If you are fortunate enough to receive in-class support from a special education teacher, an ELL teacher, or an instructional assistant, and are wondering how to best use their time, here are three things to keep in mind:
- Our most at-risk students benefit from curricular coherence. Therefore we cannot have them work on different goals, strategies, and programs with each adult they work with. The conferring notebook allows goals to be documented so we can share with other adults and align instruction. The online conferring notebook takes it a step further and allows us to share in real time so that everyone working with a student can align student goals and instruction to maximize our effect.
- If you have a para-professional working in your classroom, consider having them support students who are not at-risk. We don’t want our most at-risk students working with the adults who have the least amount of training. When the para-professional meets with a student, consider giving them a Parent Pipeline that corresponds with that student’s goal/strategy so they are on the same page and have ideas for how to support that student. Word Work and Read to Someone are also great tasks where they can provide support.
- Make it a priority to work with support staff to check for common goals and consistency. Kelly Yahr, a first-grade teacher and colleague, meets with her push-in support person once a week during a round of Daily 5. She reviews what they will both work on with students and often has the support person join her in individual conferences with them.