Direct Instruction Hacks For Special Education Classrooms

Direct instruction is a crucial component of special education programs. Our students require direct instruction in order to learn, master and generalize skills. Here are some tips to help make your direct instruction time easier.

Direct instruction is a crucial component of special education programs. Our students require direct instruction in order to learn, master and generalize skills. Here are some tips to help make your direct instruction time easier.


In my classroom. we set aside an hour a day to do direct instruction centers. During this time, we take data on IEP goals and core skills. Here area some of ideas that make our time go smoothly.

Data Storage System

It is important to have a system for storing your data sheets that is accessible and meet short and long term needs. On a day to day basis we use folders and binders to take data during direct instruction. For me, I use a binder that is divided into sections. There is a section for each student. 

Direct instruction is a crucial component of special education programs. Our students require direct instruction in order to learn, master and generalize skills. Here are some tips to help make your direct instruction time easier.

The first page of the binder is my cheat sheet for how often I pull the students to work one on one with me during work centers. I also keep track of when I pull students at this time for testing, when I'm at meetings, students are out, etc. Here is a close up of one of our data sheets. You can download a free copy of the data sheet HERE.

Direct instruction is a crucial component of special education programs. Our students require direct instruction in order to learn, master and generalize skills. Here are some tips to help make your direct instruction time easier.


When students are working with me during direct instruction centers, they are at a center that is run by one of my teaching assistants. Since they are working with 2 to 3 students at a time and taking data on all of the students, they keep their data sheets in folders. Folders allow them to keep track of each student's data sheets easily. Each center's folders are a different color to make it easy to review data and return folders to centers quickly. 
Direct instruction is a crucial component of special education programs. Our students require direct instruction in order to learn, master and generalize skills. Here are some tips to help make your direct instruction time easier.



Transition Signal

Have a way to signal the end of the direct instruction center to limit distractions. If one center stops working and goes into reinforcement before another center, then they become a distraction to students who are still working. In my classroom, I use a bell to signal when all of our centers finish working. I keep it on the small table that I do direct instruction at. I also keep a pennies (for our behavior system), crayons, pencils, dry erase markers and glue sticks so I don't have to get up from instruction.

Direct instruction is a crucial component of special education programs. Our students require direct instruction in order to learn, master and generalize skills. Here are some tips to help make your direct instruction time easier.



Organized Materials

Have a system for keeping all of your needed direct instruction materials together. If you have to get up from the table, you will automatically lose students' attention. I keep my materials in a rolling cart. I like that I can wheel the cart around and be flexible in where I work with students. Here is a peek into a drawer. I try to have a variety of materials on hand so I can target generalization.

Direct instruction is a crucial component of special education programs. Our students require direct instruction in order to learn, master and generalize skills. Here are some tips to help make your direct instruction time easier.


In the other drawers, I keep writing paper, hands on tasks, language boosting tasks, visuals, etc.  Here are some examples of the tasks in my other drawers. Click on the pictures for a closer look at each task.










Direct instruction is a crucial component of special education programs. Our students require direct instruction in order to learn, master and generalize skills. Here are some tips to help make your direct instruction time easier.


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