RTI (Response to Intervention) A Complete Apple Workflow

Thank you to those of you who attended my workshop, “RTI:  A Complete Apple Workflow” at the CUE conference this weekend.   I spoke about using Apple Software to address your Response to Intervention program.  This post contains the links, resources, and ideas that I shared.  Rather than simply posting the keynote file (which is much easier) I prefer to recap and flush out some of the ideas so that it’s beneficial even to those who weren’t there.

What is RTI?

As I define it, rather than simply teaching everyone the same thing and assuming that if someone doesn’t “get it” that there’s something wrong with them, RTI assumes that there will be students who do not master a concept after whole group instruction and will need additional time and intensity (interventions) to master concepts.  This, of course, is very similar to the idea of Independent Work Time.

Alice Mercer, in her CUE presentation, also addressed RTI and went into additional detail in defining it.

Part One:  Dealing with Data

It’s very important to collect and analyze data in order to target interventions to specific student need.  “Fluency” is to vague to be an intervention.  Focusing on short vowels, long vowels, or digraphs is a better intervention because it targets a specific student need.  Using Apple’s iWork (Pages and Numbers) or even Microsoft Word’s (Office and Excel) can help you to organize data by creating a spreadsheet, graphing data, and using the word processor’s mail merge functions to create parent reports about student data.  I much prefer iWork to Office because of its ease of use and the ability to create better looking documents.

Here’s additional information on graphing in Numbers and how to use the mail merge function.  I taught both these things in the workshop.

Part Two:  Prescriptions for Success ways of using Apple technology to address student needs




While behavior tracking software is popular among schools with large behavior problems.  I saw office referrals eliminated in my classroom simply through working on these movie projects.  I gave the example of Joseph, a student who I knew would not be quiet if I was to call “Quiet on the Set.”  Instead of playing through that scenario and getting annoyed at Joseph ruining other students’ projects, I decided to make Joseph the engineer.  He called out “Quiet on the Set!” and he pushed the red Garageband button.  The rest of the class was dead quiet and Joseph experienced being a successful and productive member of our class rather than being the one who wrecked everything.  This is a behavioral intervention…intervening to improve student behavior rather than punishing students for bad behavior.


Here are two slides that show some evidence that these techniques are producing gains although I am the first to admit that we need to continue collecting data on the subject.

In my classroom, I saw an 18% increase in the number of students reading at benchmark 12 weeks after working on the Reader’s Theater script, The City Mouse and the Country Mouse:

In Escondido Unified, they saw average gains of about 40 words per minute after six weeks of reading with iPods whereas normal gains are about 10 words per minute:


Here are some incidental things I mentioned in my presentation.

HandBrake for ripping movies from commercial DVDs  you own for storing on iPod.

PWN Youtube and other ways of downloading Youtube movies.


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7 Responses to “RTI (Response to Intervention) A Complete Apple Workflow”

  1. Janice Stearns Says:

    Hi Mathew,
    Thanks for sharing these resources and ideas. I struggle sometimes on how to frame the conversation around using technology in the RTI lens. It helps to have some examples. There are so many ways to improve the conditions for learning using technology tools, yet it is the farthest thing from the minds of many in the RTI leadership roles. I need to work on my resources for conversations.
    Missed being at CUE, seeing all of you, and feeling the renewed sense of energy. I know it was great.

  2. Kelly Says:

    Mr. Neeedleman,
    thank you so mcuhf or sharing this information with us on your blog! I just completed a course that discussed Response to Intervention, so I found this post to be very interesting! I wish I could have been at CUE to hear this.

    Thanks again!

  3. Recap of Sessions I Saw at CUE 2010 | Reflections on Teaching Says:

    […] Mathew Needleman on RTI with Apple Workflow […]

  4. CUE 2010 Recap: My presentations | Reflections on Teaching Says:

    […] I know I did not cover everything as well as I could have, after I saw what Adina Sullivan, and Mathew Needleman did on interventions, but I think I covered the adult/paperwork part of RTI pretty well. You can […]

  5. BookChook Says:

    Thanks for taking the time to detail this for those of us who couldn’t attend your presentation.

  6. Gisele Lee Says:

    It must have been so useful for teachers who didn’t start using iMovie or GarageBand! I’m sure you convinced a lot of them. I totally concur with your pedagogy and confirm that achievement and behavior improve when students are involved with such projects. Thanks for reminding me that I should use some spreadsheet to pinpoint problems!

  7. Regina Sawyer Says:

    I am an EDM 310 student at the University of South Alabama. I recently reviewed RTI Response to Intervention. RTI targets intervention for students who do not understand the concept. I believe teachers must focus on an individualized approach when teaching rather than teaching the entire group and assuming that everyone will learn the material. Targeting the skill is vital for students to gain success. These techniques must be working due to the fact that behavior issues have been eliminated. Tracking data is also essential to determine the progress being made.

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