Friday, January 04, 2013

Twitter, PD and RTI

Last night as I was reading my Twitter stream, I saw a notice for #gaed chat with the topic of RTI and technology.  I didn't know what #gaed chat was, but I did know that I was interested in sharing and learning more about the intersection of technology and RTI so I jumped in.

I was quickly and warmly welcomed and soon learned that #gaed is a weekly chat amongst Georgia educators.  Throughout the hour long discussion I shared RTI and tech strategies with educators from Georgia and other states.  I learned a  lot.

Then today, during a 30 minute Math RTI block, I found that my work with students had grown tenfold.  First, the chat served to affirm many thoughts and activities I was using in RTI so I found myself more confident today during the lesson.  Next, I was able to use a great tech venue, the Illuminations Factor Game, to meet students needs.  Finally, the chat inspired me to try out new activities and adapt my work for student learning.

I gathered the seven children in the RTI group.  We divided into two teams.  I put the game up on the white board.  Then students strategized in their small teams to play the game.  The game elicited terrific strategy, number knowledge and math discussion.  We started at the first level with numbers 1-30, then moved on to level two with numbers 1-49.  Next week we'll play again using 1-49, then possibly move on to the 1-100 board.

Another great aspect of this game is that it's free and it's online so I reminded students that if they want to help their team next week, they can play with friends or against the computer after school at home.

This was a great tech integrated RTI lesson focused on a targeted math standard for fourth graders.  Thanks to #gaed chat for fostering so much learning, one more testament to the professional development power of Twitter.

In the past I used this game without enough strategic teaching and practice.  Now we've been playing as a warm up or transition during class.  Then today we had a great math talk about the game and listed a number of strategies (see below).  Tomorrow similar ability teams will play against each other both in the lab and in the class during RTI time.  I'm realizing that the Illuminations activities are a great resource for targeted math talk and practice, and hope to use those activities more.

Note that these are the children's strategies, some they will find are not as good as they think.  They'll figure that out as they apply the strategies, and we'll revisit the conversation as well.

Update:  As we moved from the 30 game to 49 and 100, it was clear that students still needed practice with divisibility rules. This is a pointed activity to foster that practice and discussion.