Tips for Intervention's "First Responders"

Google "RTI"or "intervention", and you'll find a lot of nice, consistent definitions: it's about systematically organizing the way we operate our schools in order to achieve higher levels of academic and behavioral success for all students. Sounds like a great idea.

Google "how to do RTI", and the results are much less consistent! What you find can, in fact, make intervention seem downright daunting! Like good teaching, it's not a single act or a simple change you make after a few PD sessions. It's a process. But, with the help of these good, simple tools, it's doable!

Differentiated Instruction

  • Meeting the needs of different students simultaneously doesn't have to be a juggling act. Set up centers ahead of time with some very low tech items. Use Dice Domes to set up differentiated math centers. They can be easily prepped ahead of time to be used by multiple students at different levels. Use different color domes for different levels-put different dice inside to target different skills. Versatile and portable, Magnetic Tabletop Pocket Charts are simple, cross-curricular tools. Prep ahead of time by putting different materials at different levels on each side for different students.

Small-Group or Center Management

  • Use color-coded tools that work together to help students understand who should be where and what to do once they get there! Using multisensory timers to keep everyone on track will allow you keep your eyes off the clock and on your students.

  • Consider setting up a parent advisory board for students in your school's intervention programs. Having a group of informed parent volunteers gives you access to a pool of "center helpers". If you've done all the prep and you already know how you're going to keep things organized, parent volunteers become a real RTI resource.

Quick Assessment

  • Get lightning fast student responses! Answer Buzzers are irresistible, multisensory gizmos that will encourage participation. Use Write & Wipe Answer Boards to gauge individual student understanding of a concept, at a glance, even in a large group.

Digital Documentation & Sharing between Specialists

  • Data collection is crucial for progress monitoring and data-based decision making. Use an inexpensive document camera to capture both stills and video for later uploading to digital portfolios - the most efficient way to share student performance data with specialist.

  • Plug and play digital recorders that easily capture high-quality audio are a must. Also great for specialists like speech & language pathologists/therapists who are working with teachers!
  • Record small groups for later assessment. Be sure to use an audio recorder designed to pick up voices of multiple students working in the group, so you can hear everyone.

  • Use a USB recorder to wirelessly document the progress of 1-2 students interacting in centers.

  • For Tier 3 work (one on one), invest in Easi-Speak Pro™, a sophisticated USB recorder with special features like a fully integrated menu system.

Non-traditional Methods

When it's time to intervene it's also time to try a variety of "non traditional" methods. Unusual tools and novel approaches to instruction can generate higher levels of engagement and motivate students who are otherwise not succeeding.

  • Provide unique, multisensory learning experiences with simple tap-and-talk recorders. Easy-to-use recording devices help you engage students' senses starting with auditory then adding on visual and tactile where needed.

  • Engage struggling learners with technology (online and handheld games) during extended learning time.