Rewriting of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act


Here is some food for thought before the school year starts. There has finally been movement on rewriting the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)! Take a moment to read what changes may occur if made into law. One of the biggest changes that could come would be a significant decrease in the federal governments role in education.

What are your thoughts on the purposed changes?


We Must Demonstrate How to Regulate! Part II

In the previous post we learned about the cyclical phases of self-regulated learning.

1. Forethought Phase     2. Performance Phase     3. Self-reflection Phase

Self-Regulation in Elementary Schools (grades 1-5)

Self-regulation varies with students in grades 1-5. Teachers start to expect students to follow expectations, complete multi-step tasks and follow directions that demand more memory control. Expecting so much can make self-regulating difficult.

Elementary students will require supports to successfully negotiate new challenges. Luckily, as teachers we can be the support students need to continue the development of self-regulated learning.

In upper elementary, teachers’ roles are less about helping students learn to control their behaviors/learning and more about overseeing and focusing students’ behaviors, learning and attention so they can meet their goals. Due to influences of social pressure, peers and parents a teachers’ role becomes more challenging. But as educators, we are always up for a challenge!

Here are some strategies to support the development of self-regulated learning:

Forethought Phase: During this phase, students set goals and plan how to complete the learning task.


A. Model how to plan for a learning task. Break it into three planning phases.

1. Setting a goal

2. Determining the strategies needed to reach the goal

3. Decide on needed resources, time and materials to reach goal.

B. Teach students to track progress towards their goal (for example a checklist for completing a writing activity).

C. Celebrate the achievements of attaining goals by focusing in on the effort and strategies used.

Performance Phase: During this phase, students apply their plan, consider what is and isn’t working, decide if help is needed and make adjustments to successfully complete the learning task.


A. Encourage students to ask for help when they cannot complete the task independently. One way to encourage this behavior is to make two lists. One list to support students on knowing the “alerts” to needing help (for example: Alerts could be not knowing how to start a task or they have been working for more than 5 minutes on a problem) and a second list of the “alerts” to use to ask for help (Alerts for help could be raising a hand or holding up a red card/cup). Make these two lists as visual aids.

Help ALL students to know:

When they need help

That others can help

How to ask to get the help they need

Asking for help is okay

Self-Reflection Phase: During this phase, student reflect on the outcomes, what worked and what didn’t work, and what plans would have been a better choice.


The goal with teaching students about self-reflection is to teach them that they do not always need another person to tell them how well the are doing or how well they did.

Portfolios: Collecting, selecting, organizing and reflecting on work engages students in self-regulated reflection.

Self-Reflection Guide: A guide will support students through the process of reflection. To create a guide, write open-ended questions such as: Why is this my best work? What did I learn from completing this learning task? This was hard for me because….


In conclusion, we must remember that self-regulated learning is a process that students can acquire through modeling strategies and building a supportive and academically challenging environment. We must demonstrate to self-regulate!



Germeroth, C. & Day-Hess, C (2013). Self-Regulated Learning for Academic Success. ASCD. Print.

We Must Demonstrate How to Regulate! Part 1

Lately, my 3 and a 1/2 year old son has been tattling on anyone who is not doing what is expected. Right away I thought, “Great! My child is a tattler! Once he enters kindergarten, he will be a teacher’s nightmare!” Then, it dawned on me that it’s a sign of him starting to self-regulate. Self-regulating others comes before a child actually self-regulates them self. This is part of the process of developing self-regulation. During the next two posts, we will explore self-regulation and how we can support the development of self-regulated learners.




Self-Regulation is the ability to control one’s body and self, to manage one’s emotions, and maintain focus and attention (Shonkoff & Philips, 2000).

Self-regulation starts developing in early childhood and proceeds in 3 stages:

Stage 1: At this stage, children are regulated by adults. The external adult regulation provides expectations for behavior and oversees the children as they learn and employ the expectations themselves.

Stage 2: During this stage, children start to internalize expectations and exercise these to other people (tattling or pointing out the wrong done by someone else is a sign that a child is starting to notice both expectations and violations of those expectations).

