## Math Preschool Style

Preschooler, experiencing the world through play as they explore and learn with great enthusiasm. Giving preschoolers a solid foundation in early math literacy is critical to their future academic success, not to mention how important it is to their day-to-day functioning.

#### How preschoolers learn the many aspects of math

Most preschoolers, even without guidance from adults, are naturally interested in math as it exists in the world around them. They learn math best by engaging in dynamic, hands-on games and projects. Preschoolers love to ask questions and play games that involve the many aspects of math. The table below lists the key aspects of preschool math, along with simple games and activities you can use to help your child learn them.

#### Math Games and Activities

• Count food items at snack time (e.g., 5 crackers, 20 raisins, 10 baby carrots)
• Use a calendar to count down the days to a birthday or special holiday. Help your child see the connection between a numeral like "5," the word "five," and five days on the calendar.
• Practice simple addition and subtraction using small toys and blocks.
• Play simple board games where your child moves a game piece from one position to the next.
• Have your child name the shapes of cookie cutters or blocks.
• Arrange cookie cutters in patterns on a cookie sheet or placemat. A simple pattern might be: star-circle-star-circle.
• Measure your child's height every month or so, showing how you use a yardstick or tape measure. Mark his or her height on a "growth chart" or a mark on a door frame. Do the same with any siblings. Help your child compare his or her own height to previous months and also to their siblings' heights.
• Talk through games and daily activities that involve math concepts.
• Have your child name numbers and shapes.
• Help them understand and express comparisons like more than/less than, bigger/smaller, and near/far.
• Play games where you direct your child to jump forward and back, to run far from you or stay nearby.
• Use songs with corresponding movements to teach concepts like in and out, up and down, and round and round.

#### Website Ideas

The Early Math Learning website (www. earlymathlearning.com) includes free downloads of PDF files of this Early Learning Math at Home booklet as well as individual chapters. Additional articles and resources for families will be added regularly.

The California Mathematics Council maintains a For Families section at its website (www.cmc-math.org/family/main.html). Here you will find articles on mathematics education issues of interest to parents, hands-on activities to do at home and information on how to host your own Family Math event at your preschool or education center.

The Math Forum (www.mathforum.org) is a web portal to everything “mathematics.” Here you can ask Dr. Math questions and get answers! You will also find weekly and monthly math challenges, Internet math hunts, and math resources organized by grade level.

Head Start–Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center (www.eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc) is linked to the federal Head Start Program. Here you will find information about government programs for early learning, including resources that are available to families.

Thinkfinity (www.thinkfinity.org) is a project of the Verizon Foundation. This website has more than 55,000 resources—including many that focus on math—that have been screened by educators to ensure that content is accurate, up-to-date, unbiased, and appropriate for students. The resources on this website are grouped by grade level and subject area.

PBS Parents, the early education website of the Public Broadcasting Service (www.pbs.org/parents/education/math/activities), offers numerous resources, including the stages of mathematics learning listed for babies through second grade children. It is also a rich source of math activities to do at home

Math at Play (www.mathatplay.org) offers multimedia resources for anyone who works with children from birth to age five. Here you can explore early mathematical development and the important ways that caregivers nurture children’s understanding of math concepts through social-emotional relationships, language, everyday play experiences, materials, and teaching.

Let’s Read Math (www.letsreadmath.com/math-and-childrens-literature/ preschool/) wants to make parents and families aware of the growing body of children’s literature with themes related to mathematics. Here you will find a long annotated list of live links to preschool children’s books with math themes, listed by title, author, and mathematics topic.

## Tier 2 Interventions: Take RTI to the Next Level

Response to Intervention-Tier 2 Interventions are classroom based and a challenge to do consistently. I have depending on my case load, helped with Tier 2 interventions. Students who join me are either those the RTI team is wanting to move forward with formal testing and need more data or they are students who only need a quick push to get back to core instruction. But it all moves around the data and how classroom-based interventions are pulled together. This is not easy!

As a classroom teacher, you are using a variety of differentiated instructional and assessment strategies. Universal screening and progress monitoring tools are in place. You are using the resulting data to guide your instruction and to determine which students need Tier 2 interventions. You know that in order to be effective, those interventions must not be “more of the same,” since the strategies you used in your Tier 1 classroom did not work for these students. Your challenge is to meet the needs of each Tier 2 student while maintaining the instructional integrity of your general education classroom.

To do this, consider the following two questions:

*How can I design effective Tier 2 interventions?
*How can I differentiate targeted interventions to meet the needs of each of my Tier 2 students?

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 know what your students' needs are. Consistent data collection is key for both moving on to Tier 3 and Special Education and moving students back to the core curriculum. (If you have not checked out my Plug & Play Data Collection Spreadsheets--you can here).

