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Preparing Students with Special Needs to Meet the Standards (K-3)

Are you finding it increasingly difficult to help your special education students find success with your state's standards? As most teachers know, learning can be difficult for those with special needs. So how exactly can a teacher make this “bridge,” thereby connecting their most vulnerable learners to the more challenging and complex concepts? This online course is designed for K-3 teachers who are attempting to do just this. Teachers will learn specific strategies for helping their special education students build strong foundational reading skills by using assessment to guide and differentiate their instruction. In addition, teachers will be given a variety of tools and strategies to help guide their struggling writers as they work to balance meaningful writing with explicit strategy instruction. Other topics include differentiating the mathematics block, providing tactile, kinesthetic, and auditory learning opportunities, student collaboration, cooperative group activities, and Universal Design for Learning. Rounding out the course is engaging special needs students in the art of conversation and using interventions and other teaching techniques to engage special needs students, including those who also happen to be English language learners. This course is worth 3 ⅓ semester units/5 quarter units from UC San Diego Extension. For detailed information on university credit, click here.

"I learned a lot about ways to differentiate for special needs students. I loved learning about resources I can use starting this year." - Sheri Baughman-Sheets


Enrollment Options

Register] Course Registration Only $120 with the discount

Register]Course Plus Credit from UC San Diego Extension Only $304


Required Resource Book: This course has a modestly-priced required resource book (available in both new and used versions) that can be purchased through Amazon using the following link. Note that you can begin and participate in your course before the book arrives.

"Universal Design for Learning in the Classroom" edited by Tracey E. Hall, Anne Meyer, and David H. Rose

If you are registering for multiple courses, use the following link to access the book list for all PDI courses with direct purchase links through Amazon. PDI Course Resource Book List


Topical Outline / Click here to request a copy of the detailed syllabus

PDI Course Number: 100T02

UCSD Course Number: EDUC40159

Unit One

  • Unpacking the Common Core State Standards
  • Navigating the Special Education Pathway
  • Understanding Special Education Terminology and Reading an IEP
  • Meeting the Needs of All Learners: Universal Design for Learning
  • Assignment #1: Write an autobiography
  • Test #1

Unit Two

  • Building Strong Foundational Skills
  • Using Assessment to Guide Reading Instruction
  • Meeting Students Where They Are: Teaching Reading to All Learners
  • Assignment #2: Article/Video reflection
  • Test #2

Unit Three

  • Balancing Meaningful Writing and Explicit Strategy Instruction
  • Supporting Struggling Writers: Tools and Strategies
  • Assignment #3: Share Your Expertise
  • Test #3

Unit Four

  • Multi-Sensory Mathematics Instruction
  • Differentiating the Classroom Mathematics Block
  • Assessment Strategies for Math
  • Test #4

Unit Five

  • The Building Blocks of Conversation: Speaking and Listening
  • Student Collaboration and Cooperative Group Work
  • Test #5

Unit Six

  • Response to Intervention
  • Teacher Collaboration and the Co-Taught Classroom
  • Maximizing the Effectiveness of Classroom Support Staff
  • English Language Learners with Special Education Needs
  • Assignment #4: Devise three differentiated lesson plans.
  • Assignment #5: Reading/Learning Log (Based on required resource book)