Download Your 2018-2019 Curriculum Framework

Video Overview

More Information

For the 2018-2019 school year, I'm posting a full Curriculum Framework for a middle school special education classroom (classrooms where students with significant cognitive disabilities access the curriculum through the prerequisite skills to the TEKS/Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills).

The Curriculum Framework includes:

• 12 Editable Cover Pages to keep your materials organized.
• A Scope & Sequence for every core subject that lists Focus Skills, TEKS, planned units and start/end dates to teach each unit.
• Pacing Calendars for every subject that are in a color coded calendar format to match each of the Focus Skills on the Scope & Sequence.
• Over 400 links to TPT and other resources that are organized by Focus Skill.
• Quarter Unit reference sheets (one for each quarter) to help teachers and parents quickly identify which units will be taught in each subject, each week of the year.
• Key Words reference sheets (one for each quarter) to help teachers and parents quickly identify which instructional terms will be focused on in each subject, each week of the year.
• A Fillable Daily IEP Instruction Schedule for teachers to plan their subjects, time of day, students to work with, teacher assignments and IEP instruction plans/stations.
• A Fillable Weekly IEP Instruction Schedule to be used as a reference tool for teachers and paraprofessionals to ensure consistent instruction of specific IEP goals that cannot be easily embedded into unit instruction.
• A Fillable Weekly Summary Schedule for teachers to post in the classroom so that students and paraprofessionals can see the weekly plan for each subject’s unit and instructional terms.
• 36 weeks of Fillable Lesson Plans for all core subjects (ELAR, math, science and social studies), broken down into four quarters AND 36 separate files (choose which you prefer), each with their own Table of Contents.

Included on every plan:
o The Focus Skill and Unit that is to be taught.
o Grade level TEKS & Essence Statements (from the T.E.A. Curriculum Framework).
o Prerequisite skills for every planned unit that have been edited down to reflect only options for what will be taught each week (from the T.E.A. Curriculum Framework).
o Possible Stations listed by grade level (most at about pre-K to 3rd grade) pulled from the Vertical Alignment Documents (from T.E.A.) making it easy to differentiate for a wide range of learning needs.
o Instructional Terms for every unit
o Supporting Concepts and Process TEKS
o Holidays & Special Events
o Strategies for teaching literacy (ELAR, Science & Social Studies) and Math specific strategies (for you to show how you are differentiating for each student).
o Three levels of verbs to document how your students will show what they’re learning.
o Fillable areas for you to individualize:
-Your specific lessons/activities to teach the skills
-Communication/speech, behavior and academic IEP goals

• There are two different ways to access your lesson plans so you can choose which format works best for you. Choose between completing your lessons in the file that divides the school year into four quarters, or choose to complete your lessons in the file folders that divide the school year into 36 separate weeks. The second option makes it easy to complete the finishing touches on your plans each week and submit to your administrator.
o This is a 374 page resource, but because of this second option, there are actually over 660 pages in this download.

• Bonus: Along with the Curriculum Framework, I have also attached 108 Full-Color Subject/Unit Labels to use both for pocket/wall charts and to organize your materials for every unit into boxes/bins, etc. Every planned unit in this Curriculum Framework has an accompanying label that also includes the Quarter and Week taught in the bottom corner.

This is a working document. It is not intended to be printed out and used as is. Most has been completed for you, but you will still need to add your students' IEP goals and specific activities that you will use to teach the units. Information in these plans is sourced from the T.E.A. (Texas Education Agency) website, and the links are provided on the lesson plans to the source documents.  

To purchase a single user license through TPT, please click HERE.

To purchase a single user license directly through my blog using Paypal, click the button below, and you'll receive $10 off the TPT price! ($110 vs. $120)
Upon receipt of payment, you will be emailed an invitation from the seller to download the resource with a Google Drive link (within 12 hours, but usually much sooner).  *Please make sure you can open documents through Google Drive before purchasing in this way.

Please contact to inquire about multiple user licenses. 

*All documents are in PDF format with fillable areas for you to type, save, and print as needed.

Also available is a Middle School Curriculum Framework for Reading and English/Language Arts only.  It offers everything that the Full Curriculum Framework offers, excluding Math, Science and Social Studies.  Click HERE to be taken to TPT to read the detailed description.

Using Seesaw to Monitor Progress in a Special Education Classroom

This school year I started using Seesaw, and I see so much potential in its application in a special education classroom, that I thought I should write a post about it.  First, I should say that I'm in no way being compensated by Seesaw.  I just want to share with you an interactive program that has many benefits for students with special needs.  I'm going to give you a step-by-step process to registering your account, and then I'll talk about some of the ways you can use Seesaw to monitor progress and update your parents on the amazing things that are happening in your classroom.

