Response to Intervention

What is RTI

  • High-quality, scientifically based classroom instruction
  • Ongoing Assessment
  • Tiered instruction
  • Parent Involvement

How do I get started?

1. RTI Action Network

The RTI Action Network is a comprehensive website that can help support your planning and implementation.

2. Get connected with Pat Quinn, The RTI Guy

Pat is a classroom teacher with a passion for RTI. He know it can go all sorts of wrong and has the knowledge and fails to support you.


Here's Pat's next FREE ONLINE TRAINING (Link below)

Motivating Unmotivated Students
featuring Pat Quinn

Monday, February 19th
8:00 p.m. Eastern
7:00 p.m. Central
6:00 p.m. Mountain
5:00 p.m. Pacific

This 60-minute training will show you:

-- Teaching Strategies to Motivate your Unmotivated Students!

-- Strategies that save you time, energy and stress!

-- Specific ways to help under-achieving students succeed!

-- The 3 mistakes you MUST avoid this school year!

PLUS great prizes and free resources!

This online training is perfect for teachers of all subjects and grade levels K-12.  You can participate from any computer in the world with internet access!  

Here is the best part:  You can share this invitation with ALL of the staff members at your school, plus colleagues, friends and family from other schools!

Click here to sign up...Advanced Registration is REQUIRED:




Engaging Everyone Easily; Even Jimmy

Authors Persida and Wiliam Himmele wrote Total Participation Techniques, so that every teacher could not only engage Jimmy, but assess him throughout the learning sequence using higher-order thinking prompts. One of their most famous tools for engagement are Bounce Cards so that students can bounce abound ideas, thoughts, and extended learning.  Print them out today for scaffolding learning tomorrow.

You can find the book online (about 20 bucks). I'm also willing to bet, you might find one on your campus somewhere (free)!

You can find the book online (about 20 bucks). I'm also willing to bet, you might find one on your campus somewhere (free)!

Visit the Total Participation Techniques Website for more information.

Today's TXTS 4 Teachers content was provided by the illustrious Dr. Judith Campbell.

Wah wah wah wah wah....

Jan Burkins and Kim Yaris wrote a book on a project titled, "Who's Doing the Work." Something I know you say to yourself often. But what if you did less and the students did more?

Limiting "Teacher Talk," Increasing Student Work author Tori Filler shares the meat of this project in her Achieve the Core article. She explained the after only a month and a half of working on the project, 90% of the teachers reported that their students were more engaged and that they were, in fact, talking much less than previously. Here's some tips that the participants found most effective.

  • Elicit 100% participation
    • Example strategy: Think, Write, Pair, Share based on a MEATY question
  • Beef up discussions
    • Example strategy: Reduce ping pong between one student and you. Include others teaching them how to listen first, then agree, contrast, add on, and so forth.
  • Read, read differently, then read differently
    • Example strategies: Increase reading time by providing support strategically, use partner reads, echo read, re-read, annotate, cite evidence.
  • Build Independence
    • Sample Strategies: Explicitly teach students to engage, facilitate student-led discussions, read and re-read more, and self-assessment (and how to adjust one's self).

If you visit the article, you can find the entire list of strategies.

Challenge: Do a small scale research project in your own classroom by implementing one of the strategies for two weeks. You might be surprised what you learn.


Resource attributed to Michele Rutin, Peer Evalutor and Education Aficionado.


APPS for Special Needs

In a recent Achieve the Core blog, Dr. Drost shared APPS for special needs students. These Apps help teachers:

  • help students ACQUIRE the content standards

  • help students PROGRESS with meaningful feedback

  • measure PROFICIENCY of learning

  • SUPPORT students in learning the content

Here is the first of three Apps that Dr. Drost shared in his blog post.

"TextTeaser summarizes the content from a webpage as a list of sentences or in paragraph form. What’s really great is that you adjust the output using a slider to give different detail levels of the passage or article (Drost, 2018)." Now that's an easy tool for any teacher who needs a different reading level of any webpage content! Visit the blog for 2 more APPS just as robust and designed for multiple grade levels.

"TextTeaser summarizes the content from a webpage as a list of sentences or in paragraph form. What’s really great is that you adjust the output using a slider to give different detail levels of the passage or article (Drost, 2018)."

Now that's an easy tool for any teacher who needs a different reading level of any webpage content! Visit the blog for 2 more APPS just as robust and designed for multiple grade levels.



Totally unrelated but absolutley necessary.

Get your AZ bucket list here and go make 2018 a year of adventure.

Free STEM Event

STEM Pro Live airs this Wednesday from OdySea Aquarium!


