Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Assist, please!

OK, you guys are like the biggest, bestest staff lounge EVER.  So I know you'll have some tips and tricks for me on this one.  My team is in the process of hiring a new kindergarten assistant.  We love the sub we have right now and hope to make her a permanent part of our team.  Even though things have gone very smoothly over the past couple of days, I'm still a little uneasy about this transition in the middle of the year.  Have any of you ever hired a new assistant mid-year? 

I am also really interested to hear how all of you use your assistants.  In the past, I've just had mine kind of hang out in the room and help as needed.  But this year with half of my 28 kindergartners needing interventions, I know I can use her more wisely.  Please tell me what you do!  Does she pull small groups?  Does she lead some whole group instruction while you do small groups?  My 90 minute math block with kindergarten looks like this: 20 minutes of calendar, 40 minutes of whole group, and 30 minutes of stations.  Thoughts?  Ideas?  How do you use your assistant?

And instead of a penny for your's a freebie for your advice!  We're working on teen numbers right now in kindergarten and this will be part of our stations next week.  Enjoy!  I also have a fun Turkey Teens counting book in my TpT store.


Kristin said...

I have no advice because we do not get assistants. I'm JEALOUS!!!!
A Teeny Tiny Teacher

Journey of a Substitute Teacher (Ms. T) said...

Where I sub, they have assistants in the class. Depends on the teacher on what they do though. Most of the classes I'm in have the assistant do sight words work or small group reading or do extra practice stuff with the kiddos.
At another school I'm at, the assistant is part of the group rotation and teaches a group of kids every 15 minutes or so and teaches them material.
Just kind of depends on what you need done. Most teachers have theirs copy, cut, laminate, etc.

Journey of a Substitute Teacher

Jill said...

I was hired as a first grade assistant in January almost two years ago and the transition wasn't too bad. The class I was with was rough but we all adjusted to each other well enough.

I pulled the highest group for guided reading (since those students didn't need extensive interventions) and saw them every day. I also worked with a super low student who had transferred in mid-year and was months behind the rest of the class. I did a TON of one-on-one work with him and we got him caught up! Other than that, I circulated a lot or sat by students (especially in math) who needed reminders to stay focused or just needed a little extra help. I never did any whole-group teaching though, unless the main teacher was out for the day.

I hope that helps!

Marvelous Multiagers!

Carrie said...

I usually have my kinder aide pull my low kids for small group work. She works on a different skill each day (letter/sound stuff, numbers, fine motor, etc.). There are days when she comes in I just need another body in the room and she circulates and helps where needed.

Anonymous said...

We share an aide between 3 classrooms. She has a schedule and each of us have her at least 90 minutes a day (obviously, on certain days she is in one of the classrooms more than 90 minutes)...she helps me with Kid writing 3 days a week and on the other two days copies papers, rips pages out of books, or anything else I need her to do. I LOVE our aide..she loves our kiddos and has patience with certain ones that I don't. She is the best!!!

Anita said...

I only have an assistant this year because I have a high-needs student. Having a helper is NEW to me, and I had/have no idea what to do with her. {I may also be a little Type-A, and a bit of a micro-manager :) I have started to have her help at the student work stations, pack my students' mail in their mailbags, take down bulletin boards, and do some individual assessments.
Good luck!

Jess said...

Thanks for the turkey teens activity! I don't have an assistant so I can't help you. But don't worry about hiring someone in the middle of the year. I've had this happen ever year on my team and it always works out well after a month they catch on to everything! Good luck!

Kristin said...

We are lucky enough to have 3 aides, funded through Title, to support our 4 kindergarten classrooms. Each of the aides have unique strengths, so we share all of the aides so that we can use them to their fullest potential. One aide is amazing with small groups, and she actually teaches a small group math rotation. Another aide, who is less comfortable with "teaching" a group, shadows a struggling group through work stations and provides support as needed. Our third aide pulls kids throughout the day for various intervention groups and she also takes data! Yea! My best advice would be to find out what your aide is comfortable with and what the areas of strength are and play to those. That will be the most beneficial for all parties involved!

Ms. Wold said...

My TA works with my kiddos during small group time, she works on Handwriting, phonics skills etc while I pull and work with kiddos (this includes intervention time). She also reads with kiddos and switches out Baggie Books, does projects with them and preps.

✪ Miss W

Miss W Teaches

Dee said...

Love the turkey teens paper. It's just what some of my little first graders need right now. I wish I could help you with advice, but I only have a TA who is in the room specifically for one student.
First Impressions

Ms. Preppy said...

Thanks for all the ideas, guys! I knew I could count on you!

