RTI Tips

Identifying ONE Major Weakness
The RtI plan starts with a problem and a goal. Make sure you've identified (or taken your best guess at) the student's major weakness. 
For example, in reading you would pick ONE from: 
  • Phonological Awareness
  • Phonics
  • Fluency
  • Vocabulary
  • Comprehension. 
You would then write the RtI Goal to match this weakness. 

Alfonzo cannot comprehend grade level text... but he also lacks vocabulary and does not recognize his sight words. We know comprehension is a huge issue but this kiddo does not have his sight words down, so we are going to list identifying sight words as his goal. 

Goal: Alfonzo will identify 25 sight words at the first grade level by December 15th. 

A specific measurable and attainable goal has been devised (notice I didn't say Alfonzo would meet all grade level standards) and we set a specific time frame for the goal to be completed. 

Make a Simple Plan
After identifying a specific learning problem with a student, the next step is to create a simple action plan for how that student is going to get better. 

In the goal we outlined a target behavior and a time-frame to get it done. 
In the plan we will develop a simple routine where the student can practice the targeted skill. 

I'll stress the more simple the better. In medical terms we are not going to put a child in a full body cast because of a broken finger. 

With RtI we're looking for small interventions, targeted at a specific skill to improve achievement. 

THINK SMALL: Flashcards, Short Reading Passages, Letter/Sound Practice, 1 Min Fluency Reading, 2 additional Math problems. All of these things can make a huge difference with a student and don't need to take much time (2 to 5 min). 

Also, give an opportunity for the child to practice at home and communicate this plan with parents. Example would be making another set of flashcards, or giving an extra short HW assignment to match what you are working on in the intervention.

Week 1: Practice. Practice. Practice. Quick Assessment (keep data). 
Week 2: Practice. Practice. Practice. Quick Assessment (keep data). 
Week 3: Practice. Practice. Practice. Quick Assessment (keep data). 
Week 4: Practice. Practice. Practice. Quick Assessment (keep data). 
Week 5: Practice. Practice. Practice. Quick Assessment (keep data). 
Week 6: Practice. Practice. Practice. Quick Assessment (keep data)
   Review Progress at the RtI Meeting.

Be sure your plan matches the goal and practices the skills outlined in the goal. 

Let's revisit our sample student from yesterday.

Alfonzo's Reading RTI Goal was: Alfonzo will identify 25 sight words at the first grade level by December 15th. 

Example Plan: 
Obviously Alfonzo will need to practice his sight words to get better. Because this is a Tier 1 intervention, this work needs to be in addition to his regular instruction opportunities. With Alfonzo, I will make flashcards for each of the 25 sight words I want him to learn. I will then find 2 or 3 minutes in the day when I can work with him on these cards. In this case, the last 3 minutes of guided reading time most students are working hard finishing up and cleaning up. I will meet Alfonzo at his desk and quickly run through the flashcards 2 or 3 times. 

To start with I'll probably only do 5 to 10 of the words, then work my way up. Because this is a Tier 1 intervention I could have several students who are working on this skill with me at the same time as Alfonzo. Also I don't need to meet with him everyday, but at least two or three times per week. 

After deciding what I'm working on with Alfonzo I'm going to communicate the plan with his parents. I'll also send home a set of the 25 flashcards for him to practice. I'll let the parents know the plan, time-frame, and when to expect the next meeting. 

Each Friday, I'm going to meet with Alfonzo and use EasyCBM or just a page I create to assess the 25 Sight Words I want him to learn. I plan to do this every Thursday/Friday.

Collect Solid Data

Step 1: Don't Panic!
The word 'data' comes with a ton of baggage, especially when discussing RtI. The goal of RtI Data Collection is simple: Show what the student can and cannot do with regards to the goal. 

Step 2: Triangulation
In collecting data we are looking to triangulate our data to identify what the student is progressing in and what the student needs help with. There are two types of data that we use, Common Assessments (CPAA, MAP, Guided Reading Benchmarks) and Targeted Assessments (for individuals: Running Records, EasyCBM Etc). 

Common Assessments allow us to group students and target whole class instruction. They also let us get a picture of an individual student as compared to the class. A major downside of Common Assessment is they are less frequently given. 

