Saturday, October 25, 2014

How We Do RTI good and so frustrating, all at the same time.  Kind of like the Ole Miss vs. LSU game I'm watching right now.  Excitement, frustration, good plays, bad plays, flags, unsportsmanlike conduct...I feel like it all applies across borders!  ;)

I know the whole RTI process looks so different everywhere.  Last year we started something new in our building.  We take the Tier 3 students and divide them up amongst teachers with their reading endorsement or Masters in reading.  Tier 3 groups are no bigger than 4 students.  Our building has "RTI time" from 9:10-9:40.  The students can cross grade levels, depending on the skill level they need help with.  For example, I teach phonemic awareness.  Students who struggle with phonemic awareness come to me for 30 minutes and we do exercises and activities built around increasing their phonemic awareness skills.  We progress monitor weekly to keep data on the students.

In order to determine the exact skills a child needs help with, we use a tool I created called, Finding the Root of the Problem: An RTI Assessment Probe.  This helps us determine how to place the students in each group.

During this 30 minute block of time, I inherit 4 students.  We do the Phonemic Awareness Curriculum from Two Peas in a Pod.  Then I pull all sorts of resources that focus on sounds.

In the past, the rest of my class would've gone to another first grade classroom to work on grammar and handwriting.  Since I have no Tier 3 students this year and since our class sizes are much larger (24 students), that means there would be about 40 students in a classroom at one time.  No thank you!  We're talking crowd control at this point.  So this year I decided to keep my students and have them work at their own pace on their own reading level.  I purchased a subscription to Raz-Kids.  They each take an iPad, make themselves comfy, and read at their level for 30 minutes.  They love it and everyone is working at their own pace!

This is working so much better for my students and I feel like everyone is really learning a lot.  What I love most is everyone is learning at their level.  They are at a spot that's perfect for them.  This transition to more of a 21st century classroom is proving well-worth the effort!


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