This blog originally appeared on Mrs. P’s Specialties.

We all recognize just how important paras are in the classroom, but what about during distance learning? Here are 15 ways to use your paraprofessionals to support the classroom program and students during school closures.

Many teachers are being asked to use their paras to support their classrooms even though they aren’t teaching in the classroom. I combined ideas from me and our Facebook community group to bring you 15 ways for paras to support your classroom.

  1. 1. Make videos of science experiments students can do at home using materials commonly found in the home. Easily build lesson plans around it…. students can sequence steps, follow directions, write/draw retells, etc.
  1. 2. Create personal voice memos or videos for students. This pandemic is hard and can feel lonely. Students love to see their faces and get a personal message!
  1. 3. Make videos of themselves reading a book aloud. Build this into an ELA lesson by giving parents a list of comprehension questions to ask after the video, have students write a retell or their favorite part of the book, etc.
  1. 4. Have paras attend videoconferencing sessions you do with students. It’s smart to have another adult in the session to protect yourself and keeps them connected to the students.
  1. 5. Create lists of ideas for parents to do at home with students who needs hands on activities instead of online lessons.
  1. 6. Videos of themselves doing an arts and craft activity using materials commonly found in the home.
  1. 7. Videos of themselves doing the Zones of Regulation or calming strategies students use in the classroom. This is a great visual support for students and learning opportunity for families.
  1. 8. Similarly, paras can make videos of brain break activities that you use in the classroom.
  1. 9. Photograph task box visuals. For example, we fold washcloths in one of our life skills task boxes. Paras can take pictures of the steps that we can use when we are back in the classroom since it is likely our students will need more support after the pandemic.
  1. 10. Videoconferencing with the class for a sing along. The staff member could also record it and send it to students and families.
  1. 11. Create directed drawing videos around student interests or theme units. For example, the solar system is a class favorite, so one of my paras made a video of her drawing the solar system with step by step directions tailored to my students.
  1. 12. Create videos or photo sequences of paras doing simple chores or life skills. For example, sorting laundry or folding towels.
  1. 13. Assign a topic or theme to a para and have him/her work on finding resources for the different levels of students in the classroom.
  1. 14. Make question of the day math videos that connect math skills to real world situations. For example, turning a word problem into a video.
  1. 15. Create comprehension or follow-up questions for a resource you are using in your lessons. For example, comprehension questions for a book online or daily questions that go with the CNN10 episodes.

I hope this list has helped you.

About Pam

Mrs Ps Specialties

Pam has been a special education teacher for over 20 years and has worked in a variety of settings (including self-contained, resource, K-2, and middle school). She believe it’s possible to engage students in meaningful activities that are tailored to their needs and levels without sacrificing your personal & family time. Connect and learn more with Mrs. P’s Specialties on Instagram, Facebook and her blog, Mrs. P’s Specialties.