Greetings from "The RTI Guy"!

Last week I started discussing the eight different models of implementing small group interventions.  This week we will continue that discussion.

First a disclaimer...many of you emailed asking about what "Tier" these small groups are in.  Although I usually don't like to get caught up in the "Tier" game because it is just semantics, I do want to point out that the small group interventions we are talking about are NOT part of Tier One.

Tier One usually refers to the instruction a teacher does with his or her full class.  Often times this full-class instruction will include work in small groups.  The research supports this in reading, math and other subjects.  That is NOT what we are discussion in this three week series.

After a student has received Tier One instruction for a period of time it is possible that their progress monitoring may not be showing a pattern of adequate growth.  At this time a decision is often made to supplement (or replace) full class instruction with an additional small group intervention.  Whether your school calls that Tier Two or Tier Three...that is what we are discussing in this three week series.

The first three models that I wrote about last week implement small group interventions instead of core instruction.  This means that the intervention takes place during the same time that core instruction is happening in the classroom.  We covered three of these models last week.

The last five models implement small group interventions in addition to core instruction.  This means that the student stays in the classroom for all of core instruction.  Then, at another time of the day, the student received additional minutes of instruction. 

This week I will spend some time covering the three of the five models that deliver interventions instead of instruction.  Next week I will finish this three-week series by looking at the two most popular small group models.

A school needs to choose one of these eight models to successfully implement Tier Two small group interventions. 

The one thing you do NOT want to do is say to your teachers: "They are your students, YOU figure out when to deliver the interventions!"  This is a recipe for failure.  An important part of leadership in RTI is selecting a model that gives teachers a time, a place and the people to deliver small group interventions.

Let's start looking at the models that deliver interventions in addition to core instruction.  Remember, in these models the student stays in class during core instruction.  Then, during a different part of the day the student receives additional minutes of instruction.

Here are three models you may wish to consider:

Model #4: Classroom Teacher Delivers Intervention Outside of Class Time

In this model the student remains in class for core instruction.  At another time during the day the teacher meets with the student to deliver additional minutes of targeted instruction.

Strengths:  More minutes of instruction.  Continuity of instruction.

Weaknesses:  The teacher only has so many minutes during the day, so this usually steals from planning time.  The student may not have free time and may need to miss a different class to receive this instruction.

Model #5:  Another Adult Delivers Intervention Outside of Class Time

This model is similar to Model #4 except the targeted intervention is delivered by an adult other than the regular classroom teacher.  The adult delivering the intervention may be a reading specialist, an instructional aide, or any other adult trained to deliver the intervention.

Strengths:  Easier to schedule.  Less burden on the classroom teacher.

Weaknesses:  Requires good communication between the classroom teacher and the adult delivering the intervention.  Student may still be missing another class.

Model #6:  Common Location

In this model, teachers of a particular subject work together to create a location where students can go for additional instruction.  For instance, math teachers may form a math lab where students can go throughout the day to receive extra math help.  Certain students are assigned to go this location at a specific time for a targeted small group intervention.  Reading and writing teachers may form a similar skills lab.

Strengths:  This is a great model for secondary schools which have students moving around the building throughout the day.

Weaknesses:  Continuity of instruction is difficult because different teachers will be providing help in this location throughout the day.

Additional Thoughts:

Of the three models above, elementary schools usually choose Models #4 and #5, while secondary schools gravitate toward Model #6.

Model #4 can really stress the time constraints of teachers, while Model #5 can stress the limited personnel of schools.

Next week I will describe the two most popular small group models.  Hopefully this will start your school down the path of choosing a model that meets the needs of both your students and your teachers!

Let me know what questions you have...and how you have implemented Tier Two or Tier Three small group interventions at your school!

Have a great week!

-Pat Quinn
"The RTI Guy"
Last modified: Wednesday, 29 December 2010, 12:11 PM