Doing Something Powerfully Small

It’s Intervention Day again. I meet with each team once a week to discuss up to three students. Each student goes through a three-week rotation where we gather a larger and larger circle of information about the freshman.

Yesterday I discussed two students with a team. At the end of both discussions, I asked the below progression of questions that somehow seemed new although we have touched on them in the past.

Can this student RECEIVE information in the classroom?

Can this student RETURN homework to you?

Does this student appear to REVIEW for tests and quizzes?

How do they do on REVEALing information on tests and quizzes?

Do they REFLECT on their learning?

At the end of three weeks of discussion, some of the factors that are negatively impacting a student are outside the walls of this building. Some teachers, some buildings stop and send the student along in hopes that they will survive or maybe things will get better.

What I believe they are missing is that skills win. A student is doing their best with what they have. Despite the burden or difficulties that any student may face, their ability to learn skills changes the formula. I think we need to think small in the face of large problems.

These questions helped us to design specific actions that were full of context and targeted at developing and/or curbing behavior that would allow for greater success despite the student’s overarching reality.

By unpacking the realities of this student with this student’s teachers during a three-week process, we could then walk through these five “R” questions, select one area of emphasis, and then select one behavior or action that we had the energy to truly deploy with fidelity, accuracy, and hopefully success.

We are thinking small in order to do powerful things.