Getting Into the Swing of Things: RTI

What a week it has been, but things are going good.

Just a refresher: we completed Aimsweb testing, sorted kids, and this week began our Tiered times to implement RTI/MTSS. We were told that sorting was the hard part, and that anxiety builds while trying to get all the particulars figured out {materials, staff, and spaces for instruction}, but once we could start teaching kids, things would get better....and they have.

This was my coffee table this weekend. Hopefully the early onset of carpol tunnel brought on from cutting lamination becomes worth it.
With my short/long vowel groups, last week I  used lesson plans from West Virginia's Reading First these are very good, explicit lessons...but... I like to make lessons my own. I'm did the activities as they were called for last week, I typed up and laminated all of the necessary flashcards and word lists to go along with it. While I like the convenience that can come with the Reading First lessons, they are very elementary...great for K-2. I'm looking for and hoping to create some more resources that are a little more 5th grade friendly.

Click the picture to go to the lessons
This week I'm trying out some of the resources, that actually come from an adult reading course. The lessons are structured a little more upper elementary friendly. Working on passages that they may actually see out and about. The lessons are super scripted (page after page...) but I really do like the questions and progression. So we will see how this works, maybe I will mash up this with some of West Virgina's materials.

Another teacher I know is using Rewards it also incorporates multisyallabic words so I like that aspect in that program too. 

Groups that are working on more advanced phonics skills are working with Spiral Up, a program our school bought. Again, although the lessons are explicit, these with all of the necessary flashcards and materials, all the teacher's I've talked to have been finding other materials to add to it. Our principal is okay with purchasing other materials if they are of need, so who knows maybe we'll find something super stellar. So far, there hasn't been a cookie cutter recipe, a program that is so great that it works for all... but in my opinion that's the way it should be...supplementing, differentiating, individualizing. These programs are good in their own right, but it takes the teacher element to make them great and make them work for the best ability for the students.

Click the picture to learn more
So for now, that's where things stand. It was fun to see during inservice earlier this week, how much the 4th grade has accomplished in so little time. I teach in a 4/5 building, in October 4th grade started their MTSS switches and 5th grade just this month. The MTSS teams made a visual using sticky notes (color coded too!) to show where the students were when taking the test and where they have moved up/down to. Almost all showed progression. There were a few yellows (inaccurate and slow, group 4 on Aimsweb, and in need of phonics interventions) that bumped up to white!! (Accurate and fluent, group 1!!) 5th grade didn't change quite so much, but by the time they had compiled the data, we'd been at it only a few days.


  1. Hi there! I found you from a comment you left over on my Currently. I'm glad I came to look around. I have all of the IEP students in my 3rd grade LA class and I feel like you have a lot on here that can be helpful!

    We just finished winter benchmarks for Aims and I was so bummed last week seeing that a lot of my kids haven't made much progress. I'm always up for suggestions and we are starting this week with some more explicit phonics and fluency practice.

  2. To start with my best advice is to take the Aimsweb data into consideration, but don't let it drive you crazy!

    In our MTSS groups, we have to have 6 data points before moving our kiddos to another group. In the first two weeks, I was starting to think that the QPS was crazy, yes, I could see that the students had reading deficits, but their scores were about the target line. Then Friday happened (I progress monitor on Fridays) and almost all of my students went down. It takes about 6 weeks for a good read on a student. A single testing window (such as the fall/winter/spring benchmarks) is just a brief moment of time, and not a complete picture of a student.

    FCRR has free lessons and activities for all grade levels, a good resource for explicit activities too!

  3. I'm not currently teaching reading-only history to my 5/6 graders. BUT-I might be teaching all subjects to 6th grade next year and am so excited. And scared. :)

    I taught 6th grade reading for 2 years-it was daunting because of the low comprehension ability. 38 out of 53 were reading below grade level. Sigh. I'm not sure how to really teach phonics in the upper grades so hopefully I'll be learning from you!

    I'm your newest follower. :)



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