Reflections during Corona

Well, obviously things have certainly changed and plans have been altered for the post Chinese New Year interventions.  The plan was:

  • to do daily targetted sight word drills and intensive phonological awareness.
  • small group or one-on-one multi-sensory drills targetting sight words – 1 minute drills for fluency/accuracy.
  • small group pull-out phonological interventions + phonics works – WTW assessment goals.

The students were already identified as  those performing well below the targets for grade level expectations for both Aimsweb and the PA (only those who were scoring below 90% would provided with an additional intervention to push them beyond this level and meet end of year expectations).  The PA would be a more achievable target as these students had made considerable gains from the previous intervention and it would expected that they would continue on an upwards gain for growth.  Aimsweb would be more of a challenge as the benchmarks obviously move from Winter to Spring and so the demands were would be higher for these lowest performers.  Therefore a real focus would be on building automaticity/fluency and accuracy for sight words.


Of course all of this was a projected plan but as issues with school closure have seriously curtailed any possibility for this to happen in the way I had not planned.  The end of year gains will not be as great as projected as well the interventions have had to be severely modified and presented through a SeaSaw format which for these types of learners may not be the most appropriate.  I have attached a link for the type of online work students were expected to perform.


What has to be stressed here in this reflection is that the level of intensity can not be created in this format, a lot of it is directly up to the student, their skills, ability to self direct or on the ability for parents to manage and direct this activity.  Providing repetition and intensity is nearly impossible as the teacher is not with the students (these students need ongoing corrective feedback, support, breaking down of the skills etc difficult things to do as this is not live).  However, we work with what we can and supplimental phonics work is part of the weekly schedule and there have been provisions for one-on-one video sessions with students/parents who have been willing to take advantage of it.


Hopefully, we will be back at ISB soon and can continue with some intensive direct instruction before the final assessment window is upon us.  I would like to hope that students are able to maintain their present skill level and continue to show growth despite the unexpected setback that has happened post Chinese New Year.  Fingers crossed.

Reflection on Testing Scores

So its now the end of January and have gathered all of the scores for the core areas of intervention.  These were:

  • Aimsweb
  • Phonological Awareness – 2Peas
  • Magic 100 Words
  • Data-Based Intervention Benchmarks (open this to see the scores for the 3 areas, I think the graphs are really powerful in showing growth in all areas).

Now I will write this reflection using the predictions I posted previously.  This will  help focus my thoughts and share how these results will impact further instruction. I strongly believe the only reason for testing and data collection is to inform further instruction particularly on the micro-level where LS support is pivotal in provision of targetted instruction.

Here are my previous predictions:

  • there will be growth for all students in at least 2 of the areas.

Now based on the data collected across the grade level and within 3 areas there was definite growth for the majority of students in all areas. Of course there were one or two students who as expected did not make obvious growth particularly on the standardised Aimsweb.

  • there might be some students in Aimsweb who may not show growth for WRF (due to the nature of their learning difficulty and that expectations have shifted from Fall to Winter)

Of the two students who I was particularly concerned with, one did make growth in the WRF componant, however, the other student did not (but there were many factors hindering a true reflection what he was able to do as the testing situation, the format of words in the list and timed nature were really things that worked against truly showing what he was able to do).

  • some of the highest need students may not make as much growth despite the level of intervention.

Of the highest needs students, only one of them did not make growth in the Aimsweb WRF part, but when looking at all the other data points there were very positive growths in the areas of phonological awareness in particular.  There was also small growth in 100 Words.  However, if we understand the nature of reading acquisition, phonological awareness and phonic understanding are crucial and need to be consolidated and then there is the phase to apply phonic/letter /sound to simple patterns.  Once these are learned and acquired then we are able to work on developing fluency.  Aimsweb assumes acquisition and measures fluency.  Obviously there is a group of students who fall within the acquisition phase and so fluency is not within their readiness.

  • some students who were Well Below Average at the BOY (13 Students in August) may move into the Below Average range at MOY.

Well when I look at the MOY reporting, it shows that now only 6 students fall within the Well Below range with composite scores ranging from 0 – 22, with a further 6 students falling within the Below Average range.  This is really encouraging as they have all moved in their WRF fluency but its the Oral Reading componant which also impacted their overall rating.  However, 12 students are still at the High Risk category (but looking at the overall scores this is a small but expected number).

  • Some students who were Below Average at the BOY (8students) may move into the Average range at MOY (this might be optimistic).

The students were falling within the well below ranging moved into Below Average with 2 or 3 students moving into the moderate range with were within the average range.

  • the biggest growth will be in Phonological Awareness

Now this was a surprise, as when I look over the scores it appears that there was continued growth in the Phonological growth but the growth for the 100 Words appears greater and far more obviously when presented in graphic form.  I think because the initial levels for sight words was so low for some students that growth was most obvious and marked.  Its seriously encouraging how much growth they made.

