ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

How to Work Interventions into Classroom Lessons

Post submitted by SmartBrief education editor Amy Dominello

The gap in vocabulary, reading, and comprehension starts long before children arrive at school. Children are often not learning the words they need to at home, and that makes reading teachers out of educators at all levels, said educator and author Jim Grant during a session at the ASCD Annual Conference.

That's become especially important in math, where more word problems are now part of the curriculum and tests, he said.

Fitting interventions for struggling students into everyday teaching doesn't have to be hard, Grant said. He offered classroom-tested, time-saving tips and strategies that allow educators to administer high-quality interventions in the classroom for students from poor backgrounds.

Among some of the strategies he shared for both reading and math:

  • Make cold calls in the classroom, but don't give students the ability to opt out of answering. Call on another student, and then loop back to that first student to make sure they picked up the answer.
  • Use mind maps to help students organize their thoughts for crucial words. These include a definition in the student's own words, a drawing, and antonyms and synonyms.
  • Make time during sustained silent reading to work with struggling students while other students are reading on their own.
  • Create a checklist for students to edit their work that has them check for capitalization, punctuation, spelling, and usage.
  • Borrow heavily from the Singapore Math teaching method, which emphasizes number bonds and immerses children in numbers. He highlighted activities common to Singapore Math that include having students take photos that show a certain number of objects, human number lines, math scavenger hunts, and visual aids.
  • Don't make students go through an entire worksheet before checking for understanding. Giving students five questions can let you know whether they've understood a concept or if they need more help.
  • Give students multiple opportunities to show proficiency by returning worksheets for students to fix the problems that weren't correct.
  • Before students come up to your desk, encourage them to find the answers on the posters in the room so they don't always rely on you.

For more information, visit Grant's website.

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