Designing lesson plans: evidence-based strategies


  • Lesson Plan (3 points): Using the lesson plan from Weeks One and Two Assignments as a model format, develop a lesson plan that incorporates evidence-based strategies for teaching Bianca self-determination skills with goals aligned to her current performance level and identified areas of need.
  • Rational (3 points): Write a one page rationale for the lesson plan explaining why you chose the specific strategies for Bianca in this lesson plan over other possible choices.

Written Expectations:

  • Syntax and Mechanics (1 point): Exhibit meticulous use of grammar, spelling, and organization, throughout your submission.
  • Organization (.5 points): Use the lesson plan template provided.
  • Source Requirement (1 point): Reference at least five scholarly sources, which may include your course textbook in order to provide credible evidence to support your ideas.
    • The Scholarly, Peer Reviewed, and Other Credible Sources downloadtable offers additional guidance on appropriate source types. If you have questions about whether a specific source is appropriate for this assignment, please contact your instructor. Your instructor has the final say about the appropriateness of a specific source for a particular assignment.
  • Additional Page Requirement (.5 points): Your submission must include a separate title and reference page.
  • APA format (1 point): All in text citations, page format and references must be written in APA 6th edition format.



Cohen, L. & Spenciner, L. (2009) Teaching students with mild and moderate disabilities: Research-based practices (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Publication.


American Psychological Association. (2002). Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct. American Psychologist, 57(12), 1060-1073. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.57.12.1060

Bremer, C. D., Kachgal, M., & Schoeller, K. (2003). Self-determination: Supporting successful transition (Links to an external site.). Research to Practice Brief: Improving Secondary Education and Transition Services Through Research, 2(1). Retrieved from

Instructor guidance:


Self-Determination Defined

Self-determination skills are those abilities related to goal setting, problem solving, and decision making which are designed to increase a student’s level of independence and improve their overall quality of life. Essentially, self-determination skills are a combination of abilities focused on improving knowledge, and beliefs that enable a person to engage in goal-directed, self-regulated, independent behavior.

In the previous course, ESE634, you engaged in activities that were related to the transition process, which easily incorporates these types of goals into the students’ instruction.  Self-determination skills are important for all people, however, even more so, for those with disabilities.

This 3-minute video is the result of a group of students who came together in 2008 at the “Self-Determination Youth Summit in Roanoke, Virginia (Self-Determination Youth Credo, n.d.).  You may find this to provide a strong context for the importance of teaching these skills.

Having an understanding of one’s strengths and limitations together with a belief in oneself as capable and effective are essential to developing self-determination.  Much of this type of learning is grounded in self-efficacy because it relies upon one’s ability to control their own level of motivation and behavior. For students with disabilities, these abilities are not inherently obtained through their environment.  Often, they must be explicitly taught and practiced.  Providing structured opportunities for students to learn about self-determination skills allows them to receive guidance and feedback so they are better equipped to generalize them in other environments and increase their level of independence.

Self-Determination Skill



Examining one’s possible responses to a situation and revising one’s response as necessary


Having the knowledge and skills to speak on ones’ own behalf


Knowing one’s strength and limitations


Believing in one’s ability to engage in a specific behavior or task


Involves the indication of a preference from a group of two or more options


Selecting which of a set of potential solutions is best


Identifying and defining a problem then generating potential solutions to the problem

Goal setting

Identifying a goals, developing an action plan, and evaluating one’s progress toward achieving the goal

Figure 6:  Self-determination skills and their definitions. (Bates, n.d.).

When acting on the basis of these skills and attitudes, individuals have greater ability to take control of their lives and assume the role of successful adults in our society.  This is one goal that we want to infuse into the student’s individualized education program (IEP) goals so that we can support their development in these crucial areas. The educational and goal-setting arena in the public school setting is the perfect environment to teach these skills.