And I really feel for those of you without kindergarten assistants. I can't even imagine.


Mrs. Roberts said...

Hey Caitlin it's Diana. I have the BEST assistant in the world. She should have been a teacher. I lead most whole group lessons but she does some when I'm needed for one-on-one. I have 3 small group reading groups, phonics groups, and 2 math groups. My assistant and I rotate which groups we meet with each day. I print my plans for her and she keeps them at her desk. I go over the lessons with her each day before school starts and I can trust her to go with it. She is great at improvising. I sometimes let her choose which group she wants....because some are more difficult than others (like the strugglers). She reads a story after lunch every day which she or I choose. She also is in charge of afternoon dismissal while I am checking kids on sight words, etc. I don't have her do any assessments because I want to know my kids. She does do some math pre-tests for small groups though. Does all that make sense?????

Michele said...

I teach K/1 and LOVE LOVE LOVE my assistant. I am currently tying to figure out what to get her for Christmas to show just how much I appreciate her. She corrects all homework and reports any issues, takes attendance and lunch count, goes through all our BEE Binders for money and notes, makes snack calendars, takes the kids to all super subjects and co-plans with me!!! She runs a math center 2-3 times a week, teaches her own literacy group and runs a unit themed center twice a week (that she creates on her own) She is super ( and deserves to be paid so much more)!!

Anonymous said...

I just did a 6 week subbing assignment for a Pre-K assistant. The teacher had me doing anything I could help with, but the main routines were checking the folders, writing in their journals, making any copies needed, any classroom organization needed, assisting with the children in any way, assessments and taking over when she needed to be out for whatever reason. I always wanted to do more of the assessments and classroom instruction since I'm a certified teacher and it got frustrating doing busy work away from the kids. I was considered for the position as they found another person, but they knew I'd be seeking a teaching position when the year was up and want someone for at least 2 years.

Anonymous said...

I share an assistant with another teacher, so I get her in the afternoons. I have my literacy centers in the afternoon and she works with my students in small group on writing, handwriting, sentence structure, vocabulary, etc. She has been a parapro (that is what we call them) at our school for 19 years. It is not always easy to have a para. If you always remember that they are there for the kids rather than do things for you, it gives a nice perspective. On the other hand, I suppose they could just help with prep if that is all you are comfortable with.

luckeyfrog said...

If they're talented at teaching, use them for teaching. I know it's tempting to have a copying/laminating/cutting lackey, but it helps the kids so much more to have more time being taught!

In 2nd grade, I did a fluency passage timing at the beginning and end of each week (and some students got practice time every day). I did sight word practice and assessment for the low kiddos. I ran small intervention groups in reading and math.

One year, that worked great because the teacher would plan with me and had a basic schedule. I knew when it was a good time to pull kids out, and when it wasn't. The next year, my co-teacher wasn't used to having an assistant and didn't keep a consistent schedule from day to day, so I never knew when it was right to pull kids out, and she didn't really communicate it to me any other way.

Sometimes, it's helpful just to have another person in the room, too. I sat next to one struggling kiddo all the time just for an extra boost. Sometimes just a person circulating the room helped keep kids on task. Sometimes in writing, it helped to have someone else the kids could ask while you were conferencing. During centers, that person can act as a "living center" and work through an activity with the kids.

I didn't mind also doing some of the busywork (stuffing homework folders, delivering returned papers to the right places, grading, copying) as long as I also got to do some of the teaching and I felt like it was a TEAM of teachers. (But I was technically a certified assistant teacher, so maybe that's different for a para.) Still, I would start with a few responsibilities (whatever you don't have enough time for in the day) and add to it as you learn what the assistant is good at!

Jenny said...

I have a full time assistant. Having her allows me to do small group instruction for both Math and Language Arts. I am able to divide my class into 3 small groups of 7 or 8. During Language Arts groups I work with a group, my assistant works with a group, and the other group goes to centers. During Math, I work with a group, my assistant works with a group, and our EIP teacher works with another group (she only sees 2 groups and the 3rd group does an independent activity). This makes it easier to differentiate between my groups and allows me to work on the skills that they need reinforcement with. She also pulls students during whole group instruction to work on sight words and other skills that need further reinforcement. I couldn't do all that I do with out her!!!

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Anonymous said...

I have had quite a few kindergarten assistants and often don't get them until well into the school year. Most assistants I've worked with really like to feel and be valued and helpful. I usually have assistants manage small groups in which children are practicing skills which have already been introduced. Then I work with kids in centers where more actual teaching and guidance is needed. Good luck. It's wonderful to get help!