Sunday, November 13, 2011

Literacy Centers and Menus

If you have never happened upon this website I would highly recommend it.  I would also recommend subscribing to her weekly newsletter.  This is a literacy menu that she uses in her centers.  I have worked with many teachers and have always recommended this format for intermediate grades.  I really like it and it's really flexible to make it work for your classroom.  She also has some really great ideas for fluency centers as well :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Managing Severely Disruptive Behavior

This is a tips sheet for teachers my psychologist and myself have been working on to share with our staff who have these "friends" in their classroom.

Managing Severely Disruptive Behavior

1.    Misbehavior designed to get attention should be ignored
·        Train students on how to ignore the attention seeking behaviors
2.    Misbehavior that the  student may not realize is unacceptable should be corrected with brief information
·        Presented to the student in a calm, quick and private  manner
3.    Minor misbehavior that cannot be ignored should be dealt with by using an in-class consequence
·        This demonstrates to the student that if they engage in inappropriate behavior there will be a consequence for their choice
4.    Arrange for out of class consequences for severe misbehavior
·        Another classroom of very mature students who can ignore the student
·        Send to timeout room
5.    Determine the length of out of class placement
·        From the time the student is calm, they may owe a certain number of minutes
6.    Determine how the student will be returned to his classroom
·        A designated time the student should meet with an adult to discuss what happened and how they can avoid future outbursts and this meeting should be written down
·        Complete behavior improvement form before returning to classroom

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

OMG Fantastico :)

This is a fantastic blog for RTI and literacy :)  Please go and check it out.

Training for Aimsweb progress monitoring teachers :)

1.      Log in to

2.      All students are listed on your caseload

3.      The measure that they are being monitored for is listed:

·         MAZE: reading comprehension
·         RCBM: passage fluency
·         MCOMP: computation
·         MCAP:  Concepts and applications

4.      Click on schedule
·         This is goal start and end date
·         We will progress monitor each week on Wednesday
·         Under periodic review please add every 8 weeks

5.      Click on next score
·         Click show all weeks
·         Tab order: scheduled dates

6.      Goal: see tip sheet
·         In this tab you need to go in and type what the program is and the box below you need to type in what the program is
·         I have set the goals for each kids already.  When a student begins to make enough progress this is where you will update the goals.  You will use the Aimsweb norms.
·         What the program write up must include: who, where, why, how long, what, when, how often,

7.      Progress report

·         This is the report we will look at every 2 weeks for monitoring student growth.   You do not need to print out b/c we will project these

8.      Norms are under Reports and Aimsweb tab:  you will use these to determine the goal levels

Progress monitoring
·        You will progress monitor students every wed.  If you cannot do it on that day make sure you still enter is on Wed (student absent, field trip, assembly)
·        Click on downloads and then on progress monitor
·        Choose area to locate the probe
·        All probes start at #1 except for students who are completing both RCBM and MAZE (you will start on probe #33 for maze)
·        You will print these off and student will complete paper pencil version each week on WED,  then you will enter their scores in on Aimsweb that same day

Writing PLEP's (present level of progress) with Aimsweb

Here are a few samples for taking all the wonderful info you get from Aimsweb and using that in your goal writing and IEP writing:

________________'s current level of performance on a Kindergarten  AIMSweb LSF probe is  2 Letter Sounds/min, while the expected  level of performance is 14 correct Letter Sounds for Fall. 

_______________'s current level of performance on (CBM: 5th grade MCAP) is __________________, while the expected level of performance is  ________________ (use the aimsweb norms tables here)

When given the survey level assessment __________________'s score was average given a ______________ grade level probe for __________(MCAP)

Sunday, October 9, 2011


The district that I work in is using Aimsweb this year for the bottom 25th percentile of students.  The first step to be completed was benchmarking our students.  This was really helpful to see if they were truly the lowest and we had a lot that were not.  After we completed that we then had to go back and find their instructional level.  That is the step that we are currently on.  After we complete that then we will determine groups for interventions and I will help the teachers write their intervention plans for the students.  This time of year is very busy for me :)  Getting RTI up and running every year takes a lot of my time, but in the end it's worth it.  How is RTI going in your building?  Any body else using Aimsweb this year and if you are tell what you think of it and how you use it in your builidng.  Off to benchmark some more :)

