A resource is only as useful as the person utilizing it. That is, if you don’t know what/how you are using a resource, you will fail. You must have a goal or objective when lesson planning and using resources.
When you have your objective, write it down. Yes, create a lesson plan. I am a fan of backwards curriculum design. You should include the objective of each individual class session on your lesson plan. It is okay, and expected, to have remediation days—plan for them. On your lesson plans, write when/how you will use each resource. When using a resource, ask yourself “why this thing?”
If you are unsure how to implement a resource, check YouTube or ask a peer for demonstration of the (new) technique, worksheet, or skill.
If you have multiple students with different needs, planning for all of the different accommodations can seem daunting. What do you do? Where do you start? When planning for accommodations start with the most intensive needs and work to the least intensive needs. In a self-contained setting, the most intensive needs may require a completely altered lesson plan/delivery, while the least intensive needs may only require a small modification. Visualize how each student can meet the lesson objective and WRITE IT DOWN.
Reminder: always preview any resources before using with students.
The best resource in the Special Educator’s arsenal is their district Resource Coach or Disability Coordinator. This person often specializes in accommodations, teaching techniques, and learning theory. Often, they can tell you how/why you should be using a special technique to improve student learning.
Teachers Pay Teachers
Teachers Pay Teachers is filled with great, teacher-created resources (worksheets, fonts, PowerPoints, etc…). TPT will take some time to navigate, just because there are SOOO many things. It’s best to use the filters to find exactly what you want or need. Some of the resources cost money, but TPT has a lot of free content.
While completely monetized, N2Y is a great resource for content across all major content areas (ELA, Math, Science, Social Studies, and Life Skills). The resources are leveled and often downloadable. The one annoyance is the materials are available for a set time period and then disappear for new material.
Completely free and only a 10-minute video! CNN10 is a daily news-briefing about current events that can be watched through YouTube or the CNN10 website. Carl Azuz includes targeted jokes at the end of each video that some students enjoy. The one downside is the filming schedule may not match with your break schedules.
Other great resources:
- (Online Stopwatch) Classroom Timers: visual, audio, and sensory timers
- Starfall Education (%): calendar, seasons, ELA, and math
- Bouncy Balls: classroom noise management
- BrainPOP ($): ELA, math, science, health, art, and social studies
- 123 Homeschool 4 Me: ELA, math, science, and social studies
- Keeping My Kiddos Busy (%): ELA, math, lesson planning
- Storyline Online: ELA
- KidTime StoryTime: ELA
- Boom Cards (%): ELA, math, science, Speech/Language, life skills, and social studies
- FTCE ESE Study Guide by Cirrus (This is written for Florida, but your state should have a similar guide).
Sources marked with ($) charge a subscription to access all content. Sources marked with (%) charge to access some content.