STEM Pro Live! has featured engineers, app developers, researchers, business owners, and other STEM professionals from companies and agencies including Intel, Medtronic, the Arizona Coyotes, Maricopa County Air Quality, Freeport McMoRan, Arizona State University, and Butterfly Wonderland.

STEM Pro Live! broadcasts are the third Wednesday of every month (excluding June, July, and August) from 9:00 to 9:30 am. Click here to register.


Looking for more?

STEM Resources that MCESA provides are:


STEM Pro Live!

Next Generation of Innovators Speakers Series

360 STEM Adventures

Solve It!

Engineering STEM Identity

STEM Immersion Guide

STEM Walkthrough Protocol

STEM Teacher Support

STEM Leadership Series



How do you teach an intorvert?

Do your students raise their hands excitedly to give responses?

Do your students work together or collaborate often?

If you answered yes to either one, you might be rewarding extroverts and forgetting about your introverts.


Susan Cain founded the Quiet Revolution and immediately went to work on changing classrooms. In a 2012 TED Talk she stated that educators "unconsciously reward extroverts who dive headfirst into discussions, sometimes without much forethought." Her work shows us how to measure engagement versus participation.

Here's some tips to support your introverts:

1) End hand raising practices.

2) Evaluate body language and "facial feedback"

3) End traditional Think-Pair-Share, go for Think-WRITE-Pair-Share

4) Learn how your students learn

5) Look for culture differences. In some cultures listening is prized more than speaking.

6) Engage one-on-one

7) Help students explore their preferences


Ready to learn more?

Read Teaching Introverted Students: How a "Quiet Revolution" is Changing Classroom Practice by Brenda Iasevoli.

Watch Susan Cain's TED Talk.

Visit the Quiet Revolution website which also includes tips for parents of introverts.





So, What's Involved in the CRA Process?

Concrete - Representational - Abstract

It is how our mind works!

Ever wonder why your students don't know the why behind division, exponents or fractions? It could be that they cannot SEE what is happening which makes concepts out-of-reach.

Check out the CRA process in the video below, and while you are there, think about the vertical and horizontal alignment of the math standards.


Visit Research-Based Education and Strategies for explanations, steps to take, examples, and benefits.

Try it for a month and you won't regret it.




Making Reciprocal Teaching Work

By this time of the year, your students are ready to take the reins. Teaching them how to run their own reading group (in any content area) frees you up to pull small groups, check in with certain students, assess students' skills, and so on.

This link will take you to a great resource for roles, instructions, graphic organizers, role cards, question stems, examples, self-reflective feedback forms, and more. You can literally implement this tomorrow. Have fun and get those students working harder than you!


What are you going to do over winter break? Check out Visit Phoenix for things to do around town.

Are we done yet???

"By using our students’ behavior as the barometer instead of the clock, we will all be able to achieve the lovely ebb and flow we envisioned before students came."

-Read about Lori Sabo's realization here.


The previous blog post comes from a teacher run Website that houses tons of resources and learning opportunities. It's called the Daily Cafe and is managed by two sisters who are also top-notch educators. I am signed up for the weekly newsletter which offers great nuggets like the one I just re-posted. The great thing is that The Sister's know our time is precious, so the nuggets are short, sweet, and to the point.

If you would like to share your favorite education resource, comment below.


******************* TIME TO DO SOMETHING FOR YOU ***********************

Fill your bucket at our local Phoestivus Celebration.

Fill your bucket at our local Phoestivus Celebration.

Proceeds support Community Food Connections. CFC is non-profit supporting small biz & local farmers.

Wed., Dec. 17

4 p.m. - 9 p.m.

Phoenix Public Market

721 North Central Avenue

Responding to Tragedy

Hurricanes, shootings, fires, abuse, hunger... Whether first hand or second hand, bad things affect our precious youth every day.

While we would all love to protect our kids (our own and our students) from tragedy, we simply do not have that power. But what you do as the adult in charge can lessen the emotional impact and offer great support. Your actions are a game changer.

How Teachers And Schools Can Help When Bad Stuff Happens posted last month on NPR Ed supports educators with practical advice. Anya Kamenetz shares that "The National Survey of Children's Health consistently finds that nearly half of American children experience at least one adversity such as physical abuse or food insecurity, and 1 in 5 experience at least two." 

She offers these reminders or starting points:

  • Address community issues sensitively from the beginning.
  • Remember that fear comes from a lack of control, a safe environment is crucial.
  • Be aware of acting out behaviors or withdrawal. Keep family/counselor apprised.
  • CARE for Teachers teaches "mindfulness: calming the body and mind through breathing and movement, and using insights from psychology to better regulate your emotions."
  • Give choices to acting out rather than punishment.