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.

#### Tier 2 Intervention Example

In my school, one 4th grade teacher during a unit in the core reading program devoted to poetry had students learning how to write haikus, something not included in the core reading program but clearly aligned to the reading standards for that grade. Another 2nd grade teacher chose to use reader's theater, a well-known intervention program in which students "rehearse" the presentation of reading material to their classmates in a play or dialogue format, to increase the development of fluency.

By dividing the entire grade into tiered instruction, the model provides to students who are already achieving at benchmark levels opportunities for enrichment that go beyond the core instructional program. Our school schedule built in a time each week to collect the progress-monitoring data would be collected on students in Tiers 2 and 3.

#### Suggested Timeline for RTI Implementation

Phase 1
• Establish a Professional Learning Community
• Differentiate instruction in Tier 1
• Conduct professional development on RTI
• Begin an Action Plan
• Set up RTI teams
• Select an RTI model
• Choose or design universal screening and begin using
Phase 2
• Hold discussions on decision rules, fidelity of implementation, and documentation procedures
• In Tier 1, regularly use data from assessments to make instructional decisions
• Make decisions about when and how Tiers 2 & 3 interventions will be conducted
• Choose or design progress monitoring and begin using
• Begin differentiating interventions in Tiers 2 and 3
• Finish Action Plan
Phase 3
• In all tiers, use data to make most instruction and intervention decisions
• Differentiate instruction and interventions consistently
• Evaluate practicality and usefulness of  universal screening and progress monitoring

Give a shoutout--What are your favorite Tier 2 classroom based interventions? Specialists, how do you support classroom teachers with their Tier 2 interventions? I'd love to hear!

## April: Show & Tell Linky

Happy Tuesday. Today I'm linking up with Stephanie from "Forever in 5th Grade" for this months peek into my Resource Room.  This month I have been helping with PARCC testing. It's also the time of year when I start reflecting back on the past 9 months and beginning thinking about next year.

I know for me this year, striking a balance between the art and science of teaching was not as balanced as I would have liked. I think I bent more towards the art and a little less than the science. Using data binders students kept track of their goals and data. This helped move them more than a year. These are a must for next year.
I have things I want to trash to like rotations. But I want to add more co-teaching and student driven embedded data collection--students collecting their own IEP data and taking more ownership of their growth.

If you have not tried Seesaw--I would.  I came across Seesaw and was impressed with the idea that it is student and time friendly. I only have my groups for about 30 minutes. This means I either need to do it when I have 2 minutes or they need to do the uploading and creating within that 30 minutes. I love the app options that can be uploaded into the platform. My hope is this is REALLY student friendly and will become a place students can create and show off their app-smashing.

Students are proficient in using Seesaw as part of their workflow and it has been a great and easy place for them to put their work to share, self-assess, and track their own progress. A must for next year. Seesaw makes data collection in Special Education and RTI easy to do. (Which we all need. Right?)

CHAMPS. A behavior management system I added this year. I love this as I set a visual expectation for each task like "Group Instruction" or "Test." Students are aware of what the expectations are before I start talking. A must keep!

I love putting things in pictures. Pictures move faster to the brain than words. This one has become our Problem Solving Rubric which shows not tells students what is needed to score a 3 on the rubric. Problem Solving is one skill I want students' to take back to the classroom. When I do rubrics I do them with each group's input. The picture helps remind them what it needs to look like. I need to add more like this--not sure for what but this needs to happen.

If you remember I had a couple of groups early in the year almost to grade level and started reading rotations with them. Well with 30 minutes, this was not successful. As they were 2nd and 3rd graders, they didn't have tons of independence to maintain work on their own part of this idea. I ended up moving them back to guided reading and changing their schedule to have them spend more time in the classroom.

This year has been filled up ups and downs. Ideas I want to keep and ideas that need to be trashed. I need to find more ways to embed data collection of IEP goals and RTI needs. What do you want to trash? What do you want to keep? Share them.

## Shut the Front Door!!

It's that time of year when I'm going crazy! Yes, you know that time of year--where you have IEPs, parent/teacher conferences, transition meetings, PLUS all you own end of the year teacher evaluation stuff you HAVE to do.  This is the second year I have had to do SLO (Student Learning Objectives). Yeah!! I can use my IEP data--no hoop jumping here. But even without having to do this, I would have kept track to show myself and the world (if they cared) my students made a year's growth.

The key--the DATA!. I know you have been told this all the time but it's true--if you look at it and DO something about it then you get something for your hard work.

One if my favorite things is to make pictures with the numbers to show off to parents at IEP meetings or teachers when I meet with them. This makes it so much easier to talk about what the student is and is not doing and make it REAL. When you put numbers to student performance and have a picture to go with it--conversations change. Teachers jump on board. Parents see what you're talking about.

