Sep 4, 2014

Getting on the Same Page with Your Classroom Team

Sometimes it is easier to set up your classroom and instruction for the kids then it is to collaborate with all of the adult members of the classroom team. Teachers and paraeductors all have to go through a phase of getting to know one another and getting to know each other’s style. Building relationships takes time. There are many ways that you can foster positive collaboration and clarity in your classroom with the adults.

The first way is to set up a responsibility chart. On this chart you would indicate what the role is of each member of the classroom team during the instructional parts of the day, during the planning parts of the day and in relation to gathering materials for lessons. For example, who will make the Boardmaker ™symbols, who will gather the lunches, who will check the back packs each morning, etc,  Other classrooms may want to decide who is going to actually run the art activity or who is going to pick up the students from the bus. There are a number of things that happen in the course of a day where it is a good idea to have one or two people clearly designated to take care of those areas. It's also great to have this written down because if it is not written down sometimes we might forget. 

A second way to help foster this collaborative communication would be with something called a zone schedule. In this schedule you would highlight the activities for the day first, and then highlight what each person will be doing in that activity. These are very specific to the activity and don’t tend to include the planning piece or the gathering of materials piece.

Another way to help everyone staying the same page would be to create a lunch time schedule and a break time schedule for each adult in the classroom. This way you are really clear that breaks did not occur during your key instructional times. And you're also clear when each person is going out and coming back. If it's written down and
posted in the classroom there's no room for misinterpretation.  

Organization Sheets for Self-Contained & Autism Classrooms (Bubble Design)

If you've been teaching for a while a lot of this might come easy to you.  However, if you are new to teaching or new to an autism classroom where the behavioral demands of the classroom are greater, it will be important to get these elements in place and underway so that your instruction can be as smooth as possible. What you don't want is to have to discuss these elements of who's doing what, what time are you going, what time are you coming back, when the students are there. We know, sometimes it only takes 30 seconds of your distraction for the students to be distracted and get off task. 

Talk with the team an tackle these components ahead of time.
            1. Start with a template.

            2. Talk to your team and ask about their instructional strengths and hobbies.

            3. Formulate a plan based on the best interest of your students.

1 comment :

  1. This has been one of my greatest difficulties being a teacher. I have a "contract" I go over with my aides every year (or when I get a new one) that states the classroom rules and expectations (who is supposed to be where, when and why). I also make them sign it stating that we read it. But, since our program has over 75 aides (20 teachers) it is extremely hard to get them to buy in sometimes when their buddies in another class don't have any rules. We do weekly meetings (even if it's 5 minutes) and I try to praise them often. I also make sure to thank them at the end of each day. I heps if I give them important duties like coming up with science experiments or craft projects in makes them feel more important and needed. We are only week three in, and I had two aides I had to go "find" just yesterday. It's really irritating sometimes but I couldn't do it without them.

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