You do so much everyday to help children, and they are better because of you! A fact you should never question. If you are experiencing trauma yourself, get support. You must take care of yourself before you can take care of others. Find a support group near you ranging from grief to PTSD to adolescent support. We wish you well over the holidays and a great upcoming New Year.



Knock, knock.

Who's there?

I forgot!


The research is in. Our brains are hardwired to forget. Which may explain why the kitchen trash never seems to go out!

It's frightening to study the Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve (below), but we can ALL identify! Fortunately, research also tells us what we can do in our classes to fight these odds. Scroll down for some quick tips.

Source: stuffforeducators

Source: stuffforeducators

 Why Students Forget---and What You Can do About It by Youki Terada shares with us 5 researched strategies to make the learning "stick."

  1. Student Conversations "not only increases retention but also encourages active learning (Sekeres et al., 2016)."
  2. Practice and practice aligned activities to give "multiple opportunities to review learned material."
  3. Frequent formative and fun assessments reduce anxiety as students become accustomed to showing what they know. 
  4. Mixing it up. Grouping similar problems together to have the students practice over and over in just one way decreases thinking. Mix up problems/strategies to increase thoughtful learning.
  5. Images (or non-linguistic representations) help students recall information by attaching context to a visual cue.

Read the full article here.


Thank you, Veterans!

Amp up the ol' standby (letter writing) this Veterans Day.

Here's 11 ways to celebrate our heroes.

  1. Wear a red poppy or yellow ribbon
  2. Make a care package (see Blur Star Moms)
  3. Visit veteran's in a VA hospital
  4. Teach about honoring veterans through crafts
  5. Use the topic to write lesson plans
  6. Invite a veteran to speak to your class
  7. Take poppy cookies or a yellow ribbon cake to the office/lounge
  8. Attend local events
  9. Commit to volunteer to serve veterans throughout the year
  10. Buy from a veteran owned biz
  11. Express thanks in person


Warning: The following event will fill YOUR bucket!

From Spend this Veteran's Day honoring our heroes at the annual Phoenix Veteran's Day Parade. Check out this website for parade route information, grand marshals, news, and to donate to a great cause.


Spend this Veteran's Day honoring our heroes at the annual Phoenix Veteran's Day Parade. Check out this website for parade route information, grand marshals, news, and to donate to a great cause.

Native American Heritage Month

November is National Native American Heritage Month. Check out these free amazing resources to help you plan for it.

Teaching Resources from NEH EDSITEment Education Portal for National Native American Heritage Month Image credit: A segment of Sequoia’s Cherokee alphabet (National Endowment of the Humanities)

Teaching Resources from NEH EDSITEment Education Portal for National Native American Heritage Month

Image credit: A segment of Sequoia’s Cherokee alphabet (National Endowment of the Humanities)


President George H. W. Bush signed a joint resolution in 1990 marking November as Native American Heritage Month. Learn how it took nearly 80 years for this honor to come about on the National Native American Heritage Month Web Portal. With this site, you can:

  • Take your students to Sitka National Historical Park via virtual tour
  • Find resources in a friendly guide
  • Browse ready-to-use lesson plans
  • Use audio and video resources

The one-stop-portal contains education and teacher resources from and is supported the following:

Fake it until you make it!

Do your students fake it? Strategies for building a risk-taking class.

We've all heard the phrase Fake It Until You Make It, but there is an inherent problem when we tell our students that.

"...most students only risk doing something poorly if they think they will ultimately succeed.

Our students regularly look to us to gauge what is possible and help them develop their most capable selves. How we name and frame what is possible for students often shapes their own sense of possibility."

-Kyle Redford

Helping Students Realize Their Most Capable Selves tell us about:

  1. Creating Classroom Conditions That Grow Student Potential

    • "You can do it" is over-rated
    • "Safe to struggle" is key
  2. Embracing Challenges as Opportunities

    • "Memorization" is not intellectual
    • "Opportunities for problem solving" is paramount

Click here to learn why faking it only works if there is a potential and support to make it.



Photo Nov 10%2c 11 08 10 AM.jpg

Love your students but don't always love your job?

Join us for Design Day: a full-day "design lab" experience where you will create systems to bring more joy to your teaching... despite external constraints.

Design Day is built on the Design Thinking framework which brings people together to dig really deep into issues and then design small-scale solutions that are actually doable!

This day is exclusively for teachers. It is on a Saturday (November 4, 2017), so you don't need permission or a substitute. It's free, so you don't need to beg for money. It's guaranteed to be high-energy and super engaging. Oh, and lunch is included!

We only have space for 40 people, so sign up quickly. If you sign up, we really need you to show up, so please make sure the date works for you. Register here.


Exclusive Invite for Third Grade Teachers... Pass It On!