Targeted Assessments allow us to gauge the progress of individuals toward their specific RTI Goal. These are given to all students at Tier 2 and 3. The goal would be assessing their progress each week. We're looking for growth toward the goal after the practicing has taken place.

Step 3: How Much?
I use the following guidelines for how much data:
Tier 1 - CPAA / MAP + Guided Reading Level / Math Assessments

Tier 2 - CPAA / MAP + Guided Reading Level / Math Assessments + Targeted Assessments

Tier 3 - CPAA / MAP + Guided Reading Level / Math Assessments + Targeted Assessments + Data from Pullout Interventions

Adding Targeted Data For ANY Tier 1 students would be helpful.

Step 4: Confidence Builder
Once you begin collecting regular data on the student you will feel more confident in teaching your students. If the goal is attainable and the student is practicing, you should see growth and this will energize you to continue. Make sure you're sharing the progress with the students so they can build confidence as well.  

Step 5: Stick to the Plan
As stated in the previous Tip, stick to the plan, providing time to practice the targeted skill and then assess regularly on that skill. 

Step 6: Don't Get Behind
Getting behind keeping track of data on students will stress you out, but more importantly will not allow you to monitor student progress. This is where we start feeling the child is not gaining, not good at anything... etc. Without data there is no evidence to support RtI decisions. I recommend collecting data on Thursdays or Fridays and then you have the end of the week/weekend to enter numbers into the RtI forms.

Step 7: RTI Meeting
When the RtI meeting comes around you should have 6 Weeks of Data points to present on your Ss. The data should come from the sources above. A lack of data means the RtI Team cannot make a determination on changing interventions or support Tiers. 

Be sure your data collection matches the plan which matches the goal. 

Let's revisit our sample student.

Alfonzo's Reading RTI Goal was: Alfonzo will identify 25 sight words at the first grade level by December 15th. 

Example Data Plan: 
Severals days a week Alfonzo is using flashcards to practice the 25 sight words I want him to learn. I'm working with him for 2 or 3 minutes in the day. He also has a set of cards to take home and I've communicated this plan to his parents.  

Every Thursday I'm progress monitoring Alfonzo. I'm will give Alfonzo a page with all 25 sight words on it and ask him to begin reading each word. I'm noting the successes and mistakes on my own records. Today Alfonzo got 8 out of 25 words correct.

After assessing, I update his RTI Student profile to reflect this data collected. This data shows he's learned 5 more words than the previous week. GROWTH!!!!! 

I will repeat this process each week until the RtI Team meeting where we will review Alfonzo's progress towards his goal.

Finding the Minutes for RtI

First let's get real about two things. 
1: Teachers never have enough time and will never have enough time. Period.
2: If we are creative we find the time for things we need/want to do.

The following district guidelines are given with regards to RtI Time:

Tier 1 Interventions - There are no time guidelines/restrictions. Teacher Discretion.

Tier 2 Interventions - District recommends 3 to 4 meeting times per week, and suggests but does not require 20 to 30 minutes. Teacher Discretion. 

Tier 3 Intervention - District requires every day of the week. Sessions must be 30 to 60 minutes in length. Out of the Classroom.

The big take-away from the district is YOU decide how much time your student needs. Start small with an intervention. What can you do/get done in 2/3/5 minutes? An intervention at Tier 1 is not 30 minutes long. No one has that kind of time. Instead we're looking for short groups of minutes that could be maximized for Tier 1 and Tier 2 instruction.  

Where to Look. 
  • Independent work time.
  • During Student Transition times.
  • During "Reward Recess" 
  • During Guided Reading Time. 
  • Downtimes during Science and Social Studies. 
  • While walking in line. 
  • During Library Checkout.
  • In the Gym in the Morning before School.
  • Any time you can find.
Be Creative.      
Think Outside the Schedule.      
Think Slivers of Time. 

Pro Tip: The Tighter your classroom procedures are... the more time you'll have that's usable for short interventions.

Let's revisit our sample student.

Alfonzo's Reading RTI Goal was
Alfonzo will identify 25 sight words at the first grade level by December 15th. 

Example Time: 
I'm meeting with Alfonzo and 2 other students on sight words. We meet at least 3 days per week, usually Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. We meet during the last 3/4 minutes of the Guided Reading Hour while the class is finishing-up/ transitioning. I data monitor the students each week on Thursday or Friday.