1. Independent Work
Of course, this is the obvious one. All of those amazing skills that your kiddos have mastered and move on from shouldn’t be forgotten. Now you use those skills for independent work. Independent work isn’t limited to task boxes (although I do love me some task boxes…). Check out this post to see all of the ways you can set up independent work. And if you are using task boxes don’t limit what can go in there. Put worksheets, file folders, adapted books, task cards, and more in those dollar tree plastic bins of glory.
Again – obvious but I think sometimes we get so annoyed at the concept of homework that we forget about the purpose of homework. And I feel ya. When you are assigned the lofty task of not only figuring out work to do all day with you students who range 7 grade levels when it comes to ability but also creating that work and now you have to develop activities to do at home too – I’m tired just writing that. Set up homework systems that are easy to manage. Send home the exact materials you were working on in guided reading, circle time, or direct instruction to do for homework. I love my homework pack for practicing basic skills. The purpose of homework is to provide extra practice, opportunities for generalization, and build independence! So it’s best to stick with previously mastered tasks.
3. In Inclusion Settings
Some of your students may go into the general education for different classes and activities but they may not be on grade level as far as their academics. Going into the general education may be challenging for some of our kids. It may be sensory overload, too much language, unexpected transitions, and a bombard of social demands that they are not used too. While our students are working on all of these tasks, it may be a good idea to keep the academic demands to a minimum.
4. Fluency Instruction
Fluency is the BEST spot to throw those previously mastered concepts! We typically teach skills to mastery related to number correct. Students get X number correct in X days and we consider the skill mastered. But what about speed? How long is it taking them to complete those correct responses? Speed makes it functional. So put those previously mastered skills into fluency instruction and you will have skills that are now mastered AND functional! Read more on fluency instruction here.
5. In Paraprofessional Run Stations
If you have a low teacher-student ratio, you may be running bigger groups than is effective or efficient. So maybe to make your direct instruction or small groups more manageable and individualized – you may decrease the size of the groups that you are seeing and increase the size of the groups that your paras are working with. So if you have a class of 12 kids with two paras – instead of everyone working 4 kids at one time, you work with 1 or 2 students at a time and the paras each have groups of 4 or 5. If that is the case, using previously mastered work tasks with those extra large groups is going to be the way to go. Students will get to practice previously mastered task and you will get to teach students new skills by having group sizes that are more appropriate!