Tuesday, January 12, 2010

More on RTI


The second point that jumped at me from the IRA Guidelines for RTI is that RTI is a framework, not a specific program or model.  I like that because it brings the leadership back to the teacher.  How will you use these tools in your classroom to maximize service to your students?    If you need help, did you know that there is an organization (the National Center on the Response to Intervention), funded at two universities (Vanderbilt and University of Kansas) that can offer you free resources and support?  They can provide support to your center or your district.  Check them out!

RTI is about modifying the standard classroom approach if it doesn't work for a group of or an individual student.  Again, in my mind, that goes back to a renewed respect for the professionalism of teachers and educator-teams.  What a refreshing idea.  But with that renewed respect, comes a great deal of responsibilty.  Responsibility to stay on top of what works, best practices.  Responsibility to connect to your fellow educators and experts in the field and keep up with research.  Responsibility to take that part of your job seriously.  When I travel the country, I hear teachers tell me they are fed up, up to their eyeballs with the wrong type of staff development:  boring, etherial approaches without "take back to the classroom" tomorrow ideas that are confirmed by the experience of the teachers.  One more part of the responsibility of a professional is to communicate what you need.  Here are a few print and Internet resources to get you started:

Evidenced Based Reading Practices for Response to Intervention, a book that includes the voices of respected reading researchers speaking to the subject.

RTI Actual Network's Blog.  Every teacher needs a place to speak her mind and share her ideas, ask questions.  One of the greatest things I've discovered about blogs and listservs and online groups is that you can learn so much from that virtual community and contribute your knowledge at the same. For those of you that live in Florida, specifically, there is a blog on literacy from your state DOE.  Other states may offer the same type of interactive format. 

Webinars.  Tired of professional development that you don't select?  Try a webinar.  The IRA has listed a February event which will talk specific about RTI.  Hurry and you can get in on Missouri DOE's free one.

My friend, Emma McDonald of Inspiring Teachers (who just happens to be the publisher of my e-book, Powerful Picture Books), is on the same channel.  Her recent newsarticle on Tiered Instruction fits well into this list of resources. You'll notice that she created a personal copy of my newsletter but you just need to scroll down a page or so to find the article.  She brings an interesting idea: considering Montessori methods within the context of differentiated instruction.  I found it fastinating and it immediately gave me an idea. 

I always encourage teachers to look for those activities during small group time that work with students on a variety of levels.  For instance, in preschool or kindergarten when you have children on different levels of phonological awareness, activities that fit the range of the spectrum from not understanding rhyming, to being able to read rhyming pairs and recognize rhyming patterns in print.  Think about pulling activities from that range.  There's a great little puzzle I found called Find The Rhmye: A First Rhyming Puzzle.  I'm not into "advertising" but this is a great little tool.  I'm sure you know of plenty of other sets of materials or ideas that will work with a variety of students.  Organizing them by skill level is key to being able to pull them quickly to meet the needs of your particular group of students for a given year.

If you know of other resources you have found beneficial, please share them with a post to this blog.  If everyone shares a bit of what they find, we'll have a tremendous resource built on the subject.

1 comment:

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