Register to receive "OS Cross" cabbage for your third grade class. The students grow these cabbage known for producing giant heads at home and bring it back to class for judging day. A class winner is selected (based on size, appearance, and maturity) and entered into a $1000.00 state-wide scholarship drawing. What a fun way to teach students about nature and healthy eating. I'm willing to bet there's reading, writing, math, science, and social studies activities that could complement this adventure.

Learn More

I'm going to turn your day UPSIDE DOWN!

How do we create the problem solvers our world demands? We shake it up and turn teaching on it's head.

Students learn more when we let them wrestle with a math problem before we teach them how to solve it.   -Cathy Seely, ASCD

Instead of I do, we do, you do, try:

          You tackle the problem you may not know how to solve yet.

          We talk together about your thinking and your work.

          I help you connect the class discussion to the goal of the lesson.

Are you ready to let that control go? If so, read more about Turning Teaching Upside Down.


And completely unrelated...

You cannot take care of a class full of students if you don't fill your bucket first. Go enjoy some of the events below with your friends and family. Happy fall!

25 biggest, upcoming top events in Phoenix

Where do rocks sleep?

Where do rocks sleep?

In bedrocks!

Can you believe that National Earth Science Week is already here? If it slipped off your calendar, I have a great way to get your students involved with a #neatrock activity with the Science Friday Science Club.

  It's so easy.

1) Take a picture of a neat rock you have found.

2) Post at #neatrock with any details you have about the rock.

3) A scientist from the American Geologists Institute will help you identify your rock and provide it's background.

Your students will be on pins and needles waiting to hear back from the scientists. It's such a great way to foster curiosity and learn something new.

Listen on Soundcloud to learn more about this opportunity and to help build a really cool online rock collection. 

Ideas Worth Spreading

You might have heard, even love, TED Talks, but did you know that TED does more than talks?

TEDed Lessons Worth Sharing is a FREE but totally priceless resource for teachers and students (searchable by content). The lessons are short, sweet, and to the point and even come with a comprehension quiz. You can use these resources to:

  • Springboard new content
  • Peak curiosity
  • Provide examples
  • Scaffold
  • Differentiate
  • the list goes on and on and on...

Each Lesson Comes in 4 parts:

  1. Watch
  2. Think
  3. Dig Deeper
  4. Discuss

If you have a couple more minutes, be blown away by an example video below. You'll love how clear, concise, short, and USABLE it is.

***Please leave us comments about how you like the content of TXTS 4 Teachers, or how you might use this resource in your classroom. We would love to hear from you.***

Got Bugs? Irradicate them with these tips...

"Nothing is certain but death and taxes," so says Ben Franklin. Well, in the classroom nothing is certain except FLU SEASON and the passing of the virus.

We all rely on students being in school so they can learn, but an empty seat is exactly what helps a class remain healthy.

The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases has so many resources just for schools. With 100 flu-related child deaths a year and thousands hospitalized, we have to act. Here's how:

  • Get a flu shot early in the season
  • Stay home when sick (Yes, TEACHERS too even though you have to do sub plans)
  • Practice preventative measures like washing hands often, cover mouth to cough, etc.
  • Disinfect classroom surfaces including desks, door handles, sink fixtures, and water fountain

For more information for schools, visit the CDC Website.


Since you're here...have you been on our STEM page lately? Click here to check out for the IMMEDIATE USE resources. No joke!


Striving for the perfect balance?

The Autumnal Equinox for the Northern Hemisphere occurs on September 22, 2017 at 1:02 PM MST.  The equinox nearly balances our day and night hours. 

How will your students mark this once in a year day?

Do your students use an Almanac or is that a foreign word? Thursday is a perfect time to visit The Old Farmer's Almanac website for information on the Autumnal Equinox.

Whether you use this video stand-alone or in conjunction with The Old Farmer's Almanac, the model and explanation is a great way for learners to actually 'see' how this happens.

Fall into the season with things for you and your family. Check out this site for 11 ways you can engage your family in celebrating fall.


What do parents want anyway?

Seven short years ago, less than 60% of parents carried a smartphone. Today, we are closing in on 95%. 5% are connected all the time with a smartwatch. But, the question remains, how do your students' parents want to hear from you?

Hubspot has conducted research on this topic and will send you a free report that outlines how parents want to be communicated with. Here's a teaser:

Sample from "Table 2: most effective digital communication tools by school type"


  • 61% in Elementary Schools
  • 57% in Middle Schools
  • 55% in High Schools

School/district Facebook

  • 45% in Elementary Schools
  • 41% in Middle Schools
  • 39% in High Schools


Today's freebies for digital communication

1. Remind - Finally, a way to end unread emails and endless paper flyers.

2. Class Dojo - A community building platform that reaches out to parents.