Stage 3: At this stage, children freely apply expectations to themselves. Children may be able to prohibit themselves from doing something that violates expectations.

Self-regulation in the Classroom: 

Difficulty regulating oneself could lead to:

– Poor work habits

– Difficulty focusing

– Little motivation

– Behavior problems

Luckily, self-regulation can be modeled and taught in the classroom!

Self-Regulated Learning

Self-regulated learning is a process. A three-phase cyclical process.

Phase 1: Forethought Phase

During this phase, students focus on the expectations of the task,  the outcomes of the task and their interest or value they place on the task. Those early thoughts lead students to set goals and make a plan for approaching the task.

Phase 2: Performance Phase

At this point, students apply their plan to the actual problem or task. They monitor their plan to consider what is or is not working (or if the task is engaging or rewarding). Most importantly, students determine if they will need assistance, if they will complete the task, and what alterations need to be made to complete the task.

Phase 3: Self-Reflection Phase

During the self-reflection phase, students process through the outcomes of the task. They may process through the effort the task took, what worked and what didn’t work, and what plans would have been a better choice.

Self-Regulation in Elementary Schools (grades 1-5)

Self-regulation will vary with each student. Teachers expect students to follow expectations, complete tasks that contain multiple steps, and directions that need more memory control. Expecting so much can make self-regulation difficult.

Elementary students will require supports to successfully negotiate new learning tasks or social challenges. Luckily, as teachers we can be the support students in their need to continue their develop of self-regulation.

In upper elementary, teachers’ roles are less about helping students learn to control their behaviors/learning. It is more about overseeing and guiding students behaviors, learning and attention, so they can meet their goals. Due to influences of social pressure, peers and parents a teachers role to help self-regulation becomes more difficult. Even with these challenges, teachers can demonstrate and provided opportunities for students to develop their self-regulated learning.

In a future post we will explore (We Must Demonstrate How to Regulate! Part 2) ideas on how to support their students’ development of self-regulated learning.




Germeroth, C. & Day-Hess, C (2013). Self-Regulated Learning for Academic Success. ASCD. Print.

Zimmerman, B. Becoming a Self-Regulated Learner: An Overview. 2002. Theory Into Practice V. 41. N. 2. 64-70

Questioning the Questions


Last Friday’s presentation on Close Reading provided some information pertaining to Close Reading and Text-Dependent questions. As the presenter went through information, I kept asking myself questions about his method for preparing these types of questions. Why is his method such a process? Why do I need to answer questions to write question? Now that we know about Text-Dependent questions, why does’t he share a less time consuming way to prepare them?

After reflecting on these questions, I am giving the presenter the benefit of the doubt! He just didn’t have enough time to explain a less time-consuming way to write Text-Dependent questions! He presented valuable information that enable us to see the big picture of Text-Dependent questions.

As an educator, I know it is important to understand and have experience with the process of completing the Text-Dependent question forms. The forms take us through a process to write questions that are texted focused (words, phrases, sentences, paragraphs and connections between multiple parts) and questions that are aligned with Close Reading skills (ideas and details, craft and structure, and integrations of ideas and knowledge).  But in all honesty, I am not going to pull those sheets out each time I want to ask a Text-Dependent question.

After reading through multiple resources on Text-Dependent questions, I have focused my thoughts around two points. These two points provide me with enough guidance to write questions without forms and to formulate questions on the “run”.

When preparing text-dependent question I remember these two points:

1. Start small with “right there” questions and move into “think and search” questions.

2. Write questions that ask about what the text says, how the text works, and what the text means.

Even though, I have focused myself to two points, I know it will be important to periodically go back and review the forms for generating Text-Dependent questions in oder to not forget the big picture!

One last thing!  Attached are two documents that contain helpful Text-Dependent question starters.



Prescribing the Right Medication

When working with students that are in need of an academic intervention I think as if I were a doctor (of course without the pay)! Patients often ask doctors to screen them for diseases or illnesses. Screening tests are given, a diagnosis is made and then a treatment is prescribed to match the diagnosis. Treatment is give time to work. The doctor observes how well the treatment is working.  If the patient isn’t getting better the doctor may try a different dosage or change the frequency the medication is taken. Maybe the doctor needs to prescribe a different treatment/medication or maybe the illness was miss diagnosed. A doctor continually checks in to see how the progress of treatment is going and makes adjustments when needed.