The URL for Sessaw is, or you can just click HERE.  You will see their home page:

Click login in the top right corner, and you will be taken to a page that looks like this:

Click "I'm a teacher," and you'll be taken to the next screen:

You will first need to create your account, and you only need your name, email and password.  You can also register using your google account, which is easier if you already have a google account.  It is free to register.

Once you register, you will have a tutorial screen guide you through the process.  It's really easy, so I won't recap the information that the tutorial provides.

Once you've named your class, selected your grade levels and added your students' names, you'll be taken to this screen.  Watch the 2:28 video to give you an idea of how teachers are using Seesaw.  If you're curious and want to watch the video before you register, click HERE.

Your page will start out blue on the background with no pictures.  Your students' names will be listed in the right column.  I'm going to give you a few tips on how to customize your page.

To customize the color and picture on your teacher background, click the little wrench in the top right corner.  Class settings will appear, and you will see "Class theme."  Click here to change your color.  Below you will see "Class icon."  You can upload a picture of yourself, or you can upload a picture that symbolizes your classroom.  Seesaw also offers cute emojis.

As you can see, I've now changed my background to seafoam, and I added my picture.  Scroll down on Class settings, and you'll see "Manage students."  Click there, and you'll be taken to a screen that lists your students.  If you want to insert their pictures where you see their initials, simply click on their name, and then click "Icon."  You can select an emoji or upload a picture of your student.  In my class, I uploaded pictures of my students, but right now, I'll just use an emoji for my one-student example class.

You're now ready to start posting.  Seesaw lets you create folders, and I highly encourage you to set these up, as it's really easy, and once you begin using Seesaw with your parents, it'll help them to understand what is happening in each post.  Click the green circle with the white plus sign, and you'll see a menu open up.  Click the middle selection that says "Post to Student Journal."

You will see this screen.  Seesaw lets you upload pictures, videos, drawings, notes, links and files.  Choose any one of these to get started on adding your files.  You can add files directly from your computer, or if you want to take your picture or video on the spot, you can do that too.

Once your file has been uploaded, you need to click the green circle with the check mark on the top right to advance to the next screen.

On this screen, you can rotate, record, draw, label and add captions.  I think that adding a quick caption is always helpful for parents.

Once you add what you want, click the check mark in the green circle, and you will be taken to the screen where your students are listed.  I only have one student in this example class, but you will have a list.  Everything you post will be listed on your teacher post page, but parents will only see the posts where their student's name was selected.  If it's an announcement for all of your parents, of course, you'd click "Everyone."

You can now see that my picture has been posted, but it hasn't been put into a file.  I'm going to show you how to add files to keep your posts organized.  After you add your files, they will always pop up after the student names page when making a post.  So, you will always be able to easily add a post only to the applicable students' page, and you will always be able to quickly label it in a folder.

Under my post, you can see symbols similar to Facebook where parents can like or comment on the post.  On that row, there is a little file folder.  Click there.  A pop-up that looks like this will appear.  If you feel confident, just click "Create a Folder!"  Seesaw also offers a "Show me how," so I won't explain too much, and I'll get straight to the folders.

You can choose a different color for each folder, and at the top is where you will label your folder.  Once you create one folder, click the green circle with the check, and you can continue to create folders.  Although you can always create folders later, I think it's easy to initially add the ones you know you are going to need.  I'm going to show you a list of folders that I've found helpful.

I showed as many as could be seen in one screen, but you can customize your folders however you like.  Also, you'll see little green check marks next to each folder.  You want to make sure that you only check the pictures that apply to that particular post.  My picture has now been labeled with the folder School is Fun!  All of the other folders that I created are saved so that when I make posts in the future, I only need to check the folders that are applicable.

All of your posts can now easily be sorted by student and folder.  Parents can look at your posts and know whether it's a classroom activity or if it's an activity that directly supports their IEP.  On the bottom right of the screen is a link that says "Invite families."  Click here, and Seesaw offers you options for inviting that are all really easy to use.

Seesaw offers many other features, but these are just the basics on how to get started.  This is such an amazing site for special education classrooms for many reasons:

(1) Our students can have difficulty communicating their school day to their parents, so this empowers parents to open up a dialogue about their school day when students get home.

(2) Our students will benefit from their parents being able to reinforce the learning at home that they have been working on at school.

(3) If students are having difficulty with a particular goal, or on the opposite end, if they are showing significant progress with a goal, parents are informed of the different strategies, accommodations and modifications that are being used in the classroom to help students meet their goals.

(4) Students love seeing their pictures and videos on this site, and I've noticed that when they know that their parents are going to be seeing their page, they take the learning process more seriously.

