Showing posts with label RTI. Show all posts
Showing posts with label RTI. Show all posts

Why Small Group Instruction Can Not Be Ignored


The Situation

Student one transferred into Lincoln Park Elementary in October from Texas. She is in fifth grade and English is her second language. Her reading level is late third and comprehension is a challenge.

Student two has attended Lincoln Park Elementary since kindergarten. He has always struggled with reading. He struggles with spelling and writing. His reading lacks fluency, and decoding unfamiliar words is challenging.

Student three has also attended Lincoln Park Elementary since kindergarten. She is on grade level, has passed state assessments with a score slightly above the cut score. She struggles with attention at times and is being treated for ADHD. She's very inquisitive, and with some modifications in class, she's kept on task. Comprehension can be impacted when the environment is distracting.

The final student joined Lincoln Park Elementary in second grade. He was identified for the talented and gifted program in third grade. He is an avid reader with a rich vocabulary. He's a quiet child, never complains, and keeps busy with independent reading when other work is complete.

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How to Make Your Kinders and Firsties Reading Rockstars with RTI


Do the very letters R-T-I have you freaking out?  Do your palms feel sweaty and is your heart racing? Well, you are probably not alone if this is the case, but I am hoping that your life in kindergarten and first grade will become just a little easier after I lay out a few RTI ideas for you. 

RTI can be a little overwhelming to navigate, but this post explains how to make it work for you and your students without losing your mind.

For our beginning readers (who are likely emergent at this point), there are several core skills to master, and here they are...
Letter Name Recognition 
(Upper and Lowercase)
Letter Sounds
Rhyme
Concept of Word
Sightword Recognition
and 
Word Building with Short Vowels
You may be thinking, "Yeah, that's great, but what do we do to make sure they know these?" Well, we start with identifying what they know, what's in progress, and what's unknown. You may be required to use an assessment from your division or maybe you've created one of your own. If not, the assessment set below would work well for your beginners. Parts of it may not be useful at this time of the year, but you may be able to use pieces of it as a probe for your students as they learn the skills or as part of your progress monitoring. This assessments includes all but the sightword recognition part, but I am going to direct you to a great website that has all you need for sightwords. The School Bell has been around a long time (at least 10 years I think).  [Here] is the link to the [Dolch Kit] which presents the Dolch words from highest frequency of use to lowest, activities and games for the word lists, assessment materials, and more.  


Once you've screened your students, you'll want to rank the results and identify who is lagging with each of the skills and target them. By ranking, you'll be able to form your groups. You'll want to focus the greatest amount of your time on your bottom quartile kids. If you have assistants who work with you regularly or parent volunteers who are able to tutor, charge them with the task of addressing these specific needs with your struggling student(s).  If you set it up in a gamelike format, your little people will enjoy this special attention which will also help you move them along the reading continuum. Of course, you too will want to focus on these skills in your guided reading time too.

Lesson Time
With your targeted students, you'll want to spend about twenty minutes (in 5 minute increments) to address letter names and sounds, rhyming, Concept of Word, sightwords, and writing during their guided reading time daily (tier1). With quick moving lessons, you will be surprised how much you can get done in these short snippets of time.  Activities you use could included the following:
  • Letter Names/Sounds-Magnetic letters, Name puzzles, Matching letter and picture with beginning sound, sorting fonts, matching upper and lowercase letters, I Spy   
  • Rhyme-Sorting pictures, Matching pictures that rhyme, poems, I Have. Who has?, Rhyme bingo, and word family work.
  • Concept of Word (COW)-nursery rhymes and simple four line poems, cutting apart sentences and putting them back together, highlighting the space between words, placing touch points below words. and lots of modeling.
  • Writing-draw and label, copying tasks, name writing, and framed sentences
  • Sightwords-use the COW time to focus on sightwords in context.  
If you are in need of go-to materials, I have developed three sections of a growing RTI kit.  So far, I've completed the Letter Names and Sounds Section, Rhyme Time, and the Concept of Word Bundle. Here's a preview of each:
 
The letter/sound kit includes 70 pages of lesson directions and activities, and the rhyming kit includes 58 pages.  All of the activities are set up to be fun and interactive for tutoring sessions or small group.