Based on these scores and growth I have modified the intervention and added aspects that would help students with completing the formalised testing nature of the Aimsweb.  I have scared some warm-up procedures as reading readiness warmups etc.  As well, the focus will be shifting from instruction in phonological awareness to making direct connections to more phonic-based work with word families etc.  The scores are encouraging and have ensured that they have been shared with teams and TA’s who are primariliy responsible for the ‘drill and practice’ for sight words etc.  I look forward to the next phase of intervention.

Testing Begins – A time to see how they are going.

Well, the testing season is upon us and its time to do some mid-year assessments.  Honestly, I am a bit nervous about how the students will show growth.  The principle of progress monitoring is to check to see if the students are actually making progress.  They may not be able to be meeting grade level expectations (and because many of them were well below grade level expectations in August then its not doable for them to make such growth but maybe there might be some surprises).

I have to remember that my goal was to use the data from the following sources:

  • Aimsweb – Word Reading Fluency %ile score – 26%ile falls within the average range in MOY Winter Scores.
  • 100 Words –  80% would be within an expected range of growth for MOY.
  • 2 P’s Phonological Awareness Test – 80% would be the expected level for MOY.

Initially, I was going to just use the Aimsweb and 100 Words as these were the focus for the interventions with the most at risk students falling below average from the BOY assessments (I included the attachments of the scores on the previous blog).

As I reflected, I thought that phonological awareness is an essential indicator for reading success,  as is the acquisition of sight words.  My LS program in Year 1 has a heavy emphasis on phonological awareness instruction with a focus on the phonic and phonologic connections.  This instruction is combined with sight word instruction (delivered by TA’s and myself on a daily basis).  Therefore, there will be 3 sources of data to measure and map the growth for the target group of students from all 6 classes in Grade 1.

My predictions for the testing are:

  • there will be growth for all students in at least 2 of the areas.
  • there might be some students in Aimsweb who may not show growth for WRF (due to the nature of their learning difficulty and that expectations have shifted from Fall to Winter)
  • some of the highest need students may not make as much growth despite the level of intervention.
  • some students who were Well Below Average at the BOY (13 Students in August) may move into the Below Average range at MOY.
  • Some students who were Below Average at the BOY (8students) may move into the Average range at MOY (this might be optimistic).
  • the biggest growth will be in Phonological Awareness

Once all the data is collected I will collate them and possibly display them graphically in these three areas – WRF, 100 Words and PA to track growth for individual students.  After all, using data for progress monitoring allows us to reflect on our instruction – to identify areas of further work, ensure instruction is working (or not) for the particular child and to possibly exit students from services.

Journey into Data Based Individualization – Frameworks for Intervention Step 1.

I guess this is a exciting part, its when you have finally read articles that back-up everything you have been saying about interventions and how crucial they are to be targetted, timely with an appropriate amount of intensity.  The article that resonated for me most was the one from the National Center on Intensive Intervention, its all about setting up a framework for intensive intervention (being part of the Tier 1/2 interventions for an RTI Model).  I have attached the article so if anyone is interested in reading it then its here for you and it will help the reader of the blog (if there is anyone) to understand the how and why I am doing what I am doing as an LS teacher.

Enjoy reading DBI_Framework Article

Of course this article is all about how to guide a more structured and strategic approach to intensive intervention which is strongly grounded in systematic ways to use data (in this case Aimsweb Data) to determine how to intensify intervention (in this case word reading fluency WRF).

I am a strong believer in setting up a systematic approach to collect data which then guides the instructional focus.  For me using Aimsweb made most sense as its something we use at ISB but suspect seldom actually do anything with.  From my experience this is more often the case and so I have decided to use this data and devise an intervention using the principles of DBI.  Using key principles identifying students who truly need the intensive support and for whom the core instruction has not been enough to meet their needs.

Using Word Reading Fluency is something easy to measure and can be implemented quickly and effectively through paired or one-on-one intervention provided by LS teacher or a trained TA or IA (in this case I am training my own TA and each IA from each Grade 1 Class to maximize hopefully the amount of times each student may get instruction daily and over the week).  Here is the starting point for the intervention.  The Aimsweb Data is obtained and shows those students who have fallen below the 25%ile who are most at risk.  This data is then used to group students into respective classes.

I have attached a copy of my data plan and the groupings for intervention.  AIMSWEB DATA OCT 19

Captivating and Consolidating

As the week continues and I begin to reflect on my goal (responding to Data to provide targetted interventions), I am thinking the most useful C’s would be in the areas of Captivating and Consolidating.  Obviously I am working with those most at risk students and I am targetting one of the very things they do not do well.  In fact, I am putting the spot light on a skill that the screener has identified is really hard for them.  Knowing that I am doing something that each child finds hard its essential that i be captivating.  How do i get the children hooked on the actual task i am asking them to practice.  Well basically I go with the ‘less is more’ principal, keeping it simple, repetitive but by its nature motivating.

