RTI Pictures from Kitchener Community School


The following pictures were taken at Kitchener Community School in their Response to Intervention Model Classroom.  They have extended the ideas from this room into all classrooms in their school.  A big thanks to Brenda Witthan-Neary from the SK Ministry of Education for sharing this room and information with us.

We must remember that many students are visual and kinesthetic learners.   We need to clear the clutter and only have visuals available that support the task at hand.  For example, the circle time board posted below that can be put away after circle time.   We must also ensure we provide opportunities for movement for those who need to ‘move to learn’….see the alternate seating options in the pictures below:


The week, day and lesson framework is available for students in a neat orderly way:

Visual regarding metacognition and following through a learning activity:

Neatly organized word wall:

Circle time area contains various seating options:

Learning Tree visual…how self-regulation, sleep and nutrition affect learning:

Neatly organized storage boxes…all the same size and the same color as the wall to blend in and not draw the attention of students.  Small typed labels rather than large marker lettering keeps it neat and less noticeable:

Engaged GSSD learners in a variety of seating positions!

Brenda recommends spin bikes in classrooms for learners that need more movement:

Post your circle time routine on a folding bulletin that you can put away after circle time to reduce visual clutter:

Neatly organized and labelled supplies in storage:

Containers such as these keep supplies neatly organized within students’ desks:

Magnetic organizers within lockers hold small items for students.  Rather than having an adult remind or prompt, the visual schedule inside the door cues students:

Metacognition Plan for Learning:

This is often how students sit when their desks don’t fit them right.  Brenda reminded us that telling students ‘Sit still’, ‘sit on your bum’, criss cross apple sauce’ does not support student learning.  Many students need to move and shift and benefit from alternate seating options.  What is most important is whether they are engaged in the activity, not whether they are sitting ‘perfectly’.

Core disks are available at Superstore for $17:

The desk Brenda is showing has 3 options…students can stand, they can use a stool with a round foot rest with it (from Trade West), and they can also use the quiet rocking bar at the bottom of the desk to move their feet.  The chair is $135 and the desk is $230.

Rocking bar at the bottom of the standing desk:

Many students prefer sitting backward on chairs.  The Zooma chair is comfortable for backward and forward sitting:

Brenda demonstrated a stadium chair that can be used at circle time.  This adds support for those with core strength issues.  For students who have difficulty sitting still and need to doodle, she suggested an Etch-a-Sketch or  Magna Doodle to keep hand occupied:

Another option at a standing desk is a good quality stair master….some students enjoy standing on one as they work:

Another metacognition visual….teach kids ‘how to learn’ not ‘what to learn’:

Another alternate seating option that can be used two ways:

Homework binder for students to refer to – keeps school work assigned organized for the class.  This can also be a model for showing students how to organize information:

Ways to sort assignments handed in:

Self-Regulation tools available for the whole class.  At first they may be a novelty (just like the alternate seating), but eventually those who need these items will keep using them and those who don’t will lose interest:

GSSD learners chose various seating positions as they learned more about RTI in the environment:

Another seating option that was popular with our learners:

Yarn can be used as a stationary fidget when tied to the desk.  Students can manipulate it by braiding, tying or twirling…inexpensive and quiet as well!

Quintin expressing his thanks to Brenda for a great day of learning:

Other things to note:

  • Self-regulation is about being neurologically ready to learn…’in the zone’ or ‘in sync’ or ‘just right’.
  • Teachers must understand that we are neurologically diverse…we all need different things to learn and seating, lighting, tempurature, noise etc. all affect learning.
  • Teach your students to discover whether they are a ‘Tigger’, ‘Eyore’, or a ‘Pooh Bear’ and help them find strategies that will get them in the perfect learning zone.
  • Noise reduction head phones and cardboard study carols can be effective for some students
  • A nice place to work can be made with a blanket over a table with yoga mats underneath on the floor….this will be a favorite place to work for some students.
  • Classrooms need movement areas
  • You can pinstripe a space around a student’s work station to outline boundaries (pinstriping can be found at Canadian Tire)
  • Read the picture book “Squimy Wormy” to students (by Linda F. Wilson)
  • Music that works well to calm and focus during work….flute music, sounds of nature music,  or Aboriginal meditation music.  Have kids decide what works best for them (metacognition).
  • If you have to use your words three times, it becomes nagging, and you should implement a visual.
  • Use consistent music to cue students for transition into another activity (more effective than words once students learn the routine).
  • Have your ‘movers’ around the perimeter of the room and at the back so they don’t disrupt other learns as they move.
  • Introduce fidgets to the whole class and teach them how to use them.  Those who need them will continue to use them.
  • Allow students to use the counters, floor etc. to work…as long as they are on task, that is what matters.
  • Balls are not usually effective fidgets or alternate seating as they easily become a toy.
  • Therabands tied on the desk or chair legs provide resistance to movers and promotes calming.
  • Desks that don’t fit well cause lots of issues for students.  They can’t focus and learn if they are not comfortable.
  • Use Incredible 5 Point Scale school-wide….every morning the teacher checks in with all students as to how they are and where they are on the scale.  Those who need additional support are provided it based on how they are feeling.  The goal is to have everyone ‘ready to learn’.
  • Some kids like shredding paper with an electric shredder…can be very calming for some.

The following are pictures from a previous trip to Kitchener Community School:

Visual for Listening:

Seating Options:

Whiteboard Organization:

Lesson Visuals and Organization:

Trevor and Tracy exploring some seating options.  Trevor’s choice seems to have made him tired!

Self-regulations items that students can choose to use: