Published using Google Docs
Side by Side
Updated automatically every 5 minutes

Paraeducators: Side by Side

Distance Learning Options

By Terri Eichholz

External Support


Distance Learning Option

Web Link

1. Ensure the student has an appropriate working environment, along with necessary supplies.

Offer caregivers (through e-mail, phone calls, or other approved messaging services) recommendations for workstations for students at home.

Sample ideas for portable workstations.

2. Work with supervising teacher(s) to create an appropriate, effective, and efficient schedule for students.

Contact caregivers to verify that they understand the learning schedule, especially synchronous learning times, and that it works for their situation.

Sample at home schedule (can be modified and printed).  It should be noted that many experts are recommending that time spent online learning should be no more than 2 ½ hours - though this can vary by age.

3. Work with supervising teacher(s) to create a behavior management plan.  

Make videos of instructions and expectations that can be viewed by students (and parents) if they have forgotten. Provide caregivers with ideas for aiding students with staying on task.

Sample list of online learning expectations, Screencastify to record screen instructions. Use this document to offer concrete examples to parents. Sample list of online learning expectations, Behavior Support During Remote Learning

4. Create or curate video or audio recordings of lesson materials.

Use free recording apps to create digital files that can be shared with the student.  Many phones have these features included.

Other ways to record besides using phone camera and voice recording - Screencastify (for recording something shared on a computer screen), Loom, Three Ways to Make Short Audio Recordings by Richard Byrne, Sodaphonic, Record to Slides Chrome Extension

5. Give feedback on work that has been turned in.

If you are using a Learning Management System or Google Classroom, ask the supervising teacher to add you as a teacher so you can view student work-in-progress.

How to Give Text, Voice, and Video Feedback in Google Docs

6. Create word banks for assignments.

Make digital images of words using Google Slides that can be included in presentations or used as backgrounds on devices.

Virtual Word Wall (In addition to her instructions, you can also choose to save a slide as a .jpg, and then use it as a background.)

7. Create visual aids and graphic organizers.

Use online, interactive graphic organizers, which can be prepared ahead of time for students.  Take screen shots, save files to add to student materials, or print out.

Read, Write, Think Interactive Graphic Organizers

8. Create review materials.

Use digital student response tools, so you can work with review materials during tutoring, or students can use on their own.

Boomcards, Quizlet, Kahoot, PearDeck, Socrative, Nearpod, Quizziz

9. Create checklists for students to keep track of assignments or steps to success.

Create a digital checklist in Google Docs.

“Interactive Checklists in Google Docs” by Eric Curts

10. Provide assistive technology.

Communicate with caregivers to make sure necessary assistive technology equipment is available at home.  

Assistive Technology for Online Learning by Stanford University, 5 Assistive Technology Tools that are Making a Difference by Alvernia University

11. Adapt for lack of technology.

Prepare take-home kits for students who do not have access or ability to use technology.

Boardmaker to Go

12. Engage in professional development.

Access free, online professional development for specific student needs.

Iris, Afirm, TTAC, Tools and Resources from the Council for Exceptional Children, Autism Helper Mini-Training Series

In-Class Support


Distance Learning Option

Web Link

1. Meet with individuals or small groups with permission from supervising teacher.

For synchronous discussions in small groups, try virtual breakout rooms.

How to do Google Meet Breakouts, Zoom Breakout Rooms, Using Breakout Meeting in Microsoft Teams

2. Record teacher’s lesson for later use.  

If the supervising teacher is using a slide presentation, ask him/her to include closed captions as you record using a tool like Screencastify. (Only teacher lecture should be recorded with teacher’s permission - no student responses due to privacy.)

Closed Captions in Google Slides, Closed Captions in Powerpoint (Note: You must be in presentation mode for this option to work, so using Screencastify to record as you present can be helpful)

3. Adjust the reading level of materials.

For online materials, paraprofessional can help students to use tools that summarize in simpler language.

Smmry, Rewordify

4. Utilize visual aids and graphic organizers.

If you are not creating graphic organizers ahead of time for students, guide them through creating their own online.

Read, Write, Think Interactive Graphic Organizers, Slides Graphic Organizer templates, 25 free Google Drawing Graphic Organizer Templates and How to Make Your Own

5. Highlight text.

Students using Microsoft Edge Browser can use Immersive Reader to read out loud to them while highlighting words, and for other accommodations.

How to Use Immersive Reader

6. Use manipulatives.

Direct student on how to use online manipulatives.

Toy Theater, Didax (can also be embedded in learning platform)

7. Address and monitor behavior issues according to BIP’s.

During synchronous meetings, ensure student is self-managing, and have a plan for when the student needs to be re-directed, muted, or removed from class (can be put in waiting room if behavior is too distracting).

Sample list of online learning expectations, How to Address Behavior Plans During Remote Learning, Classroom Structure and Management in Your Online Classroom

Specialized Support


Distance Learning Option

Web Link

1. For identified students, work on life skills.

Contact caregivers to find out needed equipment and supplies. (See #10 under “External Support for assistive technology.)  Also give training to parents if necessary.  

Remote Learning for Life Skills Students, Part 1 from Region 13 Service Center in Texas, Remote Learning for Life Skills Students, Part 2 from Region 13 Service Center in Texas, Supporting Students with Autism Through Uncertain Times from Afirm

2. Work on sensory activities.

Help caregivers to utilize objects that can normally be found in homes to provide sensory activities. Also, recommend household chores that involve fine motor skills.

150 Sensory Learning Ideas

3. Prepare life skills lessons.

Work with students on life skills lessons using virtual resources.

Life Skills and Social Skills Lessons, Free SEL Activities, Social Narratives, Free Social Skills Downloads