I'm going to share my secret weapon with you (& it's FREE). It's a Plug & Play 20 Excel for Class Progress Monitoring. Yes, you heard me right. Just put in your data and goal line and the graph is created for you.

Like all data graphs, you might need to change the Y-axis depending on the data and add a trendline (if that's your thing). But that is all you need to do.

These graphs are perfect for RTI Intervention Monitoring, easy for anyone to put the data in, and great for SLO!

Oh--did I mention it was free.  You can find the 20 Progress Monitoring Graphs in my Free Resource Library. If you have not signed up yet, get yours here!

I'd love to hear what your favorite ways are to show off student data and keep track for your SLO data.

Have a great Early Spring Weekend!
Until next Time-

## POW: DRA Comprehension Rubric

This is the time of year where my team is working thought DRA's for their SLO (Student Learning Objectives) and figuring out what they are going to do when we come back from Spring Break.

A question teachers have been asking is what to do with the DRA rubric after they are scored. How do you use the information to plan instruction and next steps? (I always tell teachers to use the data they have to collect or they have created first before trying to figure out else they may need.)

When you look at a DRA rubric it is broken into two parts: oral reading (decoding and fluency and comprehension.) If you missed the first post in this series click here to get caught up.

This week, I'll talk about how and why I create targeted instruction around the comprehension part if the rubric.

I look at where the student scored on the rubric--taking note or strengths and weakness.

The Comprehension rubric is broken in 3 different skills--book knowledge, retell or summary, and higher order thinking questions.
In this case, a strength the student has is his book knowledge. With this book, it includes using the non-fiction text features as well. He struggled with retelling and the higher order thinking questions. (This would be a great jumping off put to collaborate with SLP to provide extra language support.)

When I start planning where I want to start, I make sure I have the students' previous small group work. I will use them to decide what the next steps need to be.

This student's guided reading data shows he has been struggling with retells and I also have to provide several prompts. When I think about Bloom's Question Stems, I know retells are easier than reflection questions. (Bloom's Questions Stems: remembering vs evaluating).  This will be the first place I start.

When talking with his Speech/Language provider, she lets me know she sees the same struggles with retelling but she'd been playing with picture supports and was seeing more success. (This is both an accommodation but also a great skill for students to have. Going back and using the text as a resource. Think state testing or STAR assessment--students CAN go back to the text.)

This made me think about my instruction and the types of books he was reading. He is currently in Fountas and Pinnell G's and H's. Since these books as still mostly pictures, copying the pictures and drawing pictures would be a good place to start. This would also support his language needs.

To start with, I copied a couple pictures from the book. This would be used to model going back into the book to use it as a resource as I modeled retelling the story. These pictures than could become a graphic organizer like Thinking Maps (Flow Map). This could be paired with a Retelling Rubric below. Here the I'm only scoring the retell. I took it right from the rubric. During my modeled lesson, I will demonstrate a 4. I also model using the pictures from the books. Student's have to be taught to do this skill. In my planning, I will make a point of doing both before moving to drawing the pictures.

As I'm planning out the Retelling Skill Lessons, I keep in mind grade level expectations--no book but then I think about what skills the student(s) needs to get there. I also keep in mind, when teaching comprehension skills I may need to get easier books to work with. I scaffold out the list of lessons so I can see what I'm thinking:
1) Modeled: without resource making sure to reference back to the rubric (at least a couple of days over a couple of different books)
2) Modeled: with pictures from the resource to create a Flow Map (at least of couple of days over a couple of different books)
3)Shared: with pictures (if you are doing most of the thinking then go back to a modeled lesson)
4) Shared: with pictures (moving them to independent thinking)
5) Independent with support using the book or resource to retell.

I will need to make sure the student's score 4s before starting the process over with student created drawings.

Why spend the time teaching retelling a story using student created drawings? Because it is a more appropriate grade level skill plus students will come across books with fewer and fewer pictures as they move to harder text. Student created drawings can be used across all curriculum areas and move the student to take control of what they need to access the curriculum--self-determination at its finest.

The last step is to start teaching the skill. I will plan on reassessing the comprehension part of the whole DRA rubric using the blank DRA forms in four weeks to see if the student has made growth. If so than I would teach, how to answer the Higher Order Thinking questions at the bottom of the comprehension rubric or I will plan on reteaching retelling/summaries again. I love using the Reading Comprehension Stems I've shared below. It's a great jumping off point when I work on comprehension skills. I use them for progress monitoring both in writing and in conversation. If you're have not signed up for my Free Resource Library, click here. (Its super easy and besides did I mention it was free to join. Who doesn't love free!)

Until next time,

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.