I could go on with more reasons why I love this site, but I will leave you to explore on your own.  I hope this post was helpful, and have a great year!

Lesson Planning, 3rd Edition

Hello Middle School Teachers,

I know you're all deep into lesson planning now that it's week four, and I've had quite a few emails about a 3rd edition.  This 3rd Edition includes lesson plan templates for ELAR, Math, Science and Social Studies for each week of the nine weeks.  The editable templates will have important portions filled out for you.  Every plan includes:
  • TEKS
  • Instructional Terms
  • Supporting Concepts
  • Essence Statements
  • Prerequisite Skills
  • Critical Skills
There are places provided in the template for you to fill out based on your specific needs and materials available to you:
  • Communication/Speech Goals
  • Special Events/Holidays
  • Daily Activities
  • Leveled Differentiation
  • Embedded IEP Goals
  • Notes/Behavior Goals
You will be able to use the filled out portion of the templates as a guide to add your favorite activities to teach those skills.  Once complete, this will be a working lesson plan that you can also turn in to your administrators.  This resource will keep you on track to be teaching your students the prerequisite skills to the grade level TEKS, but remember, you still need to differentiate them based on your students' needs and the resources you have available to you.  They are NOT ready to print and go.

I want to point out that there are A LOT of prerequisite skills in the Curriculum Framework.  Adding these really made the plans quite long, but because there are so many different ways to teach the TEKS because our students are so different, I tried to find a happy medium:
  • For ELAR and Math, I used the 6th grade prerequisite skills, as there is little variation between grade levels.
  • For Writing I used the 7th grade prerequisite skills, as that's the grade that tests in this subject.
  • For Science and Social Studies I used the 8th grade prerequisite skills, as that's the grade that tests in these subjects.
Information was sourced from the T.E.A. website, and I included the links in the plans so that you can easily access the source material when planning.  I'll do my best to get these uploaded as close as possible to the transition of each nine weeks.  I hope these resources help to give you more time to spend with your students teaching, and I hope you have a fun school year!!

Click the picture or HERE to be taken to the TPT site.

Homework Checklist

Hello teachers!  I get a lot of requests for an editable version of my Homework Checklist.  When I reformat to make it editable, I lose some of the fonts that I'm able to provide in the PDF version.  So, I'm attaching both versions for you to download for free.  Have a great school year!

Click HERE for PDF

Click HERE for editable PowerPoint

Proud to Begin Another Year Teaching

This is the time of year when, as teachers, we have many responsibilities stacked upon us.  During this time, we break away from our own children who we've been able to spend quality time with during the summer, and they have to adjust to seeing much less of us.

It's always a tough adjustment, and during this time of year, I like to remind myself of the things that I love so much about what I do.  When I go to trainings or professional development, in preparation for the new year, I'm surrounded by other special education teachers.  Without fail, if we're shown a video or photo of a student smiling, I hear gasps and ahhhhs in the audience of teachers.  We're all in this together, to see those students smile, engaged and loving school.  So to start this school year, I want to share with you a letter that a parent gave me this past June.

To my son's Angel,

How do you thank someone who has changed my son's life...forever?  My son came in as a 6th grader.  He wanted independence and to be liked by others.  But he couldn't.  He didn't have the skills.  He was inflexible, had poor planning and a high frustration level.

You took him in and taught him flexibility, limitations and self-control.  You did it firmly but with love.  It was just what he needed.  Oh, what a tough job that is!!!  Where did you ever find the patience and stamina??

Next, you taught everyone who wanted to help him how to do this best.  Time and again, he would be stuck in a class and you would step in.  You made visuals and schedules, sent emails and offered advice on how to help him the best.  You always worked to find a way through the obstacles and didn't give up.  You helped him succeed in his classes and gave him a sense of accomplishment.

You were constantly trying to figure out ways that he COULD be independent.  You seemed to always come up with a plan when it didn't seem possible.  You could have said no, but you knew how important it was to him.  And yet, you also taught him, unfortunately, we all have limitations.  You helped him realize that we don't always get what we want.  That is a tough lesson to teach.

You helped my husband and I have better parenting skills.  You taught us how to manage his frustrations, give him directions and direct him towards the goal.  The lessons you have taught us and the guidance of when to assist, when to stand firm, and when to let go are invaluable.  We will continue to use them.

And most importantly, you were his "safe space."  He knew you were always there for him when he needed help.  This was true when he was proud, frustrated or sad.  He was so comfortable with you, he would even come to you when he knew he was wrong and in trouble!

So again, how do you thank someone who has helped turn your little boy into a person who will succeed and become an independent person?  How do you thank someone who has given him skills of planning, flexibility, ownership, self-control and pride?

