How to Utilize Paraprofessionals during Distance Learning

A lot of teachers have been given the responsibility of assigning tasks to their professionals during distance learning. While I know this might seem like yet another responsibility, it can definitely work to your advantage! In the BSE Insiders FB group (psst: you can totally join us here), teachers have shared many suggestions on how to best use your paraprofessionals or teacher aides during distance learning and I thought I'd compile a list to help everyone who is wondering the same.


But, before I share a list of ideas, consider asking your paraprofessional if they have any ideas on what they can do to contribute to your virtual classroom during this time! They might already have ideas that you haven't thought of!

Training:

Now is a great time to have your teacher aides get some specific training that is hard to find time for during the typical school year. Some great sites with training videos are:

Create Videos:

  • Have your paraprofessionals record themselves reading books and share with students via your online classroom! 
  • Video task analysis of daily living skills
  • Videos of yoga, science, math lessons, etc
  • 1:1 or small group Zoom sessions (if this is allowed with your district)
  • Join in with your Zoom / Google hangout sessions to say hello and talk with students
  • Video your typical circle time activities / morning meetings

Prep Work:

Book Study:

(Many books are available via online library apps like Hoopla, check with your local library to see what e-books you and your team would be able to check out digitally for free)
  • Out of My Mind
  • Supporting Positive Behavior in Children and Teens with Down Syndrome: The Respond but Don't React Method
  • The Lucky Few
  • Uniquely Human
  • Rain Reign
  • Ghost Boy
(Note: Many of these books were suggested by members of the Breezy Special Ed insiders group and I haven't personally read them)

More great ideas:

  • Send postcards / letters to students
    • (idea: sign up for a free 30 day trial of WidgitOnline.com with the code WIDGIT30 to have them send symbol supported letters!)
  • Research lesson ideas and activities to go with IEP goals
  • Car parade to drive by students houses and wave hello
  • Phone calls to check in with students (again, if allowed with your district)

Set up Boom Cards or Online Resources:

  • Need to upload resources or add boom cards to your students accounts? Your tech savvy para could really come in handy here!

What other ideas do you have? 


I'd love to hear how you are using this time as a teacher planning activities for your paraprofessionals, or what you are doing as a paraprofessional to help your class remotely!

Autism Classroom Resources just had a podcast on this topic as well! You can listen here.

I know distance learning hasn't been easy. I know this isn't what you wanted. It's hard. But you've got this and I know you're doing your best to help your students. If you need support, join our Breezy Special Ed Insiders group on Facebook!

5 comments

  1. As a teacher aide I am hoping to make up some tarheel gameplays or readers based on topics we do at school and topics we know our students enjoy.

    We have older students and it can be hard to find age respectful materials that suit the students learning to use switches, but we often lack time to sit down and make resources.

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  2. This could not of come at a more perfect time!! Thank you for your ideas and suggestions!

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  3. Awesome resources and ideas!

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  4. Beautiful!! I love this ideas for me as Para keep me going for training and ideas what to do for special education students.. I think to board some ideas . Thank you

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