Usually when we think of intervention, we think about specific programs or series of lessons or pull out groups or things like Reading Recovery. But what I was talking about was not those things...so what was it? All those things are critically important to our kids who are struggling, but the majority of their day is not spent in one-on-one interventions or groups; it is spent with us, in the classroom.
Take a look at this:
Consider our struggling learners--much of what we do in the classroom (those orange stars in the diagram) is not only likely to be outside what they can do on their own, but may be on the far edge of what they can do with help or is outside their learning zone completely. Yikes!
So consider this. When I looked up intervention or intervene, the following things popped up:
- to mediate
- to come between to alter results or the course of events
- to be situated between
- deliberate action taken to improve a situation
It's not easy, and I wish I had answers for how to make this happen every day for every kid. I don't. But what I do have is a commitment to try. I find ways to sneak in bits and pieces.
Like with my morning message--it's just inside the doorway, and as kids enter, they read it alone or in pairs or small groups. And I am right there in the doorway, sneaking moments to support my struggling readers as they read that message--while also greeting others and giving out morning hugs. When we meet as a whole group to read the message a little bit later, my struggling kids come to that task already having successfully read the message. Often I have taken those tiny doorway moments to point out something in the message that we'll be coming back to in the large group meeting--kind of like pre-teaching.
It's not perfect. It's not easy. But it is critical. We have to think about how we can mediate any classroom experiences that are outside the zones of our struggling learners. So what I told Miss M. is that I think classroom intervention is bigger than small groups or one-on-one conferring. It's something we ought to be considering across the whole day, in moments large and small.