You Set the Tone

There are an awful lot of ice breakers in the first week of school. Name games that are old hat to some students, they are brand new to many others.

So how do you support a student with ice breakers?

If you can, get them to join the circle. Step back. See what happens. If it’s a memory recall, ask if the student wants support, but realize that some cases the student might get support from peers without your help. Remember the point is to just have fun. There’s not a grade or a moment that is so important they can’t step away. And especially in the afternoon, perhaps that is something a student may need.

If they don’t want to join the group, have them watch. Take notes for yourself. Be away from your student so you can observe them in the class. Go ahead and join the class in the group, set the example that you’re participating too with peers. This will help you learn the class’ names and give students a chance to learn yours. Yes, you’d have preferred if your student joined but if you keep an eye out, you may just find they will eventually join without a lot of bargaining.

Why should the beginning of the year be about fun?

It’s about getting to know each other, finding boundaries and being willing to be flexible. Already information can be observed in a large group setting and in a small group setting. You can already see how often a student might need a break, you might be juggling to figure out when you can take your break or where to meet up to transfer materials for a student who needs materials for communication or behavior. Most of all, it’s about getting students to buy in that school is the place to come to because while there is work, it’s also fun. Too often adults forget the ‘fun’ of school, although adults would prefer the fun to be at least directed and examine the process of learning. But the fun doesn’t happen unless we start to find common ground. That’s why we need the fun.

You told us about a book…

We can tell you our book is back with the publisher after a careful edit and review. We will also tell you we’re very excited to talk about “On the Shoulders of Giants”.  It is forty-three one to two page biographies of scientists through the ages, specifically scientists who contributed to the field of science and changed the way people thought about the world around them through the lens of science. The reading and questions for the scientists focus on students with more severe disabilities giving them material equivalent to their peers to connect to the information that may be occurring in science class. For each scientist, there are two sets of questions, one set is multiple choice directed to the reading for a student to answer. The second set of questions is research based giving students a chance to further their understanding about the scientist who was read about. Scientists from all around the world were selected and contributed in different ways. The book is coming. We’re very excited to provide this book.

Black background, green bars at 1/2 and 7/8 of the way down from the top of the image. White boxes on the 1/2 green bar from left to right two closed containers with arrows showing difference between with more arrows, a segment of DNA in purple (backbone), red, yellow, blue and red-violet nucleotides, and books on a shelf with different colored spines, different number of spine supporters four books standing straight up, one book tipped, two books horizontal.
Cover for the upcoming book

The flip side of selling this book, when we were setting the book up, we were discussing pricing with the publisher. The surprise came to us because the price point for color printed books had recently changed…by a lot. For a 200 page book, it would have been nearly $50 retail if we kept the book in color printing. We went back through the entire book and reissued all the illustrations, nearly four hundred and fifty illustrations. The book is much more reasonably priced. And for the first time ever: we’re offering a library edition of our book. So we’re very excited. As of this morning, our book is nearly 99% ready according to our publisher. Actual release date will be soon and we’ll let you know when that occurs.

Speaking of things we sell…

We were sorry to hear that Teachers Notebook is closing their options for selling in September. This affected us as one of the venues we were selling individual products through. We recently went through the settings and removed our store from Teachers Notebook. If you bought an item from us through Teacher’s Notebook and want to update your product if we update it through our Teachers Pay Teacher’s Store, contact us and we’ll get you set up.

Do you have any comments about this week’s blog? Do you have a question for us? Would you like to be a guest blogger? Would you like to have an opportunity to pilot some materials at your campus? Find ParaEducate online herehereherehere, and on our website. Paraeducate is a company interested in providing materials, information, and strategies for people working in special education inclusion settings for grades K-12. ParaEducate, the blog, is published weekly during the academic school year on Thursdays, unless a holiday. ParaEducate shares their findings at conferences, through their books, and their academic adaptations

About paraeducate

ParaEducate is a company run to help reach out to paraeducators or paraprofessionals in public K-12 schools, giving advice, talking about publications that ParaEducate produces, and other useful information regarding working in public school settings.
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