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3 Simple Alternatives to Traditional Math Workstations

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Before I moved to high school as a Math Interventionist, I taught elementary math for over fourteen years. When I taught fourth or fifth grade every year without fail, I’d always have the same struggle with my administration over math workstations. At the beginning of every school year, the Teacher Development Specialists would descend from high to meet the teachers at their campuses. During my first classroom observation, the TDS … Read More →

How to Identify Students For Math Intervention

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Have you ever heard this quote, if it quacks like a duck it must be a duck?  Well, certain data points may quack like a duck, but it’s really not a duck. This means sometimes what the numbers tell us about students may not be consistent with who shows up for class everyday. We always meet our students on paper first. Test scores and grades can be misleading, because students … Read More →

Why Your Small Group Instruction Doesn’t Work!

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Guided Reading, Reader’s Workshop, and Math Workshop have narrowed teachers’ understanding of why small group instruction is necessary. These three instructional strategies use small group instruction to deliver math or reading instruction to students, which may lead many teachers to believe that they are interventions for students. Using small group instruction to close achievement gaps was introduced as Response to Intervention in 2004 within the re-authorization of the Individuals with … Read More →

3 Benefits of Small Group Instruction in the Math Classroom

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Teachers and administrators often confuse workstations and small group instruction.  Workstations are where students complete independent activities and is NOT a part of Response to Intervention. Most supporters of workstations would argue that workstations help students learn. Contrary to these beliefs there’s not any research that says that using workstations with small group increases student achievement. If you’ve never had your students in workstations no worries, as long as small … Read More →

Scaffolding Instruction to Support Diverse Learners

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The concept of scaffolding can actually be tied to Lev Vitgosky’s Zone of Proximal Development. Vygotsky believed that a learner’s developmental level consisted of two parts: the “actual developmental level” and the “potential developmental level. Scaffolding can be described as the bridge that is used to connect what a student already knows to the new learning that he or she will acquire. It is essentially connecting the new to the … Read More →

3 Reasons Why Teachers Struggle with Tier 2 Interventions

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Having students that are working at multiple grade levels can be stressful for even for the most seasoned teacher. It really shouldn’t be a surprise when teachers struggle with implementing Tier 2 interventions. The response to intervention model is very clear about what steps to take when students are not making progress with Tier 1 instruction. Yet, schools with large populations of  high need stundents continue to struggle to ensure … Read More →

Anecdotal Notes and Tier 2 Instruction

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You can say that I’m the master of disaggregating data. I’m that teacher who can’t wait for the results of any test because it gives me starting point. I love data. When there’s not any data or enough data I feel lost. Sadly I realize that this is not the case for many teachers. Most teachers that I have worked with have a basic understanding of using data to drive … Read More →