As educators, we must think the same way! We need to diagnose student skill deficits, prescribe an intervention that targets the skill and continuously monitor to see how the progress of treatment is going.

The following are best practices to take to ensure interventions implemented constitute as an intervention (an implemented intervention plan that will achieve the most student growth).  Also, I have provided an example of a student (Student A) going through the intervention process.

Screening and Diagnoses:

Universal screeners are tools used to identify those at-risk students. Typically, universal screeners are administered to ALL students in the fall, winter and spring.  At times, further assessment is needed to pinpoint the specific skill deficit. Lincoln Street School uses the STAR assessment as their universal screener.

Example: Universal screen is administered and student A is  “flagged” as at-risk in reading fluency.

Prescribing a Treatment:

Once the specific skill deficit has been identified, a Tier II intervention targeting that skill will need to be “prescribed”. It is imperative to match the intervention to the student’s skill deficit. A teacher will need to determine the frequency (how often each week) and duration (length of minutes needed for each lesson) to implement the intervention. Most interventions have protocols to follow to maintain the fidelity. This would include the suggested frequency and duration of the intervention. Prior to implementation, a progress monitoring tool will need to be chosen. Progress monitoring allows an educator to:

– Assess a student’s performance prior to implementation of intervention

– Set end goal and determine expected growth rate

– Monitor student’s responsiveness to the intervention

After the baseline data (rate of performance prior to start of intervention) is collected a goal can be set and an end date chosen. The goal should be based on the expectation or rate of performance for that progress monitoring tool. For example, if using a running record Hasbrouck & Tindal have expected grade level word count per minute for fall, winter and spring.

Example: Student A was identified as needing a fluency intervention. The teacher will implement a Paired Reading Intervention. The intervention will last for 8 weeks (end date of December 29, 2014). The end goal is for the student to be reading 92-120 words per minute based on Hansbrouck & Tindal (winter for 3rd grade). A 1 minute timed running record will be used as the progress monitoring tool. After gathering baseline data, the teacher determined the students is reading 60 words per minute (WPM). Based on the baseline of 60 WPM and the end goal of 92-120 WPM the expected rate of growth is 8 words per 2 week period. The prescribed intervention will occur for 5 days a week for 5 minutes each day.

Observational Wait Time:

The prescribed intervention is given at a set frequency and duration. Frequency is how often the intervention occurs and duration is the number of minutes of intervention. Most researched based intervention have set protocols for duration and frequency. For more severe skill deficits, the intervention should be implemented more frequently.

After 2 weeks (two data points), the data should be reviewed for growth. A teacher needs to look at the data and ask “If the student continues at the current rate of growth will he/she meet the end goal?”

If the answer is no, then some possible adjustments will need to be made.

Further questions will need to be answered:

– Has the intervention been implemented with fidelity?

– Will adjusting the frequency, duration and/or group size increase the rate of growth so the end goal will be met?

– Is the intervention aligned with student’s skill deficit?

– Should a new intervention be implemented to target the same skill?

If the answer is yes, then continue implementing the intervention as designed.

If the answer is no, then the appropriate adjustments need to be made so the answer is then yes!

Example: Student A has completed two weeks of a Paired Reading intervention. The teacher completed a running record and noted the students rate was 70 WPM. The student’s baseline was 60 WPM.  That is a growth rate of 10 words per week (70 WPM – 60 WPM = 10 WPM). If the student continues at this rate for the 8 week intervention the end goal of 92-120 WPM will be achieved.

Continuous Check-Ins and Ending of Treatment:

Over the course of the implemented intervention bi-weekly progress monitoring occurs. This data will be used to note growth over time and to identify if adjustments need to be made to the intervention (frequency, duration, group size, etc). If the student makes adequate growth (as determined after each data point) over the course of the implemented intervention, then the student should meet the end goal. If the goal is met prior to the end date, then the intervention can be stopped. The student will need to be watched for any future concerns.