Includes 40+ poems that will last all year long
Scheduling
RTI is a team approach including the regular classroom teacher, paraprofessionals, reading specialists and special educators. The classroom teacher is responsible for tier 1 instruction (your core instruction).  This includes both whole and small group lessons within the classroom.  Tier 2 instruction is typically provided by an interventionist in a "push-in" or "pull-out" format, and for those still not progressing, tier 3 instruction is offered in a very small group of 1-3 students per teacher. Tier 3 instruction is best when it's provided by a certified teacher or specialist, but if this is not available, the classroom teacher may be asked to provide tutoring time. Schedules are best determined by the individual schools where the "big picture" includes available personnel, the daily routine, and numbers of students needing assistance.  [This powerpoint] is very well done and explains the scheduling process well. It is so important that there is team planning. Those not needing tier 2 or tier 3 instruction should be involved in enrichment activities during the enrichment/remediation block.
Progress Monitoring
Once you've got your routine established, the final step is to make sure you monitor your students' progress.  With tier 2 students, you will need to assess with an assessment every other week and with tier 3 students, you'll assess weekly. Once mastery is demonstrated, regroup or move to the next lagging skill. 
For more information...
There are many great blog posts on this topic out, so if you're looking for information for older readers or more on beginners, you might check out the following blogs and posts.  These ladies are much more knowledgeable on this topic than I.   

Button  Button  

As I mentioned, I am still learning too.  I hope that this helps give you a few ideas to work with to help your beginning readers.  

If you have a successful RTI program in place, it would be wonderful to hear more from you.  Please take a moment and share your experiences.



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Literacy Framework to Support RtI

This year we were Formally introduced to the RtI process.  We learned about interventions versus strategies and the RtI process versus the IAT process.  But we quickly discovered that we did not have the right structures in place to make the RtI process or interventions successful; leaving us feeling frustrated and that we were doing things all wrong.

I've been contemplating how to write up this blog post for a few weeks now.  Going through change can be hard but it is also the nature of our profession.  We learn. We grow.  We change.   Many times it can be hard to be brutally honest with ourselves and others.  But I wanted to share with you (honestly) the struggles that my school has gone through this year because your school may be feeling something similar.

My little school is comprised of four Kindergarten, three first grade, and three second grade classes.  They are departmentalized and the Title I teachers push into the classrooms.  Everyone meets vertically twice a week to discuss successes, struggles, and ways that we can help each other out.  All the teachers are working hard to do the best for their students.

After some data analysis and conversations, we discovered that the first thing we actually needed to do was examine our Core instruction to determine our strengths and gaps.  We could not really build the structures for a successful RtI process in our school until we had solid, strong, and consistent Core instruction, as a building.  We started immediately.

The first step we took: Analyze the Instruction


I wrote down every literacy standard and broke up the chart paper into K, 1st, 2nd.  The teachers then wrote down the strategies, materials, and time spent to teach that standard.  This was completed over a matter of a about two weeks during our vertical meetings or planning bells.

The next step:  Find gaps


The intervention specialist, me (a Title I teacher), SLP, and an RtI specialist from our county started to meet weekly to analyze our Core instruction.  We were looking for gaps in our instruction, strengths as a building, and the research to support it all.  Specifically we examined how much time was being spent on some standards versus others and the research to support the strategies being used.

This took quite a bit of time. Some heated discussions were had, but a lot of learning took place surrounding  best practices and the research to support them.

So now what?
We decided that one way we could support each other, our students, and our Core instruction was to create a literacy framework.  After looking at many different samples, we decided our framework would include:

* an outline of the components of literacy that should be found in each classroom (here is one example):


 * Guidelines of best practices for the literacy components (here is one sample):


* Description of what students and teachers are doing (another sample):


* Pages of resources for each component of the ELA block:
* Glossary of terms
* Definition of teacher roles
* Common vocabulary to use as a building


* Common materials needed.  We included the sight word lists that we would use as a building and some common vocabulary assessments that could be used.