Types of Self-Determination Skills

“Involving students in making decisions about their futures is critical,” (Cohen & Spenciner, 2013, p. 480).  Involving students in their own education is important to their motivation and ensuring that the learning is relevant to their own preferences.  Not only will students provide valuable information about their desires for the future but also the students’ parents or guardians and other teachers that have knowledge and an interest in the student will be able to share this important information.  Again, this notion supports the value of collaboration and team approach to creating lesson plans, individualized goals, and instruction that is meaningful.

Here are some additional areas to consider in a useful visual tool:


Figure 7.  CAPE-abilities for self-protection from abuse.  This illustration provides a different set of self-determination skills for students with disabilities. Source:

Not only are there specific strategies but there are actual curricula that are designed to support the growth of self-determination skills and social skills.  Examples of these are “Skillstreaming the Elementary School Child,” “ACCEPTS Program”, and “Social Storytelling” (Polloway & Polloway, 2013).  According to the Publication of the National Center on Secondary Education and Transition (n.d.), “the capabilities needed to become self-determined are most effectively learned through real-world experience, which inherently involves taking risks, making mistakes, and reflecting on outcomes” para 4).  Learning these skills in a safe environment, such as the classroom, is highly beneficial (Terry, 2012).

Assessment Guidance

This section includes additional specific assistance for excelling in the discussions for Week Two beyond what is given with the instructions for the discussions. If you have questions about what is expected on any discussion for Week Two, contact your instructor using the Ask Your Instructor discussion before the due date.

Discussion 1: Making It Happen:  Strategies for Self Determination Skills

The Week Two assignment is another opportunity to demonstrate your ability with the course learning outcome: Incorporate self-determination skills using evidence-based strategies for students with disabilities.  You will review a short article that provides additional context and strategies for teaching self-determination skills to students with mild to moderate disabilities.  Based on the first letter of your last name you will be divided into groups to address various skills. Your initial post will be in the format of a Jing or other multimedia-based presentation to showcase the specific strategies with examples of to discuss in your initial post.  

The guided response required in Discussion One is for you to reply to at least two peers critiquing at least one justification and providing a scholarly source further supporting the justification.  Be sure to closely follow the directions.  Be sure to access the Ashford Library, as there are many additional sources beyond your textbook.

Assignment: Designing Lesson Plans:  Evidence-Based Strategies

This assignment assesses your ability to develop lesson plans that incorporate evidence-based strategies with goals that are aligned to the current performance levels of a particular student.  This assignment supports your mastery of the course-learning outcome:  Synthesize learning within the framework of a lesson plan portfolio.

Here again, you have the opportunity to create a lesson plan using from those written in Week One or Week Two as a model.  In this one, you will incorporate self-determination skills for Bianca Henderson with specific goals aligned to her present levels of performance (PLOP).  Additionally, you will write a one-page rationale for the lesson plan explaining why you selected the strategies for Bianca.  Why did you believe these skills to benefit her?  What areas is she lacking in that your plan will support?  

Be sure to follow the guidelines for both content and written expectations so that you are able to meet the distinguished levels on the grading rubric.

As stated before, APA format is required on this narrative section of your paper.  Be sure that you include the proper format for in-text citations to support your position.  Any literature that is referenced in the body of your text must be included in your list of references.  If you have questions about APA format, please contact the Ashford Writing Center as they have a host of available resources on this and many other valuable topics.


Bates, L. (n.d.). Self-determination: A toolkit for teachers (Links to an external site.). Retrieved from

Henley, M., Ramsey, R. S., & Algozzine, R. (2009). Characteristics of and strategies for teaching students with mild disabilities. Upper Saddle River, N.J: Pearson

Polloway, E. A., & Polloway, E. A. (2013). Strategies for teaching learners with special needs. Boston: Pearson.

Publication of the National Center on Secondary Education and Transition (Links to an external site.). (n.d.). Retrieved from

Self-Determination Youth Credo (Links to an external site.) . (n.d.). Retrieved from

Terry, J. (2012, September 11). Teaching self-detemrination to people with developmental disabilities (Links to an external site.). Retrieved from

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