The Wowzers Blog

Thoughts, best practices, and helpful tips based on the educational experiences and passion of the Wowzers Team

Free Resource: "Strengthening SBAC Skills: 10 Key Online Testing Terms"

by: Andrew Howard on Feb 6, 2015 11:45:00 AM

10_Key_SBAC_Testing_Terms_CoverThe Smarter Balanced (SBAC) companion to last week's Wowzers Online Math PARCC vocab resource has arrived! 

Published today, the Strengthening SBAC Skills: 10 Key Online Testing Terms eBook details ten must-know online action verbs that your students will see on the Smarter Balanced Math Assessments during the official 2014-2015 tests.

Read below the break to learn more about the new Wowzers Online Math resource and to receive a free download link!

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Topics: Common Core Assessments

RTI Strategy: 5 Tips for an Effective Tiered Instruction Model

by: Andrew Howard on Feb 2, 2015 1:43:00 PM

Every educator has the Tier 1 Dream: a classroom full of eager learners, each one at grade-level, ready to tackle any new challenge.

5_Response_to_Intervention_TipsBut, as you know, the reality of your classroom is often quite different. Your students, and their learner profiles, are very diverse and their needs cannot be met with one "magic" instructional method. 

However, with proper Response to Intervention (RTI systems, communication, and strategies, you (and your fellow education peers) can make great strides in providing the reinforcement and intervention needed to help students make positive transitions within the RTI tiers.

Read below the break for five RTI tips and strategies you can use within all aspects of your classroom’s RTI model to meet student learning goals and needs.

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Topics: RTI

Why a RTI Model may be a Perfect Fit for your CCSS Math Curriculum

by: Andrew Howard on Jan 31, 2015 1:00:00 PM

Looking through a strictly math-focused window, the process of ensuring that students stay on the path of needed understanding and achievement is paramount. Nearly every function of mathematics is a building block for more-advanced processes and concepts -- i.e. if a kid falls behind on his/her multiplication concepts, he/she will most likely be short sided on long division too, etc.

rti_model_imageThese knowledge setbacks can begin to snowball (for a ton of reasons in, and out of, your control), and before we know it, the student has fallen full grade-levels behind. As you and I know, the process of helping students "catch back up" can be extremely difficult, especially with limited time/resources and large class sizes.

But, let's not get all caught up in this bleak stuff. It's time for the good news! 

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Topics: RTI

4 Response to Intervention (RTI) Strategies for the Math Classroom

by: Andrew Howard on Jan 24, 2015 1:15:00 PM

Response to Intervention (RTI): If you've been in the classroom within the last ten years, there is a large chance that you've heard of (and utilized) this reinforcement and recovery measure.

rti_math_activitiesAfter first learning about RTI models, many educators (and myself) asked, "Is this just another complicated, drawn-out mandate by bureaucrats that never set foot in a classroom?"

However, after taking a closer look at the basis behind Response to Intervention models, you can quickly see the merit of a three tiered classroom system. RTI is based on valid research completed on teacher-proven methods for instructing and assessing all students (across the entire learning spectrum).

Read below to the break to learn about four quick strategies and activities you can use in your math classroom to optimize the "teacher-proven methods" of your RTI model to meet the unique learning needs of each and every student.

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Topics: RTI

Where Can I Find Smarter Balanced Practice Tests and Sample Items?

by: Andrew Howard on Jan 17, 2015 1:25:00 PM

Smarter Balanced Assessment UpdateThe Smarter Balanced online assessments are less than a school year away. If your state has adopted the SBAC, chances are you want to give your students a chance to practice these new Common Core-aligned tests prior to the 2014-2015 deadline.

Don't worry! Free Smarter Balanced examples, practice exams, and test samples exist and they are readily available. The best part is, you don't even need to scour the Internet to find them!

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Topics: Common Core Assessments

4 Helpful Tips and Strategies For All Tiered Instruction Educators

by: Andrew Howard on Jan 17, 2015 9:45:00 AM

I think we all thought “Wow, I bet that really helps struggling students” when we first read over the value points behind tiered instruction models such as Response to Intervention (RTI), Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS), etc.

4_Tiered_Instruction_Tips_imageBut let’s be honest, it also probably became very apparent that establishing an effective and efficient intervention setting requires a significant amount of thought and effort from all involved staff members.

So, how can you be smart about managing your model’s instructional resources (classroom space(s), time, etc.) and human resources (teachers, math/reading coaches, special education, etc.) to maximize intervention value?

The following four tips will help you develop "smart" strategies to help your students get the most of your tiered instruction efforts:

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Topics: RTI