Most schools are about to start week three. The first two weeks are a combination of setting a routine, setting boundaries and getting to know your students. But by now you may already have concerns for some students behavior and/or academics. This applies to both teachers and parents. RTI is a process that starts in the General Ed class with the teacher’s response to deficit areas. Even if the student has NOT been referred to the RTI committee yet, it is important to start keeping the right kind of data now, so that better interventions can be developed if they are referred.
Teachers- if you have a student who is already demonstrating behavioral or academic difficulties start monitoring them. You need to be keeping analytical and statistical data. Analytical being your personal notes, thoughts, phone calls, conferences ect… Statistical being test, daily work and interventions that you’ve started.
EX: You may have a student that you already see is going to have difficulties staying in their seat. So you employ strategies to help the student, such as setting up a defined seating area, allowing opportunities for approved movement and the use of fidget tools. As you use these strategies keep data on how effective, or ineffective, they are over a period of time; this way if you need to refer or get further assistance you have your data.
For behavior it will be important for you to keep up with the child’s ABCs. (Antecedent or trigger, what the concerning Behavior is, and the Consequence or response from others around after the behavior occurs.)
If you are already seeing academic difficulties start with Tier one interventions. REMEMBER AN INTERVENTION IS INSTRUCTION!!! These are things you will do in your classroom. You may want to make the RTI person aware of the problem, simply follow your schools protocol. But start intervening in your classroom now!
According to “Essentials of Evidence-Based Academic Interventions” by: Barbara Wendling and Nancy Mather, Tier One interventions start with evidence based instruction.
Evidence-based instruction has been defined as “the integration of professional wisdom with the best available empirical evidence in making decisions about how to deliver instructions”.
According to this source (Rapid Reference 1.1) here are Ten Effective Teaching Principals.
1. Active Engagement
2. Built in Success
3. Increased opportunity to learn
4. Direct Instruction
5. Scaffold instruction
6. Addressing other forms of knowledge (declarative knowledge, procedural knowledge, conditional knowledge)
7. Organizing and activating knowledge
8. Teaching strategically to create independent and self-regulated learners
9. Explicit Instruction
10. Teaching sameness
According to the same book here are the Nine Best Instructional Strategies
1. Identifying similarities and differences
2. Summarizing and note taking
3. Reinforce effort and providing recognition
4. Providing appropriate homework/practice
5. Producing physical and mental images
6. Having students engaged in cooperative learning
7. Setting goals and providing feedback
8. Generating and testing hypotheses
9. Providing activities to help students activate prior knowledge
For more information on these strategies or interventions specific to Reading, Math and Writing check out the above listed resource.
In your documentation you would want to indicate:
1. What strategies and interventions are being used?
2. How long these have been in place? — There is no set time to be in any given Tier, but it is important to know length of time to help determine the rate of response.
3. What is the target or goal? –A student who has been identified as struggling probably won’t have the same target as all other students. So how much growth do you want to see? Remember to be reasonable with the expectations. We want all students to be on grade level, but that may not be a realistic starting point for all students.
4. What is the result for the struggling child? –Did they meet their target/goal?
5. How does this compare to the whole class and other students receiving this intervention? –If everyone’s target drops then the overall class instruction may need to be revisited.
This is a great place to mention learning styles and how they affect teaching. We know that everyone learns a little differently. Because of this, every strategy and intervention affects different students in different ways. As a teacher you may have a class in which the majority respond to your teaching style. They get it. They are successful. The next year, you do everything the same way, but the majority doesn’t respond. They are not successful. This does not mean you’re doing less, or not doing a good job. It simply means majority of the students did not respond to that method of teaching. The key is to pick this out early and adjust your teaching style to fit your students. If more than 15 percent are not responding you may need to change the overall way you approach teaching that group. If only 15 percent are not responding then the overall approach is appropriate and that 15 percent is the target group you need to do more intervention with and document the response. This is why it is important to compare the lower students to the class as a whole. How is your teaching style working for the majority of your class?
Parents: If you are already feeling that your child is struggling start talking with their teachers. Let them know you are concerned. Ask about how they are doing in class and if they can attend any type of tutorials. Also ask about RTI and what level of support they need. As a parent we sometime worry a little to soon and they may not be struggling as much as we think, but it NEVER hurts to ask questions. Get advice on what else needs to be done and how you can help from home. This is a team effort and we all have to work together.
Remember ever child is different and there is usually not a quick fix for behavior or academic difficulties. We have to work together to collect data, assess when needed and develop appropriate plans to help our children.