The Co-Teach Model in LIFE Skills… How to make working with the paraeducators in your classroom really work!

Two staff members are working in a classroom- How does that co-teach model in LIFE Skills look in your room and how should it look?

The Co-Teach Model in LIFE Skills: What it’s Not

In LIFE Skills classrooms the number of staff members assigned varies greatly and largely depends on the severity and needs of the students. As the teacher of record, it is up to you to decide how to use the extra staff to make sure all your student’s needs are met.

The only problem… lots of times when I walk into a classroom one, two, or sometimes even three paras are sitting in the room listening to the teacher lecture just like one of the students. They are not involved with helping students access the materials. They are not involved with delivering instruction to students. Heck, sometimes they aren’t even aware of what the lesson will be before they get into class. We simply must do a better job of using these valuable resources.NoodleNook-OneTeaching-OneObserving

So, as a teacher, what should it look like? Well here are a few ways to look at it. Let’s start with what NOT to do. If you are still delivering large group instruction with your para(s) watching- STOP. If you are still delivering large group instruction with your paras floating around with no real purpose- STOP.
NoodleNook-OneTeaching-One Assisting

The Co-Teach Model in LIFE Skills: What It Could Be

If this is where you are starting from, try to at least break your groups into smaller ones and have you and your para(s) all teach the same lesson. Or try to group the student by level and deliver instruction that is tailored to their needs.


The Co-Teach Model In LIFE Skills: What It SHOULD Be

BUT… if you want to be a rock star, think about breaking your lessons into *Small Group, *Peer-Group, *Independent Tasks, *Remediation Group/Small Group (a group or individual instructional time where you can do something crazy like *gasp* take data or deliver 1:1 instruction). Maybe your classroom model will look like this:

NoodleNook-Super LIFE Skills Teaching

This is just one of many ways to set up a LIFE Skills room- but the most important thing is that all the adults are in charge of delivering some instruction, engagement is high, and students have a chance to talk, learn, and interact.


If you’d like to read more about the Co-Teach model and when it is most effective in settings outside of LIFE Skills, check out this review on the effectiveness of the co-teach model.

Infographic- Teacher-Para CoTeaching- NoodleNookNet


Keep the conversation going- how do you use your paras in the classroom? Post in the comments section below!

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