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Stop Hiding Tier 2 and Tier 3 Classroom Interventions From Your Teachers

Updated: Mar 17

classroom interventions for teachers

We know that differentiation stands as a fundamental principle to ensure that every student receives the support they need to succeed. However, there persists a widespread misconception among teachers and even leaders: the belief that small-group instruction and targeted interventions are reserved solely for Tier 2 and Tier 3 class settings. 

This misunderstanding undermines the potential of Tier 1 instruction and limits opportunities for student success. The integration of Tier 2 and Tier 3 strategies within Tier 1 differentiation to effectively meet the needs of all learners should be a non-negotiable piece of feedback for teachers who need it. 

Usually, informal observations, such as circulating the room and looking at student work or general anecdotal notes, may lead educators to rely on intuition rather than data to determine student needs. Consequently, small groups are often formed based on assumptions rather than evidence-based practices, leading to missed opportunities for targeted support within Tier 1 instruction.

What does this look like in the classroom?

Consider Ms. Rodriguez, a dedicated fourth-grade teacher. During a math lesson, Ms. Rodriguez noticed several students struggling with the first multiplication problem during independent work. Instead of providing these students individual feedback while working, she immediately pulled a small-group of those students who struggled with the first problem. 

After reteaching the concept, she asked students to complete the second problem. Students who could not complete the second problem stayed back with her for deeper support, while the rest of the students went back to their desks to continue through the problems. 

She repeated this process two more times, and by the end of the lesson, had only one student who was still struggling. She documented this students’ name on her tracking sheet and the small-group remediation provided.

Regular data collection makes teaching easier and more effective

Ms. Rodriguez's approach to differentiation is reflected in her statement, "I never have the same students sitting in front of me." Far from being a frustration, this statement highlights her proactive use of data to inform instruction almost everyday. 

By regularly collecting data through check for understanding assessments, Ms. Rodriguez is able to:

  1. identify students' specific needs 

  2. adjust instruction through small-group or one-on-one support 

  3. develop  small groups that are fluid and responsive, ensuring that each student receives the support they need to succeed.

As instructional leaders, it's essential for us to provide teachers with the necessary training, resources, and support to implement Tier 2 and Tier 3 strategies within Tier 1 instruction effectively. 

This can certainly start within Professional Learning Communities where teachers share their beliefs and thoughts and perhaps even develop a workshop focusing on how to bring Tier 2 and Tier 3 interventions to life in the General Education classroom setting. Gaining insight from your special education teachers is a starting point. 

Want more resources to help strengthen your school’s Professional Learning Communities? Click here to access my PLC insight survey and video designed to help strengthen the PLCs in your school.

If you haven't already done so, follow me on LinkedIn for more.

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