Making the Most of Your Activity Matrix

I talked about the activity matrix I use in my classroom a while ago. An activity matrix really is a fabulous tool for working in a collaborative classroom where you may or may not have time to touch base with paraprofessionals and service providers regularly (I know I have like zero time to do any collaboration face to face in my classroom). If you are unfamiliar with an activity matrix, you should check out this awesome video I stumbled across.

The best way to make the most of your activity matrix is to collaborate with your team. Have a quick get together and brainstorm ideas that your students can be working on goals throughout their school day. How can you embed activities in activities throughout the school day? Are students working on handwriting? Take some chalk to recess and find ways to incorporate writing at recess. Are students working on number recognition? Number spaces for lining up and assign students to a number. When it is time to line up, students find the corresponding number.

Find ways to increase communication throughout the day. I love when I spoke with my SLP to complete a matrix and she shared so many ideas I had not thought about. You know that snack your student loves to eat everyday? Cut it up into a few pieces. Have students work on requesting by attribute! Working on greetings? Don't forget to greet the office staff in the morning and cafeteria staff at lunch time. We just increased our opportunities to practice these skills!

Check out this activity matrix that was put together for recess time by the staff I work with:

Collaborating with your team is the best way to make sure your students are practicing IEP goals in all areas throughout the day and using an activity matrix is one of my favorite ways to make sure students generalize these skills.
(names have been changed for confidentiality)

Our activity matrix has become a working document that live in our Google Drive. All staff members have access to the document and as we need to tweak or edit, we go in and do so. Then we have a new document we can use to help our students grow and increase their independence throughout the day. I tend to like to create my documents in PowerPoint because that's where I'm familiar, so I upload that and the printable PDF (so all staff can access it and easily print as needed) to our Google Drive.

Keeping your activity matrix as a working document makes it easy for all staff members to go in and make changes as students make progress towards IEP goals.

Check out the editable document on the top and how it's stored on our Google Drive. You could even create and store a matrix for each student and give them a separate Drive Folder.

Ok, so you've made this awesome document and you're sure your students are going to increase opportunities to practice goals, right? Well, how do you make sure that all staff is held accountable for this? I started with a matrix just for recess time many years ago to help my students grow socially. Unfortunately, recess was the only time of the day where I had a minute to go to the restroom and get ready for the remainder of our day, so needless to say, I wasn't able to implement the matrix at recess time, but I wanted to hold all staff accountable for students practicing these skills. This is when I decided to make a few copies of the matrix I had prepared and provide these to my paras at recess time.

Here's how I held them accountable. I armed them with the activity matrix for recess and a highlighter. The task was simple. Each para was assigned 2 students a day and were responsible for having them complete tasks on the activity matrix. How would I know what tasks were completed? They would simply highlight what they did with the students and jot down any important notes that popped up during the recess period. This worked like a charm and students were practicing so many skills across their recess period that I quickly drafted additional activity matrixes for other times of the day.

Keep your staff accountable for students practicing IEP goals throughout their day. Use an activity matrix and a highlighter and you're going to see a ton of growth in your Special Education classroom!

Ready to start using an activity matrix in your classroom? You can grab my FREE Editable Activity Matrix in my Teachers Pay Teacher Store.


  1. I love this idea! I currently have 14 students. It seems so difficult to do with this many students. Have you used it with a large number?

    1. I've never had that many students, but there are a couple different ways you can do this. I have done it for each group of students in the past, but you could definitely do one for each student individually. If you watch the video at the beginning of this post, it has a great example and I believe it has a few downloads. If you need some help formatting something let me know!


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