Category Archives: Response to Intervention

Take Home Math Kits

coverIt seems there is typically a larger focus on literacy skills than math skills, so I wanted to make sure to give both of these skills their equal share of practice with our students.  We sent home take home literacy kits earlier this school year, so now we will be sending home take home math kits.  With the help of Oriental Trading, we were able to make five different kits that target specific skills and are engaging for parents to do at home with their children.

Kit #1

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The target skill for this kit is one digit addition and subtraction.  Included in the kit are Counting Monkeys and Flashcards.  Parents can quiz their children with the flash cards and use the counting monkey for manipulates.  Once students have mastered this skill, I plan on adding sand timers, so they can work on fluency.

Kit #2

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This kit is for students who are still learning numbers and number sense.  Student count the number of objects on the sheet and place the correct magnetic number on the tray.   Included in this kit is a Cookie Tray, Counting mat, and Magnetic Numbers.

Kit #3

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The focus of this kit is Number Bonds.  Children fill in the blank circle with the correct number to complete the “bond”.  Each tote includes a set of 15 Number Bonds, dry erase marker and eraser.

Kit #4

red2For this kit, I made an activity sheet so students can create equations with the numbers they roll.  Each kit includes a blue and a red number cube, as well as an operations cube.  Students role the cubes, fill the numbers into the corresponding color box and then complete the equations.  The contents of the tote include a dry erase marker, activity sheet, and Math Connecting Blocks.

Kit #5

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The final kit focuses on place value.  Each kit includes 15 Place Value Puzzles which consists three separate pieces.  Parents can build the puzzles with their children and practice math at the same time!

Students have enjoyed receiving their colorful tote bags to take home to use with their parents.  And parents have appreciated  the engaging and hands on activities to do at home with their kids, which is a welcomed alternative to worksheets or other homework!

This review is based strictly on my opinion. I was provided the sample free of charge by the company to provide my honest review. No other type of compensation was received. All ideas and opinions are my own.

Building Skills at Home: Take Home Literacy Kits

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In order to be truly effective with kids and help close achievement gaps, parental involvement is very important.  It can be difficult at times to get parental involvement and to achieve the carry over from school to home, especially with student that have a learning disability or are at-risk.

In a recent training I attended, we discussed how students need opportunities to work with information in order for it to become part of their skills base. The number of exposures or opportunities to work with the information varies based on the student.

Gifted students: 3-5 opportunities
Average learners: 15-25 opportunities
At-Risk 1000-1250  opportunities

This demonstrates the importance of repetition and the added need for parents to reinforce skills at home, especially with at-risk learners.  Most times we tell parents to read with their children, which is vitally important, but I thought it would be nice if we gave them more specific skills to work on with their children.

In order to try to help reach out to the parents and give specific skills to work on at home, I created take home literacy kits.  The purpose of these kits are to give parents pre-made activities that are ready to be implemented at home.  All the activities are from the Florida Center for Reading Research which is a FABULOUS FREE resource.  I can not tell you enough how much I LOVE this site.  I wish more teachers knew about it!  The site breaks down reading into phonological awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency and comprehension by grade (up to 5th grade) and offers hundreds of activities.

Below is just a sampling of some of the activities.

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I included everything the parent would need to use the kit immediately and laminated the materials so they will hopefully last.  I also included a note to the parent explaining what we were doing and when they finish working with the kit, send it back and I will send them another one.

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am currently piloting this with the special education students and have received positive feedback.  We hope to expand these kits and make them available for teachers to check out and use with students going through the RTI process.  They are perfect for centers, small groups, or partners.

Response to Intervention…..first steps

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I have always been pretty passionate about Response to Intervention because I truly feel it works at helping students achieve to their maximum potential whether they get the services through regular education or special education.  However, it has to be implemented properly with continued support for the teachers in order to see growth.  In the previous district I worked, I served on numerous RTI committees, either at the district or school level and experienced both successes and failures when implementing this process.  I’m excited to be on the ground level of implementing RTI at the current school I work and I’m hoping to be able to use some of the lesson’s I’ve learned in the past to help create a successful model and implementation process.

Lessons Learned in RTI implementation

  1. Start Simple

When reading Response to Intervention literature, it can sound confusing and like a rather daunting endeavor, especially to a classroom teacher who already has a dozen other things piled on their plate.  Keeping it simple at first helps creates buy-in and manages stress from all involved.  And in reality it is a rather simple concept…..Do what works with each student.  Teach the student based on their need and monitor their progress.  If it is not working, change what you are doing or keep doing the same thing if the student is making gains.  But whatever you do, do not just continue to do something that is not working.

In order to start simple, the first training we will be giving during grade level planning (another good idea to start with training small groups at a time), is a flipbook that describes the process.

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2. Define and Emphasize the Difference between Intervention and Progress Monitoring

It should be emphasized over and over the relationship between intervention and progress monitoring.  For some reason these two concepts get interchanged too often and teachers believe that progress monitoring is the intervention.  In actuality, progress monitoring is determining if your intervention is effective or not. 

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As illustrated in the above image progress monitoring and intervention are “two peas in a pod”.  They BOTH must be done in order to have an effective RTI model.  Aimsweb is a fabulous progress monitoring program that we plan on implementing in the winter, but currently we are using EasyCBM for our progress monitoring tool.  Interventions are a vast area that can include so many different tools depending on the student need.  I have found the Florida Reading Institute student activities to be very helpful.  These activities are researched based and already organized into specific skill.  All the teacher or interventionists needs to do is print them off and assemble them.  In an attempt to make it easier on the teacher, we have assembled these kits for our teachers.  One of our next steps is creating an intervention toolkit.

3. Break it Down Step by Step

It keeps everything much simpler when it is broken down into a step by step process.  In order to do this with RTI implementation, using a flow chart can be very helpful.  This enables teachers to follow a step by step guide to what needs to happen when.   It is also helpful to give teachers a one page referral sheet that all information can be added on to for each student.  A sample of what we have use is below.  This referral sheet breaks down the process into three main components- Student Information, Intervention, and Progress Monitoring.

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4. Provide Continued Training and Support

If any new process is to work, continued professional development is a must.  So many times, staff/teachers are introduced to some new “thing” they are required to do and there is no follow up after the initial training.  In the past, I have given staff a survey before RTI implementation at the beginning of the year and then a post survey at the end of they year to truly get a gauge on staff learning.  Additionally, giving staff simple pointers, reminders, or ideas in a weekly newsletter is a quick and simple way to continue with training.  Another helpful idea is to have all materials premade and ready to implement for teachers.  I hope to post a future idea on how we plan to make materials quickly and easily available for teachers and parent and our follow training plan.

I believe we are off to a great start.  I would love to hear ideas of how others have implemented RTI in their schools!

If you would like a copy of the RTI flipbook, you can check it out here.