Developing Effective Learners: RTI Strategies for Student Success

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Proactively address your students’ diverse needs, using multitiered systems of support (MTSS) and response to intervention (RTI). Developing Effective Learners details how to respond to students’ academic, emotional, and behavioral challenges; embrace learning differences; and create inclusive classroom environments. Readers will learn how to use tiered RTI instructional strategies to support continuous improvement. This book also offers tiered lessons, practical resources, instructional and staff scenarios, student vignettes, and responsive evidence-based interventions, all designed to help simplify the intervention process.

Develop an RTI Model

Benefits

  • Discover the best research-based instructional strategies and review the supporting evidence.
  • Better understand RTI education and how differentiated instruction can improve students’ literacy and math skills.
  • Learn how to plan multitiered grade-level instruction across disciplines.
  • Receive guidance on how to implement tiered intervention to meet students’ learning needs.
  • Find out how to create a supportive classroom culture that helps close achievement gaps and drives academic success.

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Chapter 1

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Chapter 1

The ABCs of RTI

Every student comes into the classroom with a unique collection of prior knowledge, skills, motivating factors, methods of retention, and behavioral characteristics. This is evident in the following classroom scenarios.

Farfrum Fluent, a fourth-grade student, has excellent visual memory and fared well in his prior grades; he was even able to name the letters of the alphabet at an early age. Now, when he is asked to read a passage, he panics and sometimes misbehaves. For example, he takes delight in making the class laugh in order to distract the teacher and other students from noticing his reading difficulties. Farfrum has learned to get by by memorizing words; he has not learned how to decode words or recognize their individual sounds. His reading difficulties went undetected in earlier grades because he dutifully completed his assignments with the help of his teachers and his family. Farfrum now struggles to decipher the unfamiliar words coming at him at a rapid pace. Without direct systematic instruction in phonemic awareness,

 

Chapter 2

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Chapter 2

Preassessment, Vigilance, and Ongoing Assessment

Early identification of struggling learners is the essential first step in the process to establish academic, social, emotional, and behavioral baselines that identify what skills individual learners must develop and the eventual selection of appropriate strategies within a multitiered system of support. Preassessment, vigilance, and ongoing assessment reveal students who are functioning on and above level, and those learners who need either supplemental or more intensive instruction. This chapter focuses on how these three RTI diagnostic elements connect to strategies and interventions for literacy and mathematics instruction and the social, emotional, and behavioral domains of learning.

Preassessment is a diagnostic process to establish a learner’s baseline level. Preassessment tells teachers what students know and what they need to know to increase their skill sets in academic or behavioral areas.

Vigilance is the vehicle that sustains the whole process. The idea is that no one waits until a student has failed or not achieved progress to intervene is critical. Vigilance involves awareness that includes observation with careful and collaborative staff responsiveness with appropriate instructional strategies. General and special education teachers, along with school psychologists, guidance counselors, and other school personnel collaborate to problem solve and make decisions that value learner achievements.

 

Chapter 3

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Chapter 3

Evidence-Based

Interventions

This chapter examines the benefits of evidence-based interventions within the RTI framework. It looks at what we know based on cognitive science about how students’ brains acquire and use information to learn new material and complex tasks. Two approaches—(1) understanding by design (UbD) and (2) universal design for learning (UDL)—help educators maintain rigor while considering individuality to proactively organize instruction beyond learners’ labels to monitor their progress and plan for successful outcomes.

This chapter presents a framework for how to set up inclusive classrooms that respectfully respond to diversity with proactive plans that are implemented in Tier 1 instruction. UbD and UDL present practical strategies for developing and maintaining effective learners. These practices also have value for instruction and assessment in all tiers with applicability to the whole class, small groups, and individual learners.

 

Chapter 4

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Chapter 4

Instruction That Engages and Motivates

Schools are filled with diverse learners. Some are engaged, some can’t engage, and others choose not to engage. This lack of engagement can stem from a lack of motivation or an inability to engage, such as from a lack of prior knowledge, internal distractions, and external distractions. A learner can be distracted by self-doubt, fear, anxiety, or something that happened earlier in the day. Other distractions can include such things as visual and auditory distractions (being seated by a window or the ping of an incoming text message, for example). Each learner has his or her own triggers. One student may work well with quiet background music, while another learner may find the noise distracting, being unable to concentrate. Thus, even if educators develop an excellent curriculum, some students will not engage in the material if they are unable or unwilling to interact with the curriculum—if they don’t have the motivation and attention to engage.

 

Chapter 5

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Chapter 5

Lessons for

Diverse Learners

Multitiered instruction responds to learner diversity; teachers should structure literacy and mathematics programs and deliver instruction in specific ways that meet the needs of a diverse population of learners.

Scaffolding—the use of varied educational techniques—involves meeting learners at the level where they are with a goal of minimizing frustration. It occurs within a zone of proximal development, Lev S. Vygotsky (1978) defines. This zone represents what a learner can do with help (as opposed to what he or she can or cannot do alone). In this zone, educators build on learners’ strengths, using contextual, social, and temporary frameworks to support successful learning.

The frameworks must include ongoing practice to solidify the learning. For example, distributed practice is when a student’s practice is dispersed over a span of time in smaller chunks. This strategy has been shown to boost students’ performance across many criterion tasks and educational contexts (Dunlosky et al., 2013). Learners who analyze complex text ideas, convey information, and apply mathematical procedures sometimes require more practice to absorb, organize, and retain the content. Before you scaffold learning, establish students’ prior knowledge. David Wood, Jerome S. Bruner, and Gail Ross (1976) started the conversation on how learner frustration is diminished if students are appropriately directed toward learning a task. Independence is therefore sometimes achieved with help.

 

Appendix

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Appendix

Additional Resources

The following are RTI resources. They include websites and articles to support and sustain RTI implementation. (Visit go.SolutionTree.com/RTI to access live links to websites mentioned in this book.) nn

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Center on Response to Intervention at American Institutes for Research (www.air.org/project

/center-response-intervention)

Center on Response to Intervention at American Institutes for Research’s “What Does

It Take to Implement MTSS? Finding Professional Development Resources to Support

Implementation” (http://bit.ly/2h1d0FY)

National Center on Intensive Intervention at American Institutes for Research’s Instruction

Tools Chart (www.intensiveintervention.org/resources/tools-charts)

RTI Action Network’s “What’s Your Plan? Accurate Decision Making Within a Multi-Tier

System of Supports: Critical Areas in Tier 2” (http://bit.ly/1FafxRP)

The following are literacy resources. They include websites and articles to support students who struggle with reading. nn

 

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