8th year (YIKES 8 years!) this fall and one thing that has been a struggle since year 1 is the lack of curriculum. I have ALWAYS been told the curriculum should be drive by the IEP goals and I 100% agree with that! BUT I need something to keep myself organized so I make sure I teach them new material and prepare them for their alternative assessments in the spring. 

So what standards should we follow? Common core is often too difficult for students. I am lucky to live in a state, Ohio, that provides extended standards. If you want to look at them they are available online Here this was my main point of reference when I made my curriculum map. 

Here is my K-2 Curriculum Map 

Here is my 3-5 curriculum Map 

Programming is the post important step in planning your curriculum. You can make a beautiful grid like I did but if you do not have materials to back it up then you will not get very far. 

This is why I love Teachers Pay Teachers for Special Education. There is very little Curriculum out there for us, mainly because there is no one size fits all for our kids, but we need something. 

Here is some programming I use in my classroom that aligns to my curriculum map 

Math: I have been creating a math curriculum to meet my students needs. It is currently in Presale in my tpt shop. You can get it here for a crazy low price! K-2 is available here stay tuned for 3-5 it will be available soon! 

Reading: I use PCI reading in my classroom for sight words and reading fluency, but what about reading concepts. I created a reading curriculum that helps measure my students ability to learn reading skill such as main idea, fantasy vs reality, fact and opinion, and much more! Check it out here

Science and Social Studies: My district has purchased UNIQUE Learning. It is great for incorporating the science and social studies standards with differentiation! You can check out more 
this great blog post by my friend Kayla at My Special Learners and how she uses it in her classroom 

Social Skills: I love love love Autism Adventures Social Skills Curriculum. It is a great structured way to work thru many social skills that our students need to learn and/or need to review! Check it out here

Let me know in the comments how you plan out the curriculum for your classroom! 


  1. Would you mind sharing an editable version of your curriculum map templates?

  2. Wow this looks amazing! I have a Grade 5 & 6 Self Contained. For the last 3 years I've pushed out for Science/S.S. This is the first year I'll have a handful of students with me all day. This will come in handy!

  3. I love your curriculum maps. Do you mind sharing the templates. I teach K-3 self-contained. Thank you.

  4. This is THE post I've been looking for. I am going in to my 5th year teaching in a self-contained classroom and have always struggled to plan effectively because I had no curriculum map to follow. I've been trying to put something together but have been spending hours upon hours doing so. For whatever reason, this blog post came up in my search and I will be forever thankful!! I teach K-2 right now. I put your reading bundle on my list of TPT products to buy. It's going to be so helpful! I would like to ask one question...can you explain the "checklist" that you refer to for reading on your K-2 map? How do you use the checklist?

  5. Can you send me an editable version I'm teaching students with ID, my 2nd year K-3...

  6. Could you please send me the editable template as well?

  7. Is there an editable version of this?

  8. Hello, I would really be grateful for an editable version! Your post is so helpful. Thank you!

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