Paraeducators: Side by Side
Distance Learning Options
By Terri Eichholz
Distance Learning Option
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
11. Adapt for lack of technology.
Prepare take-home kits for students who do not have access or ability to use technology.
12. Engage in professional development.
Access free, online professional development for specific student needs.
Distance Learning Option
1. Meet with individuals or small groups with permission from supervising teacher.
For synchronous discussions in small groups, try virtual breakout rooms.
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.)
3. Adjust the reading level of materials.
For online materials, paraprofessional can help students to use tools that summarize in simpler language.
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.
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.
6. Use manipulatives.
Direct student on how to use online manipulatives.
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).
Distance Learning Option
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.
3. Prepare life skills lessons.
Work with students on life skills lessons using virtual resources.