Helping students learn to deal with their frustration

Dealing with Frustration

1.    Identify someone they can talk and confide in

2.    Gently correct them and use redirection
·        Remind the student what they should be doing

3.    Direct instruction for dealing with stress, tension, frustration, or anxiety
·        Teach student how to identify when getting tense and how they are feeling overall
·        Student should practice calming strategies throughout the day when not feeling that way

4.    Have both teacher and student develop an unobstrusive signal for when starting to feel or show signs of frustration so they can practice strategies

5.    Teach student to use positive talk: switch negative statement to positive

6.    Structure academic success for the student

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Possible computer based tool

Stumbled across this on Hello Literacy's blog.  Am going to look into it and thought I would share

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Interventions for students with sensory needs

Sensory Strategies

·        Allow children to work in a variety of positions; laying flat on the floor propped on elbows, standing at a table or easel, or lying on side and using a clipboard to write on
·        Ask child to repeat directions back to you before they start their work to ensure they understand
·        Have child do "chair pushups" (raising their body off the chair with hands next to them on their seat) and/or tie Thera-Band around their chair and have them stretch it using their legs while doing desk work
·        10 wall pushups, 10 jumping jacks, get up and run around desk 3 times
·        Frequently scheduled breaks: these must be predictable
·        Tactile interventions: fidget box filled with small manipulatives that kids can fiddle with
·        Reduce the number of problems on a page: decrease anxiety this way
·        Make sure the student is up and moving every 20 -30 minutes
·         Heavy work: Help rearrange desks in the classroom, Open and hold doors for the students in the class.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Reading Intervention for Comprehension: Paragraph Shrinking

Paragraph Shrinking

Paragraph shrinking helps you figure out the most important idea in what you just read. First, you think about the “who” or “what” the paragraph was mostly about and then you figure out the most important ideas about the who or what  and say this in ten words or

There are three steps to Paragraph Shrinking.
  First, name the who or what that the paragraph is mostly about.
  Second, tell the most important thing about the who or what.
  Third, tell or write a sentence of ten words or less, leaving out details.

“A seabird is any bird that spends most of its time at sea and depends on the sea and its islands for all its basic needs. The sea
provides food, and its remote islands and rocky outcroppings provide safe nesting and resting places. For 60 million years, these
highly specialized and diverse birds have adapted to life on the world’s vast oceans.”
(from Collaborative Strategic Reading, Vaughn and Klinger)

“I am going to show you how to paragraph shrink for the paragraph I just read. First, I figure out if the paragraph is about a “who”(a person) or a “what” (a place or thing). Then I will name the who or what the paragraph was mostly about.  We will call this the topic.”

“This paragraph was about a what. That what was seabirds. I figured it out by reading the beginning sentence. It was a topic sentence telling what a seabird was. The rest of the sentences gave information about seabirds.”

Second I will tell the most important information about the who or what. I learned that seabirds live, get food, rest and nest at the sea.”

“Third, I will say the main idea sentence in 10 words or less leaving out the details. There are three important things I need to remember about the main idea:
1)The main idea must be a complete sentence.
2) The main who or what only counts as one word.
3) A good main idea entence contains information that will help
you remember the important details in a paragraph.

“Seabirds get everything they need fromthe sea.”

  Ask the students if the paragraph is about a who or a what.
  After you have established whether the passage is about a who or what, ask the students to identify who or what it is about (the topic)

After students have determined  the “topic” for the main idea, ask them to identify the most critical information about the “who” or “what.” Be sure to emphasize that the students are looking for the most essential information -- not details.

 Guided Practice
  Next, students need to think about the who or what, what is important about the who or what and generate a main idea sentence in 10 words or less.
  Do a check whether the main idea sentence meets the criterion that a good main idea sentence contains information that will help students remember the important details in a paragraph.

