Introductory Challenge

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 just decided to adopt Universal Design for Learning (UDL) as the school’s instructional framework. This decision means that teachers will need to add to the teaching materials they currently use. To accompany the textbooks, lectures, and class discussions they already use, they will also need visual representations of various sorts.

The principal decided to support instructional teams—at Johnstown Middle School they’re called Teacher-Based Teams—in their work to find or develop various graphic organizers to accompany lessons. His approach was to schedule more time for the teams to meet each month and to assign a paraprofessional educator to work with each team.

Imagine that you are one of these paraprofessionals. What do you anticipate your role will be? What training do you hope to receive in preparation for this new role? What sorts of instructional materials do you think the team will want you to find or create? Where might you look for relevant resources?