Our Blog

Prepare to Reconnect Students to Learning after the Holidays

  • by Cindy Jones
  • Dec. 12, 2020, 4:45 p.m.

The COVID pandemic has disrupted many students’ connection to school and learning. Some students depend so much on school for their social interaction, for a lot of resources, and for just the comfort of something consistent. This is a difficult time to be a teacher AND a student. What steps can we employ to help students reconnect and stay connected to school?

Here are ideas that have worked for educators both in the classroom and on-line.

Read More »

Engaging Virtual Learners

  • by Kelly Harmon
  • Dec. 12, 2020, 4:44 p.m.

By Kelly Harmon

I was talking to my 8th grade nephew a few weeks ago about his experience with virtual learning. He said Google Meet was better than sitting in the same class all day long, spaced six feet apart. He likes being at home, able to get something to eat or drink anytime he wanted. When I asked him if he turned his camera on and participated in class discussions, he said no because "no one else does." He said he'd do it if others did.

This got me thinking about how to build an online community of learners who feel safe to share their cameras and speak up during discussions. How can we give students a reason to turn on the camera? How can we help students see that they have commonalities with each other? It really boils down to starting each session with the social and emotional connections and then moving into the lesson content.


Read More »

Using Formative Assessments to Design Tier 1 and Tier 2 Intervention Groups

  • by Ashley Taplin
  • Nov. 11, 2020, 11:30 a.m.

By Ashley Taplin


As I think about interventions, I am reminded of a quote by Mike Mattos in which he says, “the best intervention is prevention.” When interventions are embedded within daily formative assessments, students can see that learning is an ongoing process. Below are some strategies that can be used virtually or in-person, and give both students and teachers clear next steps for learning.


Read More »

5-3-1 Rating System

  • by Kelly Harmon
  • Nov. 11, 2020, 11:25 a.m.

I like to use a rating system with students. I explain that a rating of 5 means you are an expert and you could teach someone else. A rating of a 3 means you are an apprentice. You need more coaching and/or practice to clear up misconceptions or misunderstandings. A rating of 1 means you are a novice. You are just beginning to learn the learning target. There may be vocabulary in the learning target that you don't recognize or understand. At the 1 or 3 level, you can set personal learning goals. This might sound like "I'm a novice and I need to know what character motivations are and how you would describe them."

Read More »

Using Success Criteria to Prevent and Plan for Interventions.

  • by Kelly Harmon
  • Nov. 11, 2020, 11:07 a.m.

Impactful instruction is very intentional. From planning the learning targets to planning how students will practice and demonstrate learning, we work to provide clarity for our students. Success criteria brings everything into focus for the learner.


Dr. John Hattie defines success criteria as:

Success criteria are the standards by which the project or performance will be judged at the end to decide whether or not it has been successful. They are often brief, co-constructed with students, aim to remind students those aspects on which they need to focus, and can relate to the surface (content, ideas) and deep (relations, transfer) successes from the lesson(s). 


The effect size of using success criteria is a .88-over 2 years of growth in one year!

Read More »

Micro and Macro Interventions

  • by Kelly Harmon
  • Nov. 11, 2020, 11:05 a.m.

During Tier 2, the goal is to provide teaching and time for students to master grade level standards. Many times, students are missing necessary prerequisite knowledge and skills. We gather assessment data, plan how we will assess growth and mastery, and then provide multiple learning opportunities for students who need time to master the critical grade level learning goals. We follow up with a post assessment to determine the learning and effectiveness of the intervention.

Read More »

Micro-Interventions for Students Who Are Chronically Disorganized

  • by Cindy Jones
  • Nov. 11, 2020, 9:52 a.m.

by Cindy Jones


My grandson, Charlie is thirteen and in 8th grade. He is a good student and generally likes school, but he has been diagnosed with ADHD and has problems with paying attention and organizational skills. The Covid 19 pandemic has made the problem much worse. Today, many students have increased frustration due to changes in school structure and instruction.


My daughter really wanted to help Charlie, but had no idea where to start. After some research, she discovered the book, That Crumpled Paper Was Due Last Weekby Ana Homayoun. The author is a specialist who works with teenage boys who struggle with organizational and time management issues.


Read More »

Using Padlet to Create Discussion Groups

  • by Kelly Harmon
  • Nov. 11, 2020, 9:40 a.m.

The tech tool Padlet might be a great fit for silent discussions. Padlet is an online bulletin board that can be used in many different ways. It is free to sign up; however, you can only make three Padlets before you need to upgrade to a monthly or yearly subscription. Teachers can get a 30-day free trial before upgrading to the monthly or annual plan.I definitely think it's worth the monthly subscription. I use it to streamline communications with learners.

Read More »

Growing in Math Fact Fluency-Planning and Delivering Interventions that Work

  • by Ann-Elise Record
  • Nov. 11, 2020, 9:35 a.m.

By Ann Elise Record


In my consulting work, I’m frequently asked about how interventionists can structure their limited time with students to be the most impactful. There are two areas of content that I think are often not given enough instructional time that can be incredibly powerful and positively affect students’ achievement as well as their disposition: fluency and word problem structures. It’s all about finding out the students’ strengths and then building on them. In this post, I’ll be focusing on fluency and next month I’ll delve into word problem types.

Read More »

Using Teflon Responses in Challenging Situations

  • by Cindy Jones
  • Oct. 20, 2020, 3:28 p.m.

By Cindy Jones

Some students enjoy “pushing our buttons”. It is very entertaining for them when we lose our cool and get frustrated. So, when you are verbally intervening with a student, do not get into a power struggle.


Read More »