How does it feel to know you have changed one person's entire future?  I am not exaggerating.  Through the past three years, you have been the most instrumental person in his life!  I cannot think of anyone who has helped him more.  I have always said, God sent us an angel.  You will always be an angel in our eyes.

I am so sorry to say goodbye.  With unbelievable gratitude.

So, I proudly say congratulations to my students who are beginning a new journey in high school.  I will miss all of you, and I know that you will make your mark on the world in your own special way.

To my new students, I say welcome to your new adventure.  I'm going to build you a home away from home.  I'm going to constantly be learning from you, and based on that, I'm going to set my expectations just high enough to challenge you.  I'm looking forward to turning you into team players.

You will be the biggest part of my life for the next three years, and I will honor your time.  It's not always going to be easy, and sometimes you won't be happy about things, but that's okay.  You are all going to succeed to the best of your abilities because we care about your success, and we're doing everything we can to get you there!  Welcome to my class.

Resources for Teachers

For all of you teachers who are already preparing for next school year, here are some resources that might help.  Many of the resources offer lesson plans, but I use these only as inspiration for my own plans, as each class is very different and requires a high level of differentiation.

This link will take you directly to Monthly Instructional Guides for teachers of students with significant cognitive delays (free downloads).

This link will take you directly to the special education services page where you can find multiple resources and training opportunities.

This link takes you to multiple resources on evidence-based strategies, as well as general, training, transition, statewide and national resources.

This link takes you directly to the Autism Speaks toolkits.  These are free downloadable guides that address multiple topics.

Provides resources to learn about exceptional children.  Links to teaching resources and strategies for working with students with special needs are also provided.

Other Resources to Help with Lesson & Activity Planning:

Use their custom materials and 25,000+ images to create your own Word and Powerpoint projects with no watermarks or other limitations.  You can also upload your own pictures into their templates to create projects like Get-To-Know-You Bingo, US Presidents Dominos, picture schedules, etc.  You have to register in order to download from this site (Free Unlimited Access for 3 Months, then $36/year).

Download free materials in multiple subjects, as well as social stories, ABA materials, flashcards, basic living/home/school/independent living skills, etc.  Downloads are free, but you must register with your email to access the resources.

Download nonfiction and literary articles, along with reading comprehension and vocabulary lessons, formative assessments and teacher guidance.  Downloads are free, but you must register with your email to access the resources.

This link takes you to a free application that allows teachers to quickly create checklists that students can use to monitor their behavior in the classroom.  No registration required.

Offers lessons in math, science, social studies and language arts.  Registration required, with free limited access or full membership.

Download lesson plans and access other resources.  Downloads are free, but you must register with your email to access the resources.

Adapted, age-appropriate literature (PDF and Powerpoint format) for grades K-12.  Free to download and no registration required.

This spring I was contacted by Sarah Brian from Forever Curious, a site that offers a curation of educational resources.  She sent me some links that you might find really useful:

Offers lesson plans that integrate website content about military life and world cultures with key concepts in Language Arts, Math and other subjects.

Financial lessons for students with special needs that include teachers' guides and student activities.  Downloads are free in PDF and Powerpoint formats.  No registration required.

Offers links to lesson plans that teach children not only about history and government, but also responsibility and citizenship.  You will find lesson plans and resources to help you teach about laws and contracts to your specific age range of children.  Some of the links require registration, and some do not.

Offers links to lesson plans that teach financial literacy.  Most of the links do not require registration, and the downloads are free.

Download free PDF files, lessons and materials that teach social studies skills.  No registration required, but you'll likely need to adapt some of the literature to be appropriate for many of your students.

Links to strategies, lesson plans and activities that teach students visual-spatial skills and organization.

Links to shopping and retail-themed lesson plans for educators.  Most of the links do not require registration, and the downloads are free.

Each class includes six sessions with a different produce feature and sessions are divided into two components: a tasting activity and a cooking activity.  The tasting activity introduces children to different fruit & vegetable varieties.  Next, the children prepare a recipe using one of the fruit & vegetable varieties for the cooking activity.  This is a free PDF download (269 pages).

*With the exception of the Monthly Instructional Guides that I reviewed and updated in the fall of 2016, I have not received any compensation from any of the above resources.

Hello 2017!

2016 was a very busy year, and although I've been actively writing activities, those activities have been living their purpose in the classroom without making their way to sharing mode.  For 2017, I decided to bundle my previously posted activities and post some new resources as well.

Because I'm a special education teacher, I always have specific student goals on my mind.  For this reason, I provide the goal for each activity.  Still, these activities can be used for IEP goals or simple classroom activities.  I hope these resources help support you in educating your students!!

Click HERE