I will incoporate sand, white boards and Ipads to provide multiple opportunities and modalities to practice and repeat the same skills and patterns.  I have found that this group of children are already somewhat confused and by providing predictable and structures sessions of ‘micro targetted’ interventions (a max of 10 mins per student) they are more able to focus on the goal I am targetting ie sight words, letters and sounds.

The consolidating componant is obviously the end-game of the whole intervention, I wish to ensure that these students have made gains in the number of words they can accurately read within a 1 minute interval.  We are working of accuracy and rate (fluency).  Building their sight word knowledge and ability to read them accurately and quickly will assist with their reading of connected text.  I am building and consolidating basic skills which will be the building blocks of them becoming literate and more confident readers.

Here are the results from the feedback from students in one particular class that I am supporting.  Just remember that in this class there were only 5 students I actually work with so am not sure the actual scores are accurate or are the true feelings of those students with whom I actually work.  But at least this is a starting point.

Thinking about Goals

Now at the beginning of the ISB year amongst all of the initial getting back into the groove there were a multitude of emails regarding goals and personal goals and team goals.  Seriously a lot of goals to be thought about.  Having just returned from a 6 week break of Spanish summer it was hard to get back into thinking about Goals knowing that the LS Storeroom had be finally remodelled and 20 boxes of resources awaited me.

For me its all about getting my ‘house’ in order first, so basically , I pushed the idea of goal setting aside and got to doing the stuff that seemed way more important at the time.  Obviously, push has come to shove and have had to formulate firstly a Team Goal (remember this will be the Learning Support team goal and not the Grade 1 Goal).

The goal for the LS Team for this year will be:

“To develop the procedures and processes of RTI framework and begin to implement various Tier 2 and Tier 3 interventions as pertains to the needs of students we serve” .

We came up with this goal as it is timely as the team went to Singapore for an RTI conference which was all about RTI and current research that relates to working in international schools.  Super timely and useful.

Based on the team goal I came up with my personal goal which was to incorporate the 7C’s and those that I chose was to Captivate and consolidate which were areas based on my own reflection survey were areas that were kind of strengths but were areas I could make better.  I have included the survey which I am not sure if I actually needed to fill it in knowing that it was to be done by studentsSELF REFLECTION 7Cs.

It was interesting doing this and when compared with the ones the students actually did I can see similarities but am happy students actually rated me somewhat higher than I rated myself.  We are always our own worst critic.

My personal Goal is:

Use multiple data sources to adapt interventions (Tier 2) to target more specific needs and allowing me to more carefully select instructional foci in the area of literacy skills (Based on Data Based Individualised frameworks for RTI).DBI_Framework Article . I really liked this article and it makes such good sense as to seamlessly provide ongoing support and intervention to students at highest risk.

My first Blog ever.

Well here I am starting a first ever blog and its going to be all about LS and everything LS as it relates to what I do working with students in Year 1 at ISB.  Now where oh where to start?  Its obvious that am not great with this kind of thing but will give it a go to write down thoughts, reflections about the whole process and how my work with students is having an impact.

I would argue that any kind of intervention will have some form of change or growth (a very wise teacher a very long time ago said to me that all kids will show some form or growth or change from any kind of intervention, be it truly great intervention or not so great. )

This kind of takes the pressure off of always having to be awesome all the time. As educators too we must give ourselves permission to be human and fallable and we can not be everything to everyone all the time. We all have good days and not so great.

Now begins the process for me to reflect as an educator at ISB.


Welcome to your Professional Learning Blog! This is a place for you to post your goals, and reflect on them throughout the year.

  • Decide on your goal, perhaps in consultation with your colleagues or principal, and create a post to share with this online professional learning community that you are now a part of! Categorise this post in Goal Setting. Set your goal by considering:
    • Self assessment and reflection based on new teacher standards  (Tripod 7C’s)
    • Previous or new observation data from peers and principals
    • Student surveys (online surveys developed and aligned with 7C’s)
  • Identify colleagues, coaches, principals etc. that will play a supporting role in achieving your goal, and invite them to view and comment on your post. Encourage them to bookmark your blog and visit regularly.
  • Throughout the year, collect and share evidence to support your progress. Categorise these posts in Reflection.
  • Encourage your colleagues to share your learning journey by engaging with your blog. In return, engage with their blog (and others across the School)
  • You may also like to share work that your students have created or your own professional achievements that may not be directly related to your goal setting. This is encouraged! Categorise these posts as Showcase.

If you need support using this platform, please don’t hesitate to contact Ed Tech, we are always happy to be of assistance!

© 2021 Ramon Cortabitarte

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