Gary Lesniak


About Me


Hi everyone, my name is Gary Lesniak, and it's great to be able to work with you all this semester! I am currently enrolled in the Curriculum Development & Instructional Technology program and I will be done by the end of this summer. I work at a school called Herkimer BOCES in central New York where I teach 5th and 6th grade students with autism. In my free time I love being with my friends, doing just about anything outside (hiking, walking, running), listening to music or drawing.

My Topic and Purpose

Students with disabilities are a part of many classrooms today. Whether it be in the general education setting or in a more specialized classroom such as a 12:1:1 or 6:1:1 classroom, it's important for students with disabilities to be held to high standards and to have their needs met. To help achieve this, all students with disabilities have an IEP, or Individualized Education Plan. It's a teacher's job to read through an IEP and understand what skills a student is entering the classroom with, what skills the student may still need to work on, and how to accommodate to meet the needs of this student. IEP's are updated yearly so that they stay up to date with the students current abilities and needs. In this way, teachers must know how to write an IEP for any of their students with disabilities. When I first started teaching, I had no idea how to write an IEP and essentially had to learn on my own. By this point, I've written about 3 dozen IEP's in my 3 years of teaching. The main purpose of my mini-course is how to write each section of the IEP (Presents Levels of Performance, Goals and Objectives, and Testing Accommodations/Modifications).

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Observe student performance/work samples and record data
  • Identify tasks that students have completed and tasks that students have yet to measure (for the PLEPS)
  • Analyze student performance and responses during work time
  • Identify accommodations and modifications that students need during work time
  • Write goals and objectives while recognizing each part of a goal

Needs Assessment

1. Instructional Problem All students are held to a high standard in a teacher's classroom, and this includes students with disabilities. It is important that a teacher knows exactly how to work with a student and their unique needs and behaviors in order to ensure that their academic experience is as successful as possible. To ensure such results, each students has an IEP, or Individualized Education Plan. Naturally, a teacher may find it easy to read through an existing IEP to see what a students goals are, what their testing accommodations are, and so on. But teachers need to write an updated IEP annually for each student in their class who has one. Many teachers who are new to special education students may be confused as to how to write an IEP. The need for an IEP to be written accurately and appropriately is great as this is the document that will be followed by all staff members working with that student. Likewise, this is the document that will help the student to succeed in the classroom.

2. The Nature of What is to be Learned Participants will learn how to write the various sections of an IEP, as required fore special education student's annual review meetings. Learners will begin by learning about the Present Levels of Performance and what to include in this section. Next, learners will discover how to write goals for their students. Finally, participants will learn how to identify accommodations and modifications for their students.

3. About the Learners Participants are current or future special education teachers who either are unsure of how to write an IEP and would like to learn necessary skills to do so or would like to improve their already existing skills.

4. Instructional Content This mini course will be broken into 3 lessons. Each lesson will begin with an overview section that describes the purpose of each lesson. Following this will be objectives for each lesson. Information will be presented to participants in a variety of ways such as through text, readings, videos, and activities. At the end of each lesson, participants will reflect on what they have learned and put their new knowledge to use through activities. By the end of lesson 3, each student will have completed the 3 sections of an IEP that they will have to complete as teachers for their student's annual review meetings.

Performance-Based Objectives

  • After identifying what is to be included in the present levels of performance, participants will identify at least 5 skills that a student has mastered in ELA and Math each.
  • Given a case study on a fictional student, participants will identify 2 skills that the student needs to continue to practice.
  • Given teacher-directed examples of IEP goals, participants will write 3 IEP goals (1 ELA, 1 Math, 1 behavioral)
  • After reading an article and viewing a video, participants will identify the difference between an accommodation and modification.

Task Analysis

Unit 1: Writing the Present Levels of Performance

Lesson 1: What Are the Present Levels of Educational Performance?

Lesson 2: The Difference Between Good and Bad PLEPs Statements

Lesson 3: Writing the Present Levels of Performance


Students read 2 articles

Students watch 1 video

Students post 2 discussion posts


Students write the first piece of their IEP, the present levels of performance

Unit 2: Creating Meaningful Goals

Lesson 1: What Are the Components of an IEP Goal?

Lesson 2: Practice Writing Goals Based on the Present Levels

Lesson 3: Writing Goals


Students will read 3 articles

Students will watch 1 video

Students will read 2 visuals/pictures

Students will write 1 discussion post

Students will write 2 goals


Students will write the second piece of their IEP, the goals (3).

Unit 3: Identifying Appropriate Accommodations/Modifications

Lesson 1: Differentiating Between Accommodations and Modifications

Lesson 2: Choosing Appropriate Accommodations and Modifications for Your IEP


Students will read 1 article

Students will watch 1 Video

Students will write 1 discussion post


Students will write the third and final piece of their IEP, the accommodations and modifications.

Curriculum Map

Curriculum Map

References and Resources