In the RtI model, teachers often struggle to implement effective Tier 1 strategies. RtI implementation depends on these strategies, so make sure that you’re familiar with them and how to use them.
Grabbing Students’ Attentions
If you see some students’ attentions wandering often, there are intervention strategies you can use to keep them on track. A few of the most effective strategies follow:
- Randomly call on students so that they will constantly be on alert. Calling on students or alphabetical order or according to the seating chart will almost definitely result in a lack of attention from students who have just been called on.
- Avoid slow, repetitive instruction. Although many teachers think that underachievers need information to be taught more slowly, teaching at a brisk pace is much more likely to keep them alert and paying attention.
Notice and praise students who are paying attention. Giving positive reinforcement to students who have stayed on-task will encourage other students to follow their lead.
If some gifted students in your class appear bored, try speaking the administration about making the model work for gifted students as well.
Dealing With Defiance
Another issue that might come up at Tier 1 is that of defiance, or refusal to listen to instructions. It can be easy to get pulled into an argument with a student. Don’t. Instead, try one of these instructional strategies.
- Give students a break to cool themselves down. Sometimes that’s all they need, and it allows themselves to see everything in perspective.
- Emphasize the positive aspect of your request. Instead of saying “Sit down and raise your hand, or I won’t answer your question," phrase it as “When you sit down and raise your hand, I’ll be able to answer your question." A small difference to you, but it can make a big difference in whether your student reacts defensively.
- Listen actively to your student. Rather than trying to get her to see your point of view, focus on truly trying to understand hers. Rephrase her statements to make sure that you’ve understood correctly.
Teaching Organizational Skills and Study Skills
If you have students whose binders look like piles of papers, who seem to forget about tests until the night before, or whose notes are so illegible and incomplete that you can’t tell which class they’re from, it is important to use instructional strategies that can teach students how to become more organized and study more effectively. The following are some Tier 1 strategies, RtI approved, that you can use to teach these skills:
- Make sure students understand that studying should not begin the night before the test. Explain by reviewing their notes and readings each night, as well as immediately before class, they will make sure that they understand what they’ve learned. Consequently, studying before the test will be much easier. Developing nightly study partners or daily oral reviews at the beginning of class can help them learn this skill.
- Teach structured note-taking. Although there are several ways to do this, one way is to have students divide their papers into three sections – a main center section and two large margins. During class, students should take notes in the main section. After class, they can summarize their notes in one margin and write down questions that they still need answered in the other.
- Help students develop study schedules, especially before large tests, midterms, or finals. This will help you ensure that students understand how to budget their time and can encourage them to stay on task while studying.
- Occasionally schedule time for students to organize their binders and papers. Offer suggestions about possible methods of organization, as well as about which papers can be filed for later. You may want to suggest that students use file folders or other devices to store very old papers.