Learning Modifications At A Distance

Renay is on Week 4 of 8 for modifying and staying on routine to reach out to students at a variety of levels and keep them going through distance learning until the academic year ends. Like many of you, Renay is also wearing multiple hats at the same time. We are lucky Renay has learned a little bit of balance, but she has gotten to the point when she realizes she cannot take on as much as she would like to do. And that is totally all right.

It is Teacher Appreciation Week

We want to say first it is Teacher Appreciation Week. In the past maybe the PTA made a lunch, or some cute poster for the teachers to share.

If you have time, write a short message in Google Campus to the teachers who you know have stepped up and taken on this greater challenge. It could even be an email thanking them. Sure flowers and coffee are nice, but right now, being kind, being truthful, being open with all our teachers reaching out and letting them know that they are being heard in this.

Reaching Out to Students Right Now

In a meeting, a consoler at a school politely reminded all staff that students are experiencing depression in large numbers. And the adults are too.

But some things to work on with students.

  • Praise the students more often. Renay has found the ritual of greeting as students log in more important than ever. Perhaps more important than greeting at the door in regular classrooms.
  • Connecting to each student, even when they do not log in is incredibly important. Email the student, ask them how they are doing.
  • Most paraeducators never hear this, but you need to praise four to five times prior to a correction. Build on the good that you have, not the good you expect and never give a return.
  • Give precise instructions.


One of the things that got Renay there this week was looking at some modifications. And there are a lot more modifications going on right now than previously. It is just not feasible to coach students through the same way we would have in school 1:1. So, the first thought is usually to grab whatever is free and available. Which is great and then you try and use those modifications and you run into issues.

Renay is currently trying to make sense of a modification found online. While the questions are mostly spot on for a student, she realized there were some details that seemed very wrong. On further investigation, she found that a modification had purposefully strange details. She surmised it might have been a process for copyright, but she suspects something else. Many modifications and written adaptations are being found from countries other than the United States, which is normally fine. However, things that specifically involve an interpretation that comes from the United States, say involving racial inequality in the United States, those are modifications that really need to be done and created by people in the United States. Bottom line: if you are taking a modification online from an unknown source, please check out the entire source for details. In the bigger picture normally details don’t really matter, but sometimes they do. If finding the free sources are making your life easier: we appreciate that fact and hope you use the time for something for you instead.

No, We Are Pretty Serious On The Self-Care

Distance Learning came about in this large scale because of a crisis. This is not something anyone signed up for. There are a lot of feelings with dates being pushed back and graduations not occurring and other markers of the end of the year. To help folks get through this time

Remember when the word day is done, the work day is done.

Take a walk. Find a video about yoga. Spend time with your family. Cuddle your dog or cat (if they will allow it).

Read a book. Watch some TV or a movie. Play video games.

None of these suggests include: fight with your offspring to do their online course work, keep working, or email everyone about the progress you made.

Take care of yourself, the rest will fall in place when it should. There is no shame in asking for help.

Thank you, everyone, for the work you have been doing to keep education running. Thank you to everyone who continues to follow your local government guidelines.

Do you have any comments about this week’s blog? Do you have a question for us? 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 providing materials, information, and strategies for people working in special education inclusion settings for grades K-12. ParaEducate, the blog, is published during the academic school year on Mondays, unless a holiday or announced day off. 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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