After a couples months of work, we finally had a completed product.

What we discovered:
* As a building, we had a great foundation to start this framework.
* Many best practices were already in place.
* Teachers had a strong knowledge base about research based strategies.

We also realized:
* We needed to "tighten" our times spent on different literacy components in order to "free" up time for Tier II interventions. 
* We were not hitting vocabulary to the degree that we would have liked; therefore, we came up with a plan and a weekly assessment to integrate more vocabulary instruction.
* Common usage of terms would be beneficial to our students.

Analyzing the Core instruction at your school is similar to any assessment that is given to our students.  There are strengths and weaknesses.  As I reflected with the RtI specialist, she expressed that each time she goes through this process with a school different results are produced.  Each school comes to the table with a different set of needs.  The framework that works for one school may not work for another.  But  the conversations between staff members, the honesty, the tears, the letting go, the holding on, the learning, the growing, and the changing all help to create one strong framework and school.

With the literacy framework complete, we can now focus on our next chapter, "Tier II interventions."





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Trying Something New with RTI Tier 1 Groups

Hi everyone! It's Bex here from Reading and Writing Redhead. I thought it would be a good time, since it is about 6 weeks from the end of the year (for me), to let you know that I have been trying something new with my RTI tier 1 groups.



For the last few years, I have felt that spelling has been a weakness for many of my students.  Despite the amazing help the reading specialists offer with the Tier 2 and Tier 3 students, and attempting to obtain support for the students from the Student Success Team, students' spelling skills seem to only see a  minimal improvement. As the classroom teacher, I am ultimately responsible for the progress for all students, who meet with meet during Language Arts Tier 1 groups.

 Our spelling program is the one that comes with the McMillan McGraw Hill Treasures program, circa about 2006 or so. All of the classroom teachers use the on level spelling lists included in the program and then to differentiate, we have created more challenging lists and lists with fewer spelling variations.

My school doesn't use Wilson or Fundations but I have been to introductory Wilson Training and to Fundations level 1 and 2 training.  I decide to incorporate a modified version of Fundations level 2 with my RTI tier 1 groups this year and track spelling progress.

The Fundations program is from the Wilson Language Institute. You can learn more about it from my blog post here.  I meet with small groups for 20-30 minutes a day up to four times a week. At the beginning of the year all groups learned the Fundations drill sounds, used the magnetic letter board to work on sounds and spelling, learned syllable types, worked on decoding in a journal, and practiced grammar too.  Around December I added in connected text reading once or twice a week. The students also rotated through learning centers every day that addressed comprehension skills, vocabulary , fluency, phonics, grammar and writing. If I felt a certain group of students needed some extra help with a topic or concept, I also addressed it in small groups in lieu of Fundations from time to time. So I would call my Fundations work with my RTI Tier 1 groups a very loose adaptation of the program, but the best I could do with the number of reading groups I had to meet with on a regular basis (4), in the time I had (about 100 minutes, including mini lessons, center directions, wrap ups, etc.) and being the only teacher in the room.



At the beginning of the year I gave my students the Primary Spelling Inventory. I looked at the possible points for all the different phonics sounds in the inventory and came up with a goal for the % encoded correctly that I wanted most students to reach. My goal was to have 80% of my students score 80% or more by the end of the year. In September 44% scored above 80%. So I hoped to double that by June, keeping in mind the spelling inventory was only one  measure of success and I hoped to see improvement especially in my student's spelling in their writing. Around February 1st, I gave the spelling inventory again to assess progress so far and I was thrilled. Already 94% of my students had a score above 80%- well above my end of the year goal and only at the beginning of February. At that time 72% of the class was also scoring 90% or higher. Nice! Now, we still have 6 weeks left of the school year, so I haven't given the inventory for the final time yet but I am confident the students will do amazing. Additionally, looking at some writing samples I saved from the fall, and the first part of their writing journals, students definitely have come a long way in their spelling.