This educational “treatment” contains best practices/protocols when implementing an intervention. As stated in a prior post, RTI frameworks vary depending on the state, district and school. Therefore, some RTI frameworks may contain some differences, but in the end each plan must include:

– A universal screener

– An intervention with protocols

– Progress monitoring with end goal

Below is a completed intervention write-up for Student A. This detailed plan is not something that is necessarily needed to be completed on students receiving an intervention. It is meant to be used as a tool to better understand the process and best practices for implementing an intervention(an intervention so it constitutes as an intervention).

Intervention Plan



Code of Conduct for Educators

Most professions have code of conducts for responsibilities and proper practices. For example, The Association of Accountants and Financial Professionals in Business (IMA) has a “Statement of Ethical Professional Practice” that members must follow in their professional careers. The education profession has not had a code of conduct…until now!

The National Association of State Directors of Teachers Education and Certification (NASDTEC) has created a draft code of conduct for education. They are looking for comments on the draft. Feel free to read and provide your thoughts.

Let’s Put the Horse Before the Cart!


Before exploring progress monitoring and interventions, we must put the horse before the cart. That is, we must first look at Response to Intervention or what the N.H. Department of Education calls Response to Instruction.  In this post, we will briefly explore RTI’s history and New Hampshire’s RTI framework (frameworks vary slightly state-to-state).

A Little RTI History: 

The RTI practice stemmed from Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This law was passed in 1997 to ensure schools were held accountable and that academic progress was occurring. In 2004, IDEA was reauthorized to further the push for results in students progress and increase funding (5% to 15%). Also, individuals are now able to qualify for Special Education by their response to interventions. In the past, students would qualify for Special Education “based on the discrepancy between academic achievement and intellectual ability” (Buffum, Mattos, Weber, 18) Thus, educators use a framework to closely observe students struggling and provide interventions prior to referral (Buffman, Mattos, Webber, 2008).

What is RTI?

Response to Intervention is a practice used to ensure two aspects of teaching:

1. High-quality instruction and interventions meet the needs of learners.

2. Rate of academic growth and levels of performance is used to guide instructional decisions (Buffman, Mattos, Webber, 14).

The RTI framework is based on a three tier model.


Figure 3.

A Brief Look at the 3 Tiers:

As seen in the above figure, New Hampshire’s Response to Instruction (RTI) triangle has 3 tiers.

Tier I includes:

– Core instruction and universal interventions for all students.

– Universal interventions include flexible grouping, learning centers, scaffolding, peer tutoring, enrichment or extensions, differentiation, reteaching, and additional practice (Integrated Instructional Framework for Transformation: NH Response to Instruction Model for Implementation, p. 10).

– Universal screening for all to identify at-risk students and those who surpass benchmarks.

Tier II  includes:

– Additional explicit and systematic instruction aligned with Tier I core instruction.

– Targeted skill instruction to students not making adequate growth or meeting benchmarks.

– Interventions that are differentiated and scaffolded based on student’s targeted skill.

– Progress monitoring to track growth, level of performance and effectiveness of intervention/instruction.

– Instruction that is provided by highly qualified staff

Tier III includes:

– Instruction for students with severe academic needs and students who have not made adequate growth at Tier II.

– Instruction that is systematic, more intensive and closely aligned with student’s needs.

– Frequent progress monitoring to track growth, level of performance and effectiveness of intervention/instruction.

– Instruction provided is delivered by highly trained staff.

In conclusion, Tier 1 provides instruction for all students. As universal screening data is analyzed, slow-to-respond or non-responsive students receive more intensive and individualized interventions/instruction based on targeted skills. After analysis of progress monitoring data of Tier II students, a small percentage may need more intensive Tier III instruction due to persistent and sever academic needs.

Now that we have put the horse before the cart, we can explore interventions and progress monitoring in future blog posts.

Please feel free to post thoughts and questions pertaining to the tiers of RTI.


A. Buffum, M. Mattos & C. Webber. Pyramid Response to Intervention. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree, 2008, Print.

New Hampshire Department of Education. Integrated Instructional Framework for Transformation: NH Response to Instruction Model for Implementation. September 2013.  Web. February 8, 2015. (