Saying Goodbye to Our Dear Friend, Yolanda

The Blog Hoppin' family would like to pass on our dearest condolences to the family and friends of our own Yolanda Arnold (Oceans of Fun in First Grade).  Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time. 
Comment with your favorite memories of Yolanda.  Whether you knew her in person or not, we'd love to know how her teaching influenced your classroom, your practice, and your students.   

Please join us in saying goodbye. 

Technology Tip: The Hour of Code

Hello everyone! Let me introduce myself real quick…. my name is Natalie and I blog over at What the Teacher Wants with my BFF Rachelle! (You can read more about us: HERE!) I consider myself to be a 5th grade teacher since I taught it (and LOVED it) for 7 years. After having two little babies, I made the switch to part-time teaching and this will be my second year as my school's computer specialty teacher. I miss 5th grade, but am overall loving my new job! Today I'm sharing a technology tip and something that I'm really excited about.

Last spring I got to attend an amazing technology conferece (UCET) where I was inspired in many different ways to implement technology in the elementary classroom as well as find new ideas to teach in my computer classes. The main idea I took away from the conference was: My students need to complete The Hour of Code!

Have you heard about it? Here's the short version: The Hour of Code is a fun and interactive way to teach students (starting at age 6!) how to do computer programming! Plus, it's completely FREE!

In today's world, knowing how to write and understand code is HUGE, and starting kids out at an early age will give them a great advantage! (Imagine writing on your collage resume that you learned to write code at the age of 6 or 10… pretty impressive, right?)

Have you seen this inspirational video? It's only 10 minutes and explains in a kid-friendly way why learning code is so important.

I don't know about you, but I don't want to be among the 90% of schools that don't teach any type of computer programming skills.

And… here's just a two minute clip you should watch too. Hint: you should watch it just to see Ashton Kutcher. 

I have already mapped out my year and have decided to do The Hour of Code with all 700 of my 1st-6th grade students! I have planned to do this in three 30 minute sessions which will hopefully allow enough time to introduce the program, complete one hour of code, and talk about what we've learned. December should be a great time to fit this in since it's right before students leave for Christmas break. (Another great time to teach it would be at the end of the year after testing is all over.) 

I'm excited to try it and know my students will love it!!

Think this sounds like something you would like to try?
Would your students benefit from learning code?
Have you already done this with your students?
Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts!

Hoppin' into RTI

Hello!  Holly, from Mrs. Ehle's Kindergarten Connections, here!

School started for me in early August, and as always, the last few weeks have been filled with assessments, assessments, assessments as I seek to find out where each of my kinder-babies are in regard to their skills and knowledge.  Naturally, during this assessment process I have found that a few of my “littles” are a wee bit “behind” in terms of skills and baseline knowledge.  These students are in need of immediate early intervention!
Hello RTI!
As you know, RTI (Response to Intervention) is a multi-tier approach to the early identification and support of students with learning needs. The RTI process begins with high-quality instruction and universal screening of all children in the general education classroom. Struggling learners are provided with interventions at increasing levels of intensity to accelerate their rate of learning.  Progress is closely monitored to assess both the learning rate and level of performance of individual students. Educational decisions about the intensity and duration of interventions are based on individual student response to instruction.

While RTI is necessary, let’s be real.  It can also be time-intensive to plan, organize and make realistically “do-able” on top of all of your other teaching responsibilities. Although I know that all schools have different procedures for carrying out RTI, I thought it might be helpful to share how I organize and execute the RTI process in my classroom.  For me, it’s all about keeping things simple, do-able and organized!

Step One – RTI Skill/Standard Folders
I purchase a stockpile of simple pocket folders.  You know, the kind that you can get during the back-to-school sale for just a few cents.  I then label each folder with a different academic standard. (See below.)

Here are the labels I use for my kindergarten RTI folders.

{I whipped these up myself...but there's nothing extremely magical about them!  You could easily create your own labels by typing in your standards!  If you are a kindergarten teacher and would rather save time than type them up yourself, click to download them as a FREEBIE!}

Next, I fill one of the pockets inside the folder with these RTI documentation sheets.

Step Two – RTI Instructional Intervention Resources/Activities
After I have all of my folders labeled and organized by category and standard, I fill each folder with instructional materials that can serve as RTI activities.  I keep it simple, people.  We all know that over-complicating things can sometimes make them impossible to carry out!  {At my school, I’m completely responsible for all of my own RTI, so while my system might not be as detailed as what a resource specialist could provide, it IS a system that works for me on limited time!}I simply place skill printables and instruction sheets for hands-on activities in each folder.  Now the RTI folders are ready to go!

Step Three – RTI Implementation
Set aside an hour a day to implement your RTI program.  JUST KIDDING!   If you are like me, I don’t have an extra minute in my days to fit in something “extra!”  THIS is the main reason that I implement the RTI program that I use! 

First of all, whenever you do any assessments (formative or summative) and you notice a kiddo who is performing below level on a skill or standard, go directly to your RTI folders and fill out an RTI form for him/her and stick it in the appropriate folder.  Even though you may not have time to “work” with that kiddo on that skill right at that moment, you now have his/her need documented. 

Now that my RTI folders are all organized and ready to go, I simply pull the folders during learning center time, math station time or ANY other time that my kinders are working independently for 2 minutes or more (literally!)  If you have your RTI materials organized, it’s amazing what you can get done in just a few minutes of time!  If you are fortunate enough to have instructional aides or parent volunteers, you can even have them go to the folders when they have time.  Simply pull a folder (any folder)…and if there is an RTI form with student info filled out, they simply grab a skill printable or activity sheet, grab that kiddo, complete the task and write a few notes on the RTI form.  Document the student’s performance, and if more practice is needed, return the RTI sheet to the folder.  If the child shows proof of skill mastery, I ask the aide to pull the RTI sheet and give it to me (or if I’m assessing, I do it myself of course!)  I then place it in that student’s individual assessment binder so that when I complete report cards, I have all the info I need! 

As the form indicates, increase duration and intensity of the interventions for students as need indicates onto Tier 2 and Tier 3.  For more details on RTI and the suggested intensity and duration of implementation of the various tiers, check out the RTI FREEBIE by clicking HERE.  If students eventually need to be referred for special educational services, you already have all the documentation you need!   Easy Peasy!  J

Interested in learning more about what materials you might place inside your RTI folders? 

Here is an example of one of the printable activities I place inside my CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RF.K.1.D (Recognize and name all upper- and lowercase letters of the alphabet) RTI folder.  It specifically was designed for students who have letter reversal problems.

Here is another example of an RTI folder intervention activity.  This is an example of an activity specifically created to address CCSS.K.CC.A.3 {Identify and write numbers from 0 to 20/Represent a number of objects with a written numeral}.

Some of my other Blog Hoppin’ “besties” have great resources that can be used in RTI folders too!


Check out these RTI folder fillers, by the sweet Babbling Abby!

Great source for K numeracy skills RTI!
{That Cara Carroll knows her stuff!}

Do YOU have any great RTI resources that you have created for TPT and would like to share? 
If so, LINK UP below!


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