To begin thinking about concept maps, story maps, and other graphic organizers, consider what’s going on at Johnstown Middle School. With support from the district, the Building Leadership Team at the school made a decision. They decided to adopt Universal Design for Learning (UDL) as the school’s instructional framework. This meant big changes for teachers. In particular, they had to add new teaching materials. They needed visual representations, in addition to textbooks, lectures, and the usual worksheets. They were about to enter the world of concept maps, story maps, and other graphic organizers.
They would need help. So, the principal decided to use instructional teams (called Teacher-Based Teams at Johnstown Middle) as the way to provide that help. Members of each TBT would have a new project. They would find or develop various graphic organizers to accompany their lessons. The principal’s approach was to schedule more time for the teams to meet each month and to assign a parapro to work with each team.
Imagine that you are one of these parapros. What would you think your role might be? What training would you want for this new role? What kinds of instructional materials do you think the team would want you to find or create? Where might you look for relevant resources?