Paragraph Shrinking - Independent Phase
  Read a paragraph (section of the text) aloud or have the students do this.
  Ask the students to work in pairs.
  Give the students a certain amount of time to Paragraph Shrink the paragraph just read.
  Help students if they are having trouble.
  After the time is up, either have the students share out or continue on to the next paragraph.
  Continue with this cycle until the passage is done.
  Have students share out their main idea sentences and explain how they got them.
  Do not assume students know how to identify paragraphs. You may have to teach them to identify the beginning and end of a paragraph.
  Some students may need help to figure out if the paragraph is about a who or what. Teaching them that if it is a fiction text or story, it usually is a who and if it is informational text, it is usually a what.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Written Expression Screener

We have just completed giving the written expression screener in our building for students 2-5.  We are starting to score those and that can be the really difficult task.  I am including the TIP sheet I created for teachers to use while scoring.  There is a lot more involved scoring rules, but these are some highlights.
Written Expression Cheat Sheet

Total Words Written (TWW):
·        A count of the number of words written
·        Defined as any letter or group of letters separated by a space, even if the word is misspelled or is a nonsense word

Correct Spelling Sequence (CSS):
·        A count of the number of words spelled correctly
·        A word is spelled correctly if it can stand alone as a word in the English Language

Correct Writing Sequence (CWS):
·        Defined as two adjacent writing units (word and word OR word and punctuation) that are acceptable within the context of what is written
·        Contextual clarity is an issue
·        Takes into account: spelling, grammar, punctuation, capitalization, syntax, semantics

CWS Error Tips
·        Circle words spelled incorrectly
·        Check for correct punctuation and mark with /
·        Punctuation must be present and the next letter capitalized
·        Commas must be used correctly in a series
·        Words must be grammatically correct
·        Words must be used correctly within the sentence

The adverse effect statement

This is an area that I have been working with teachers to make sure we have that focus in our PLEP's.  I am including some samples that we have been using.  The link listed at the bottom of the page is the new document for the state of KY for writing a new IEP with the core standards.  It does include a really nice section for PLEPS.  Feel free to check it out.  As I am working with teachers on writing IEP's we are using this document.  I am also creating these tip sheets to add to that document :)
Adverse Effect

Explains how the characteristics of the disability effect the student’s participation in the regular classroom and is written out in the PLEP for that area.

The pattern of withdrawal is becoming more evident which impacts the demonstration of the skills and concepts she has learned within her academic classes and impacts her interaction with others in academic and social settings.

Amanda's performance within content areas is adversely affected when the reading and comprehension level of text read within the general curriculum is above her current independent and functional level. Also, Amanda will have difficulty completing homework assignments when the material is above her independent reading level.

These deficits in the area of written expression will adversely affect Amanda's performance in the areas of writing to demonstrate understanding of concepts, responding to open ended / essay questions, portfolio completion, homework completion, and transference of skills to real-world situations.

Amanda's deficits in the areas of basic math and math comprehension will adversely affect her ability to complete and comprehend material within the curriculum requiring multiple steps, reasoning, and problem solving. She will also experience difficulty completing homework assignments, and using math skills for real-world situations such as banking, computing discounts and budgeting.

Mark’s motor challenges will impact his ability to access his educational environment.

Amanda's lack of social interaction skills, and inability to recognize the inappropriateness of some of her verbalizations will adversely affect her ability to self-advocate and to participate appropriately in a real-world group activity with her peers.

Her lack of social interaction skills and inability to recognize the inappropriateness of some of her verbalizations will adversely affect her ability to self advocate and to participate in a real-world activity with her peers.

Link to KDE (KY Department of Education) guidance document

Monday, September 5, 2011

Sample fluency RTI plan

Sample intervention plan for fluency

I am attaching a sample intervention plan that I created this week with a teacher for a small group intervention for fluency.  Please enjoy.  Let me know if you have any questions :) 

Update: I have my document loaded to google docs, but cannot figure out how to get it on here.  I am still working so stop back by later as I try to navigate getting it here :)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Helpful strategy for following directions

Precision Request Sequence

1.     Make a quiet “Please” request (please get your pencil and start working) to the student in a nonquestion format, up close with eye contact

2.    Wait a few moments after making request, and do not interact with student during this time

3.    If student starts to comply, verbally PRAISE the student

4.    If student does not comply within designated wait time, a second request is given with the signal word “need” (now I need you to get your pencil and start working)

