Ending the Magic 8 Ball approach to RtI

When your building’s schedule doesn’t include an intervention block, about the only tool in the teacher’s toolbox is ask the Magic 8 Ball.


The great oracle is helpful, but it has its limits. It is only able to provide advice. We need to provide students on our team an intervention plan.

Our team has identified nearly 25 students who would benefit from an intervention program that currently does not exist. These students are not necessarily at risk. They are students who demonstrate difficulty completing work that demonstrates effective effort on a regular basis. While the criteria may be broad, we created three tiers of intervention for a three week after school program:

  • Level 1:
    • Independent after-school work time. Students will be asked to report to the library for quiet work time. Students will sign in and out for that day.
  • Level 2:
    • Supervised work time. Students will be asked to report to a teacher’s room after school for a supervised work time.
  • Level 3:
    • Study Skills. Students will be assigned to an after school study skills program. Skills will include: Agenda use, assignment prioritizing, time management (1-2 hours of out-of-school work time each and every day), resourcefulness, and strategies. The program will spend 15 minutes a day working on a study skill and 30 minutes for supportive work time. Entry in and exit from the group will be based on the following:
      • Regular, proper use of the Agenda
      • Ability to prioritize assignments on a daily basis
      • Regularly complete work that demonstrates effective effort with a minimum of support, in and out of school
      • Demonstrate academic progress (learning!)

Last week each tier of students was called in for a brief meeting with the teachers before lunch. On Monday we met with the tier one students, on Tuesday we briefed the tier two students, and on Wednesday we met with the tier three students. At the end of each meeting the students received a  letter and were to obtain a parent signature. The tier assigned to the student was circled on the letter.


We felt it would be more effective if we met the students as a team of teachers. That way it wouldn’t appear to the student that, “Mrs. Dooms wants me to stay after.” It would be, “My teachers want me to stay.” We also felt it necessary for the students to see the three levels of intervention, not just their assigned intervention. We established a three week, Monday through Thursday time period for commitment and consistency. After three weeks students will either be exited or they will stay on for another three week session.

Only one parent returned the letter with a note saying the intervention will be handled at home. The remaining 22 students are on board for starting Monday.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s