Overview

The instructional cycle is a process with five phases: planning, teaching, evaluating, reflecting, and planning again. Paraprofessionals can provide assistance at each phase. The table below shows each phase, what teachers do at that phase, and how paraprofessionals can help. Although the concepts presented in the table relate to academic instruction, the cycle applies to any type of instruction, for instance, instruction in vocational skills.

Phase of the Instructional Cycle

What Teachers Do

How Paraprofessionals Help

Planning
  • Combine knowledge about students’ needs with knowledge about significant academic outcomes as a way to determine what to teach and how to teach it.
  • Design one or more lessons leading to mastery of one or more significant academic outcomes.
  • Select or develop a set of universally accessible materials that will enable students to master one or more significant academic outcomes.
  • Select or develop one or more assessment tools (including rubrics or scoring guides) to measure the extent to which students have mastered the academic outcomes.
  • Share insights about students’ academic needs.
  • Search resource materials (e.g., books, internet sites) that provide ideas for helping students learn the academic content targeted in the lesson or series of lessons.
  • Assist in the development of universally accessible materials.
Teaching
  • Link new academic outcomes to students’ prior knowledge and skills.
  • Describe to students the outcomes they are being asked to master.
  • Present information or lead activities that present information (e.g., guided reading) or demonstrate new skills.
  • Provide opportunities for students to attempt new skills or attempt to make use of new information.
  • Observe students as they attempt new skills or to use new information.
  • Provide feedback to help students see where they are succeeding and where they are making errors in their efforts to attempt new skills or make use of new information.
  • Provide opportunities for students to practice new skills or the use of new information independently, once they achieve sufficient mastery to perform the skills or use the information correctly.
  • Provide repeated demonstrations of a new skill based on the model presented by the teacher.
  • Help students record new information or the steps in performing new skills (e.g., through note-taking.
  • Observe students while they are practicing using new knowledge or performing a new skill and provide feedback.
  • Using a protocol developed by the teacher, systematically observe students to determine their level of mastery.
  • Help students organize practice work completed in school, at home, or both.
Evaluating
  • Administer an evaluation tool.
  • Use the already developed rubric or scoring guide to evaluate the extent to which students have mastered new knowledge or skills.
  • Create a chart showing the levels of student mastery across members of the class.
  • Add information to student-by-student charts to show levels of mastery across academic outcomes.
  • Observe students while they complete the evaluation to answer their questions and monitor their behavior.
  • Assist with the scoring of students’ work.
  • Assist with the charting of students’ progress.
Reflecting
  • Use information about students’ performance to determine the extent to which instruction has been effective for each child.
  • Share insights with the teacher based on observations of students during instruction and assessment.
Planning again
  • Identify next steps (e.g., re-teaching knowledge or skills if students did not achieve mastery, moving on to the next lesson in a sequence if students did achieve mastery, providing extra support if students have achieved partial mastery.
  • Revisit original lesson plans and make necessary adaptations (e.g., creating a second lesson or set of lessons to teach the same content, creating a new lesson to teach incrementally more difficult content).
  • Search resource materials (e.g., books, internet sites) that provide ideas for helping students learn the academic content targeted in the lesson or series of lessons.
  • Assist in the development of universally accessible materials.