All about Math Intervention

Let's talk about math intervention. The good and the challenges. 

The good is the concept of Response to Intervention (RtI). Students are placed into Tiers (I, II, III) and receive differentiated to intensive instruction. Students benefit from small group instruction. The teacher can focus her/his instruction to close any math gaps. One more plus, it helps to prevent over identification of students in special education. Sometimes, a kid just needs more time to master certain math skills and intervention can give that kid a boost.

Here's the hard part about intervention. Instead of explaining it, I'll ask you some questions ;)

-Do you have to provide Tier II/Tier III math intervention? 

-How do you know which math skills to focus on?

-How long do you work with students in small group/intervention?

-Are you constantly searching for materials and piecing together intervention lessons? 

-Are you finding it a challenge to progress monitor students and keep track of their growth?

-How do you organize everything?  

-How do you share information with colleagues and parents?

Well, if you answered yes to any of the questions or you were kind of sure about some and not so sure about others, just know you aren't the only one! I find that intervention is one of the hardest things to do because there are so many math skills in each grade level. Have you seen some of the 4th or 5th grade math standards in Texas or Common Core?!

I work and have worked with some of the best teachers. I'm talking the best of the best. Veteran teachers with 15+ years under their belts and youthful blossoming teachers! And the one thing these 4th and 5th grade teachers are struggling with is resources. 

So, I took on a project about 6 months ago to create an intervention resource to help teachers and students. I looked at over two year's of my own 4th and 5th grade intervention lesson plans and reflected on my experience as an interventionist. I identified which skills students were missing when they came to work with me. These skills are what they need to be successful in Tier I. Some skills they're missing go back a grade level. Sometimes it's half a year back or a few months from grade level. Some kids are missing vocabulary or computation.

I designed versions of my lessons that teachers could use. They're straightforward, focuses on a skill over 2-6 days, and short. All you might have is 15-20 minutes, if that, to do intervention. And you're probably looking for activities that are low prep. These require a few materials. 

Now, what about progress monitor? This is also hard to execute and track. Not to worry, I included a PM (Progress Monitor) after each lesson. It focuses on the skill that was taught. Not convoluted problems like you find on state tests, no extraneous information, just the skill...can you do it/do you understand it type questions.

Oh yes, organization can be a challenge. To help you organize, I included what I think are the most important forms. These can be kept in one binder or in each student folder. 
The forms are:
-My Data Tracker (to help your students keep track of their growth)
-Intervention Tracking and Decision Making (to help you make decisions about continuing or dismissing the student from intervention)
-Intervention Notes (to help you record any observations)
-Attendance chart (to help you keep track of student attendance)


Here's a sample from the Geometry Intervention. The lesson focuses on symmetry. You can download this symmetry intervention lesson for free. Click here

Here's a pic of my students working on a lesson from the Measurement Intervention. 

You can also preview the rest by clicking on the resource.

I continue to use these lessons for intervention. It's working great for me because each group meets for only 30 minutes.

Here are some helpful tips:
1. Grade the Progress Monitor right after your students complete it. Give them immediate feedback and have them redo any problems. Then, have students graph their progress. Don't forget to input the student data. It's harder to score everything and input the data when the end of the grading period is near.

2. To save some time, print all of the progress monitor sheets for the unit. Hole punch the progress monitor and keep them in individual student folders.  

3. Keep the cards you cut for the lesson in small ziplock bags and label the lesson name on the bag. You will be able to grab and go whenever you need.

4. Bring the student graphs to your parent conferences. Use this to show parents how they are doing and what they need to work on.

Hope these tips help you!