Should I RTI?

My life has been crazy this month. I bought a new town home and moving in the school year has been challenging.  All my stuff is hiding in the garage and I have no clue where anything is. It's tons of fun. Though since the beginning of the month, my Special Education team has been working on referrals from Tier 2 interventions. We have been working with a group of fabulous Reading Recovery teachers who provide many of the Tier 2 interventions. Its been a learning process for everyone.

Why should I do it:


  • RTI is an academic based intervention addressing primarily academics rather than behavior
  • Many kids act out and exhibit emotional and coping problems in school due to being behind academically and not understanding the work and concepts
  • RTI addresses these academic deficits that lead to acting out
  • Reduces behavior problems and increases coping skills
  • Improves grades and achievement
  • Boosts student confidence, work completion, and willingness to work
  • Improves student’s self concept
  • Increases student’s independent working and responsibility
  • When should I do it:
  • When student’s act out due to being unable to do the work
  • When it appears a student is avoiding work
  • When a student seems to act out or behave as the class clown in correlation to having to begin and work on academic tasks
  • When a student displays work refusal, withdraws from group and pairs work, and seems to make excuses for not doing academic tasks and it is known the student has low scores or low ability in the academic area or an area related to the ability to do the task

How do I do it:


In a nutshell, RTI is a 3 tiered system where each tier of intervention targets more specific academic deficits and more individual students, such that tier 1 interventions target a whole class, tier 2 small groups or pairs, and tier 3 individual students

The basic idea is:

  • Determine the academic deficit areas
  • Test these areas to get a baseline
  • Implement an academic intervention targeting the specific academic deficit area
  • Test the student again after delivering the intervention
  • If there is progress, continue this intervention
  • If there is not progress, try the intervention again or a different one and then test
  • If you try the same intervention again and it does not work, try a different one and then test
  • Continue this process until you find an intervention the student responds to;.
  • How can I design effective Tier 2 interventions?

Tier 2 evidence-based interventions use systematic, explicit methods to change student performance and/or behavior. In systematic methods, skills and concepts begin with the most simple, moving to the most complex. Student objectives are clear, concise, and driven by ongoing assessment results.
Additionally, students are provided with appropriate practice opportunities which directly reflect systematic instruction. Explicit methods typically include teacher modeling, student guided practice, and student independent practice, sometimes referred to as “I do, We do, You do.”

Tier 2 Intervention Design Example:

I do
1.Teacher models and explains

We do
2.Students practice (with teacher’s guidance) what the teacher modeled
3.Teacher provides prompts/feedback
4.Students apply skill as teacher scaffolds instruction

You do
5.Students practice independently (either in-class or as homework)
6.Teacher provides feedback

As you design interventions that are systematic and explicit, make sure you spend plenty of time on the “We do” stage. That is your best opportunity to catch mistakes and clarify misconceptions.
How can I differentiate targeted interventions to meet the needs of each of my Tier 2 students?
To design effective differentiated interventions, you must understand your students’ learning modalities and multiple intelligences. As you no doubt remember from your college classes, the modalities are how we take information into the brain.

Are your students visual, auditory, or tactile/kinesthetic? Many Tier 2 learners are primarily visual and tactile/kinesthetic. They need concrete examples such as pictures and graphic organizers, as well as hands-on experiences.

Students who are poor readers typically exhibit strengths in the visual/spatial intelligence. They “think in pictures” rather than in words. Because these students are often able to put details into their pictures that others may not discern, encourage them to sketch what they are reading or hearing. Next, guide them as they first explain and then write about their pictures.

Have a great week!

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Welcome to my all thing special education blog. I empower busy elementary special education teachers to use best practice strategies to achieve a data and evidence driven classroom community by sharing easy to use, engaging, unique approaches to small group reading and math. Thanks for Hopping By.
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