5.    If the student starts to comply, verbally reinforce the student

6.    If the student still does not comply within designated wait time, implement time out strategy within the classroom

7.    If student does not take timeout appropriately then they will move to another classroom for timeout

8.    If will not take proper timeout in classroom then parent will be contacted

9.    If parent contact does not work, then student will receive level 2 discipline referral.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Tier 1 Behavior Mangement in the classroom

Positive Classroom Management

1.     Post 3 – 6 positively stated classroom rules
·        When you have discussions with the class or individuals about behavior or motivation issues, the posted rules should be a focal point
·        When you correct behavior misbehavior, it should be based on these rules
2.    Keep your attention focused on positive behavior
·        Interact frequently with students behaving well (call on them, praise them, comment on their work)
·        You need 3 positive interactions for every 1 negative
3.    Adjust your instructional techniques
·        If you tend to lecture a lot in whole group, you may need to switch to more actively involving the students
·        IF student are off task in cooperative group activities  take a few days to model and monitor appropriate behavior
4.     Examine your schedule of activities for a typical day and revise to ensure it’s a fast pace that keeps students engaged
5.    Make transition times more efficient
·        Set a defined time for each transition
·        Practice problematic transitions until the students are able to complete efficiently
·        Make sure to use a key phrase to gain student attention: class I need your attention please
6.    Respond calmly and consistently to each instance of misbehavior
7.    Provide feedback at the end of an activity/transition/event for the first month of school.

Recommended resources:
1.    CHAMPS book:  Module 4: the first month of school

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Dealing with the ODD kid :)

I am including some tips for dealing with an ODD student.  We have one that is really making us earn our pay checks each day.  We are at a standoff at this time, so I started digging around trying to come up with some tips for all the teachers that work with him.  Here is what I came up with.  If you have any tips please feel free to share them :)  This student is really making us pull some rabbits out of our hats. 
It is difficult for ODD students to comply with task demands. 

·        During classroom activities, provide student with the purpose for the task and to be completed
·        They have difficulty responding to corrective feedback and feedback in which they feel the adult is taking away their control
·        Instead of saying I like the way you followed the direction SAY: way to complete your work
·        Avoid I statements if possible
·        Give nonverbal feedback or even place a sticky note on his desk
·        Give constructive critiscm  in private and have him ask questions for what he doesn’t understand
·        Build in structured choice into his daily schedule
·        Predictable daily schedule that he can reference
·        Built in quiet time breaks within his schedule (no more than 10 minutes).  He can take his work to this location
·        Break students assignment down into smaller increments: worksheets cut in half, fourths, and presented one piece at a time
·        Student should have a signal that shows he is in distress

Sunday, August 28, 2011

What does Co-Teaching really mean to me???

The district I work in has changed their way of thinking!!  I know shocker if you work in the school system.  We are moving from using the words collaboration to co-teaching.  For us co-teaching has a much more defined role for the special education teacher than did the collab teacher.  Read below as I have summarized what this means for us. 

Co-teaching: involves 2 or more certified teachers who share instructional responsibility and join accountability for a single group of diverse learners via partnership strategies in a general education setting
·         This is looked at to give the student the best opportunity to access the general education curriculum
·         It’s provided when there is a need for significant amounts of explicit ongoing SDI to be delivered in the general education setting and when there is an intensive level of teacher support is critical to provide the student access to the curriculum

Types of Co-Teaching that should be used
Whole group:
1.      Teaming: 2 teachers teaching content together at the same time
2.      One Teach, One Observe: (lead and support) one is leading instruction while the other collects data through observation (designated behavior is being examined)
3.      One Teach One Assist: (shadow teaching) one teacher teaches primarily all the content and the other circulates around the room providing assistance
Small Group:
1.      Station teaching: students rotate through stations
·         A student without disabilities cannot be removed by the special education teacher to a separate location on a routine basis for extended lengths of time (this creates a legal problem)
2.      Parallel Teaching: class is divided into 2 groups
3.      Alternative Teaching: one instructs large group and other works briefly with a temporary formed group on instructional skills