centers in special education

Whether you teach general education or special education, CENTERS can be challenging! They take time. Don't feel like you have failed if your centers don't immediately go smoothly, because they won't.  Students need to practice the routine for at least a few weeks, if not longer. Students have to be taught exactly what centers are, what is expected of them in each center, and how to navigate each center. I used this system in a self-contained classroom for years and you would be amazed how well the students adapted the routine! Even if I was out and there was a sub, the students knew what to do. 



A HUGE part of working with students in special education is providing a visually rich environment. Probably one of the MOST important things we can provide our students is an image to communicate information in a way that is not just auditory or verbal, and that is constant. For most of our students, this means VISUALS. 

There are multiple places to get your visuals. Many schools have subscriptions to Boardmaker or other similar image software, but I personally prefer more realistic images (because we don't really have cone-heads or stick figure bodies), so I tend to take a lot of photos myself. 
When we think of visuals, most special education teachers think of a schedule, but there are MANY other ways to incorporate visuals in the classroom. Visuals can be used for communication, directions, acquiring vocabulary, token boards, centers, and so much more!



I will NEVER forget my first IEP meeting. It was awful! I was new, had very little training, and was ill-prepared. I vowed after that meeting that I was never going to let that happen again! Not only was I embarrassed, I let the parents down. Though it took some time, and a few more years of experience I figured out a system that allowed me to write thorough and accurate IEPs without going through all of that STRESS at the last minute! Here is the system that has worked very well for me! 

Setting Up a School Grocery Program!

(free forms included!)

If you teach special education at the secondary level, then you likely have Community Based Instruction (or CBIs). What I love about CBIs is that students experience REAL LIFE learning! For my middle school special education class, my favorite CBI was going to the grocery store, but I always felt it needed more.

I came up with a SHOPPING PROGRAM for our school. We would shop for members of our staff. It was amazing! Our administration loved it and so did the teachers! Nobody wants to go to the grocery store after working all day. And if you are like me, you finally decide what to make for dinner and then realize you are missing ONE item!