I definitely plan to continue using Fundations with my Tier 1 group next year. I know this year was a small sample of students, and every class is different, but I hope to see similar improvements in my students' decoding skills again at the end of next year.

What have you tried that is new this year? How did you feel it has gone? How about next year- plan to try something new? Comment below and let us know!




 




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RTI Documentation



Hello everyone!  It's Jennie from JD's Rockin' Readers!
I'm sharing a post with you today that I had on my blog awhile back.  It's had a lot of views and I know people are always interested in how they can better document interventions.  So, I am going to share with you a form that I created to help me keep track!

I created an RTI progress monitoring freebie and have had people ask exactly how I use it.  I have been documenting and thought I would share a student that I previously wrote a post about.  This student has been struggling with sight words in her reading.  She gets many of them confused and they are definitely not automatic in her reading.  This student is a good artist and loves to draw so I wanted to use her strengths to help her get excited about learning these words that are difficult for her.  You can check out the blog post {here} for more information.
The first page of the progress monitoring plan is basic information.  This page describes the students strengths/weaknesses, skills needed to succeed, and intervention skills that you will be specifically working on.  This page also allows you to document what the intervention will be, who is providing the intervention, how often, and what assessments you will use to monitor the progress.  Here is a sample of my student struggling with sight words. *Here is my disclaimer... I typed this for the purpose of this blog post.  I usually just hand write the documentation but I wanted you to be able to read it- my handwriting is not the best thanks to breaking my arm when I was younger:(
Here is the first page.
When I make copies, I copy page 1 and page 2 back to back.  Page 2 is where I record the Assessment Data and my progress monitoring notes.  For this intervention, I am using my sight word lists (I use Lucy Calkins list from The Teachers College of Reading and Writing).  You can check out my post here that tells why I choose to use her list over Dolch and Fry.  I also am looking at her Reading Benchmark Book running record to see if she is reading the sight words correctly in text.
Page 3 is where I do my daily documentation.  This example is over about a month.  Unfortunately, I didn't see B. L. as much as I had hoped.  She was sick for a few days and I was out with a sick child for a couple days as well.  And- I think we had a couple of snow days... For her intervention I made different flashcards.  Again, to learn more about the intervention and how I made the flashcards, you can go to this blog post.
I hope this helps give you some ideas of possible ways you can use this form to document.  Remember, this is only one example for one specific student.  This form can be used with just about any intervention you may need to do.
If you would like to download this sample, just click {here}.  
For a free blank copy you can click on the picture below.
Please let me know if you have additional questions:)







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What Really Matters for Struggling Readers - Richard Allington


For the opening speaker at my district's big back-to-school kickoff, I was lucky enough to hear Dr. Richard Allington speak. If that wasn't enough, I was able to meet with him in a small group for discussion after the presentation! It was a very exciting and rewarding experience for me. I am a big fan of his work and really enjoyed speaking with him.

Dr. Allington is the author of several books, including his What Really Matters series. Some of his titles include:


As an intervention teacher, I find his work with struggling readers particularly inspiring. His presentation provided some important food for thought. Some of his major beliefs about working with struggling readers include:

1. Match readers with the appropriate text level and include choice

  • This might seem obvious. We are constantly running guided reading groups with leveled text, but he also means matching students to appropriate science, social studies, and math texts. This means doing away with the one textbook for the entire class. The struggling readers need to be able to access the information from another source. Students will also be more motivated to read if they are able to select among different texts.

2. 1-to-1 tutoring is ideal, but if that is not possible, groups of 3 or less

  • The smaller the group, the better! This can be difficult with school budgets, but the smaller the group, the more intensive the intervention.

3. Gradual Release of Responsibility Model

  • All lessons should gradually release independence towards the students. Lessons should begin with modeling by the teacher, move towards guided practice, and finish with independent practice. Many times we rush through the guided practice, or do not give students enough practice working with the skill independently.

