How to allot time for paras in a self-contained special education classroom

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by imissjerryg, Sep 15, 2014.

  1. imissjerryg

    imissjerryg Rookie

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    Sep 15, 2014

    Hello.

    I am currently the teacher in a high school special education classroom for students with significant support needs. I have around three general groups of types of learners. One group is comprised of my lowest learners (those who cannot recognize many sight words, those who have trouble comprehending what they have read/what was read to them), one group is my mid-range learners (those who struggle with reading and math but respond to scaffolds and prompts most of the time) and the last group is my highest functioning learners (those who may have been misplaced because of behavior issues and learning disabilities; unsure of this at the moment). Anyway, I have 16 students and two paras. My paras support the kids in their electives and during lunch. However, in core classes, the ones I teach, how should I split up my paras? Should I have one modeling and placing needed scaffolds in one group while the other does this in the other group? I have a male and a female para. The male would be best with my male students who have behavior issues. I feel that he could really "mentor" them and help them to achieve their goals of on-task behavior. Should I work with the lowest students, making sure they have the appropriate functional life skills to apply to life outside of school? I feel like many of the kids can access the curriculum while my lowest group of kids are just not understanding the concepts in the content areas, even when the content is differentiated for them at a high interest, low level of instruction. Any advice would be much appreciated!
     
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  3. teachsph2008

    teachsph2008 Companion

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    Sep 15, 2014

    Can your female para handle the low-functioning kids?
    How is she with academics?
    If she is low in academics, I'd put her with the lower functioning group.
     
  4. imissjerryg

    imissjerryg Rookie

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    Sep 16, 2014

    I'd say she is probably better with the lower functioning kiddos. However, for some reason the district coordinator told me to work with the lowest kids, which didn't make much since to me. I figured I should be with our fastest learners myself.
     
  5. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Sep 16, 2014

    If the district coordinator told you to work with a specific group of students, that's what you should be doing.

    In our resource rooms, the educational assistants and Special Ed teachers aren't assigned to work only with specific students and groups, they work with a variety of groupings. This way, everyone in the room is comfortable working with everyone else and it helps to minimize some of the co-dependency that can occur when students always work with one specific staff member.
     
  6. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Sep 16, 2014

    I'd suggest doing things the way your coordinator has requested, but to document progress as it goes. If students are not showing adequate growth within a set number of weeks, bring this up with your coordinator and make suggestions to alter the arrangement.
     
  7. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

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    Sep 16, 2014

    Spend maybe 75% of your time on the lowest - functioning kids but with the remaining time, rotate with your paras. Please don't stick the behavior kids with the male para all the time. You don't want to burn him out and you want those boys to listen to females as well as men.
     
  8. imissjerryg

    imissjerryg Rookie

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    Sep 17, 2014

    Oh for sure. Setting up expectations in the beginning for my male students is followed through with my male para. I guess I should have provided some background. Last year, we had a male para in the room who had been there for six years. He was a coach as well and was a mentor to our male students without real father figures. They are devastated that he left and a few of them have had some behavior issues as of late because of it. The reason I have the male para working with them right now is so he can establish a mentor relationship with the boys so they don't feel as "lost" without our male para who left. I sort of have my paras working with two different groups of students as of right now and they rotate around so as to not be with one group too much. I rotate around to the entire class so I make sure to visit each table and help every student. Do you think this is a good strategy? My lower students are working on letters and letter sounds while my highest students can write 5 sentence paragraphs so it's quite the diverse group of learners.
     
  9. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Sep 17, 2014

    It sounds like you have developed a workable strategy. You are making sure that every child is helped by every teacher in the room. I hope your male teacher in the room is able to create the same rapport that the last one had with the boys.
     
  10. imissjerryg

    imissjerryg Rookie

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    Sep 18, 2014

    Thanks swansong. Me too!
     

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