How to use paraprofessionals?

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by teacher girl, Jul 24, 2013.

  1. teacher girl

    teacher girl Comrade

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    Jul 24, 2013

    I am a first year LD teacher.


    In my district, paraprofessionals are used for instructional activities (not just making copies, making bulletin boards etc.) or my principal stressed this.

    What types of things should I assign my paraprofessional? ( I teach grades K-2)


    word/picture sorts, guided reading, etc. any suggestions?
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jul 24, 2013

    Teacher girl....imagine for a moment that you were asked this question on an interview...how would you utilize a para....how would you answer this? Don't let your nerves get to you...you know what to do...you were hired by your school. They believe in you. You should too.:thumb:

    That said... Paras can:

    Work one on one
    Play a learning game with students while you work with others
    Flash cards
    Listen to reading
    Practice math facts
    Assist according to student IEPs
    Help refocus students
     
  4. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Jul 24, 2013

    You can have them do a lot of the same things you do. Sometimes you may have so many students in a particular group that you need to divide them into two smaller groups. Then, you take one group and your para takes the other. You can also have paras push-in to the regular classroom to assist students in meeting the expectations in that environment. Sometimes I have paras work with a group of students while I do progress monitoring, or vice versa. Other times, I have paras do observations to collect data on behavioral goals.

    Whatever you choose to have your para do be sure to treat him/her with dignity and respect. Although you may be the one with the authority, your students should not know which one of you is the teacher and which one is the para. You should both be the teachers in their eyes.
     
  5. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Jul 24, 2013

    I agree completely. This is essential!
     
  6. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Jul 24, 2013

    I have a para this year too and this will be my first time having one as a sped teacher. I'm envisioning her mostly helping out in the regular classrooms for push-in services since that's something I feel like you don't need a regular teacher to do. I'm hoping to be able to run the small groups myself, but it will depend on the caseload and my schedule. Since I am k-5 I don't think my groups will be that large since there won't be that many kids on the same level to put in a group together. If I had to I would split the kids up with her. I'll also have to figure out what the school has done in the past and what the expectations are- I know in my interview they told me it was pretty much a pull-out program so they may not want her pushing in either.
     
  7. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Jul 24, 2013

    My aide does centers and individual conferences/interventions. Sometimes if we do something whole group she just kind of floats and keeps everyone on task. She's also super sneaky about cleaning up and organizing materials. I will turn away from a lab and BOOM...she's already cleaned it all. :hugs: She is the greatest. I always try to thank her every day.
     
  8. Preschool0929

    Preschool0929 Cohort

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    Jul 24, 2013

    When I came to my school, the para in my classroom had been there for a while (12 years) and already had an idea of her responsibilities and what she needed to do. For my para, a big part of us figuring out how to work with each other was me finally asking her what she was comfortable doing, rather than just assigning her all these tasks. We sat down a couple weeks into school and talked about what each one of us was going to be responsible for and what I would like the most help with. My para does a lot of small groups, helps with monitoring data, provides 1:1, and helps with behavior and taking a child out of the classroom that might need a break. If we have open house or meet with parents, I don't introduce her as a para, I just say "This is Ms. so-and-so, she is another teacher in our classroom".
     
  9. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    Jul 24, 2013

    I have my para pull small groups to work on specific skills. I usually have a list of about 5 skills to work on with the names of the students underneath them. I have activities ready to go, but she usually comes up with her own or asks what I have.
     
  10. Zelda~*

    Zelda~* Devotee

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    Jul 24, 2013

    I have two paras.

    They help by reading with the students, working one-on-one if someone is struggling while I'm doing whole group, they help when I'm doing centers, they help in Out Classes---they are awesome ladies. :D
     
  11. ZoomZoomZOOM

    ZoomZoomZOOM Devotee

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    Jul 25, 2013

    One thing that I've found is that you have to play in to their strengths AND try to give them something they LOVE to do at least once a week. My para loves to do "craft time." So we sneak that in once a week. She's really good at working in a craft for whatever we happen to be working on that week (hello Common Core!). So the kiddos are still learning AND our room looks AWESOME!

    Last year I tried to give her world wall groups. Epic fail. She just wasn't able to keep accurate records or even keep track of what the new set of words were on the lists I gave her. So I'll be taking that back. Another strength of hers is reading with the kiddos and playing math games with them.

    One thing I'll be stressing to her at the beginning of the year, however, is not to "camp out" at her table. I need her to be up and about as much as possible when I'm doing small group instruction. Should go over like a ton of bricks... ha ha
     
  12. eternalsaudade

    eternalsaudade Companion

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    Jul 25, 2013

    This past year was my first working as a para in elementary and I ended up doing a good number of things. I actually found that I rarely had time to do things like copies and such, these were mostly reserved for when most are all of the kids were out of the classroom. I spent most of my time working one-on-one with my students and rotating around the room to make sure everyone was on task. My students were all at different places in there curriculum, so they often weren't able to work together and sometimes just needed someone to help them work through what they were learning. I also took over the class when the teacher had to deal with individual student behaviors (it was an ED classroom, so that was fairly common). Anyway, paras can be used for a pretty wide variety of things so use yours wherever you feel like you need assistance. If you are working with one small group or one individual child, you can have them rotate among the others to keep them on task and offer assistance so that you won't be interrupted. You might even have them work with their own small groups if they have the skills to do so. Good luck! :)
     

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