4. Coordinate intervention with core curriculum

  • This can be especially difficult in large schools. The best interventions align with the core curriculum in the classroom. Students will get very confused if they are learning several different ways to write summaries. Teachers need to collaborate and teach consistently across the board.

5. MORE reading

  • It seems like common sense, but the more you read, the better you get! Dr. Allington compares reading to any other sport. You have to practice to get better. Unfortunately, he says many interventions or RTI centers focus too heavily on worksheets and paperwork. Dr. Allington says 2/3 of every day should be spent reading. This means that 2/3 of the intervention block should be spent reading, NOT doing worksheets.

6. Expert teachers

  • Dr. Allington truly believes in the power of the teacher. He believes schools should be investing in quality professional development for their teachers instead of purchasing packaged programs. He also believes that the most expert teachers should be working with the struggling readers. During his presentation he discussed how he is against the use of paraprofessionals to instruct the most struggling readers. 

7. Metacognition  and Meaning Making

  • Students should be taught to think about their own thinking when they are reading. They should be aware of the strategies they are using and what to do when they are struggling. Students should constantly be reflecting on their reading and pausing to make meaning. Dr. Allington believes the core of comprehension instruction is the teaching of strategies. 
Dr. Allington believes the key to RTI is the strengthening of Tier 1 classroom instruction.

How is RTI run in your school? What strengths do you see in your program? What weaknesses?






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RTI Documentation- Tier 3


Does your brain just start to go crazy when you hear the words DOCUMENTATION??  I know mine does.  Documentation is becoming more necessary than ever before in education.  We have those kiddos that just don't seem to be catching on and we HAVE to find out what makes it "click" for them.  They will learn to read, but unfortunately it isn't an automatic skills for many children.

I think most schools have some sort of team of teachers that work together to find supportive ways to help the kids that are struggling.  Your team may be your RTI team.  Our team is called IBS and honestly I don't even remember what it stands for (Intervention Based Support??? maybe??? I really don't remember).  We always seem to refer to it as Irritable Bowel Syndrome… please don't take that wrong, it's just a good way for us to laugh.

Anyway, for those kids that have been moved to Tier 3 intervention and need to have very purposeful interventions, documentation is a must.  These interventions need to be documented.  I made some simple documentation pages that could be used for any subject.  Simply print off and document the lessons and interventions that you have done with the child.

Click on the picture to get the FREEBIE!





Last year, I had a student who was really struggling with sight words.  I was providing specific intervention with sight words.  She would get many of them confused and they are definitely not automatic in her reading.  This student is a good artist and loves to draw so I wanted to use her strengths to help her get excited about learning these words that were difficult for her.  

The first page of the progress monitoring plan is basic information.  This page describes the students strengths/weaknesses, skills needed to succeed, and intervention skills that you will be specifically working on.  This page also allows you to document what the intervention will be, who is providing the intervention, how often, and what assessments you will use to monitor the progress.  Here is a sample of my student struggling with sight words. 


When I make copies, I copy page 1 and page 2 back to back.  Page 2 is where I record the Assessment Data and my progress monitoring notes.  For this intervention, I used my sight word lists (I use Lucy Calkins list from The Teachers College of Reading and Writing).  You can check out my post here that tells why I choose to use her list over Dolch and Fry.  I also looked at her Reading Benchmark Book running record to see if she is reading the sight words correctly in text.


Page 3 is where I do my daily documentation.  This example is over about a month.  Unfortunately, I didn't see B. L. as much as I had hoped.  She was sick for a few days and I was out with a sick child for a couple days as well.  And- I think we had a couple of snow days... anyway this is what I have documented.  For her intervention I made different flashcards to help her put a visual picture with her sight words.   She would have the word and would draw a picture to go with the word to help her remember it.  Then, after practice, we would take the picture away.  

If you would like to download this sample, click {here}.

I hope this will help you keep organized with your documentation.  What things do you do to stay organized with your Tier 3 kids?



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