Special Education Lesson Planning Guide

My first years of teaching I spent HOURS AND HOURS looking up lesson plans for teaching functional life skills, making materials, looking for special education lesson plan templates, adapted materials that were age appropriate, & so much more. I used to stay after work until 5 or 6pm every day to make sure I had enough plans and materials for the next day. The first year was the hardest but the more I taught, I developed a firmer grasp of the population, how to teach students with disabilities, and the content. It was easier to come up with a plan for each day. 


Every class period should have a routine.

This makes it easier to plan and to insert activities or lessons. It’s a general lesson plan template that I use to implement my life skills curriculum. I used different variations of what is below, depending on my students and what they can or can’t handle.



Warm up activity

Depending on what class you teach, this could be a few simple math problems, a puzzle, a matching activity, or a simple vocational task the student can complete independently. This gets the student in the mindset for learning and also gives you a few minutes to get yourself prepared.



I love using power points for my instruction. Most students are more interested in and will engage with power point presentations. For our lower functioning learners, or learners who have a short attention span, their attention is held by the screen and pictures. Even better if you find something interactive!

Each day, I try to use a power point or project a story (anything on the smart board/projector).  I choose a topic and find a power point/lesson I can use.


Group Activity

Some kind of group activity to help review the material. You can do a game, a hands-on activity, even reviewing the comprehension questions together if you can’t think of anything.


Independent Work

Make sure you give them an activity to work on as independent as possible. Some examples are: comprehension questions (even if you JUST went over them as a class orally), matching sheet, a word search, a picture writing prompt, file folder/velcro matching, or tell me 3 things you learned today.


Wrap Up/Closing

A brief review of why it’s important that you taught this lesson today and that the information was important. You could also do your what was one thing you learned today activity here.


Break Time!!

Depending on your population, you may need to integrate break time more often, but if they can make it to the end of class, even better.


This is my version of a special education lesson plan-; this template plan usually takes me through an entire 90-minute block. This worked for me, I hope that some variation of this can work for your classroom.

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