Revisiting Rigor in the RTI and MTSS Classroom with Barbara R. Blackburn & Bradley S. Witzel - 228

January 10, 2019


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Today I am revisiting, Rigor in the RTI and MTSS Classroom: Practical Tools and Strategies (Routledge, 2018) with the authors Barbara R. Blackburn and Bradley S. Witzel.


In their book, the authors "show you how to develop rigorous RTI and MTSS programs that will support students and lead them to lasting success. Written in a clear, engaging style, Rigor in the RTI and MTSS Classroom offers an in-depth discussion of the issues facing students with academic problems as well as practical strategies for all teachers."

Barbara and I first talked about Rigor in the RTI and MTSS Classroom in episode 194. This topic is extremely popular and so we decided to revisit the content and this time the book's co-author, Bradley S. Witzel was able to join us.

Barbara and Brad explain RTI and MTSS and we talk about everything from why training on RTI and MTSS is needed as well as we look at some evidence-based strategies that can be used in the classroom.  

We also take a look at a couple of the chapters and discuss all of the resources that the authors provided the readers.

Lots to learn today.

Thanks for listening and sharing.

Have a great day!

Episode 194 of Teaching Learning Leading K12

Find out more and connect:

Barbara R. Blackburn

Bradley S. Witzel

Length - 51:24


Chuck Stetson Talks About Using the Bible in Schools - 227

January 4, 2019


Chuck Stetson is the CEO of Essentials in Education (EIE) and today on Teaching Learning Leading K12 we are talking about using the Bible in schools.

Essentials in Education (EIE), the parent company of Bible Literacy Project, was founded by Chuck Stetson and the Stetson Family Office. Its mission is to provide quality educational resources that enrich lives. EIE's publications have focused on topics of importance to its American audience: Bible Literacy, Marriage and Family, Character, Leadership, and the founding documents of the U.S. However, with its recent entrance into the global community, EIE has expanded to address issues beyond the academy and beyond the walls of the church. Creating Academic Content that Enriches Lives Globally is its new focus.

Essentials in Education (EIE), is a non-profit foundation providing educational materials to primary, secondary and collegiate institutions.  Formed in 2001 EIE programs are taught in 45 states and globally.

Taught as an English or social studies high school elective course, Bible Literacy is found in 650 high schools in 45 states and has a ten percent market share in six states – Texas, Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Tennessee, and South Carolina.

Chuck is a speaker on education in a variety of venues including to business leaders, community leaders, the staff of Congress, The White House and leading universities.

He has appeared on FOX News, CBS Sunday Morning and The TODAY Show. His work at EIE has been featured in numerous Associated Press articles, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, and in TIME Magazine.

He has a BA from Yale University and is a graduate of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business with an MBA.

Find out more:

Length - 41:02


New Year’s Resolutions - 226

December 28, 2018


New Year's resolutions are difficult to keep. Actually, I think that is an understatement. For many, they are almost impossible to keep. But that shouldn't stop you from making them, it just means that you need to understand why they often fail and what steps you can take to do better at successfully attaining them. Did you know that one key factor in keeping resolutions is that you have to find some enjoyment in pursuing them?

As a classroom teacher or building administrator, we should have promises that we make ourselves. We should know what we need to do more of, be better at, or just try to do more of...right? Keep in mind that you want to identify something that you would find some enjoyment in learning or getting better at doing.

Here are three questions that you could ask yourself to help get you going in the right direction: (Be honest with yourself and it would be helpful to get yourself a journal and write these down and reflect on your answers.)

1. I want to learn more about ______________________.

2. I want to do better at __________________________.

3. I struggled this year with _______________________.

After answering these questions you can then create realistic goals that will help you be more successful in what you do every day to help kids achieve their dreams.

Here are some thoughts about what you might write in the blanks above:

1. Engagement

2. Contact with parents

3. Using formative assessment

4. Understanding more about and using differentiation successfully

5. Vocabulary acquisition

6. Put more stuff away

7. Classroom management

8. Seek out unique hooks for class instruction

9. Reach out to be involved in school or district committees

10. Take steps to connect with more of your students

11. Ask better questions

12. Identify which students may get overlooked because they are quiet and not easily involved in class 

I'll bet you could double the number on this list. But don't get overwhelmed, just identify what you want to accomplish (remember to find that thing that you would enjoy doing or learning about), don't name too many, and set a reasonable/attainable goal. Give yourself a deadline to start and a deadline to check your progress. Next thing you know you will be successful in accomplishing your New Year's Resolution!

Happy 2019!

 Check out these links for more information about New Year's Resolutions:

 The Psychology Behind Why We Can't Keep New Year's Resolutions

Given Up On Your New Year's Resolution? Try Again (The Right Way)

Top 10 Reasons You Don't Stick to Your Resolutions And How to Keep it from Happening this Year.


Length- 25:09


20 Low-tech Gifts for that Classroom Teacher on Your List - 225

December 21, 2018


20 Low-tech Gifts for the Classroom Teacher on Your List.

Do you remember as a kid making a list for Santa? Did you ever sit with the Sears Wishbook or the JC Penney's Christmas catalog and circle, rip-out pages or fold the pages so that you could mark just exactly what you wanted? Ok, for those of you who missed that era Toys-R-Us, Wal-Mart, and Target have created their shopping guides. (Just not really the same thing...) Do you have a teacher to buy for? Here are my 20 suggestions for gifts for the classroom teacher in your family or who just so happens to be on your list:

1. Chart Paper

2. Mini-whiteboards

3. Dry erase markers

4. Colored folders

5. Pencils (Box of 500)

6. Painter's Tape

7. Baskets

8. Reading books - age appropriate

9. Bean bag chairs

10. Pencil boxes

11. Collapsable/ foldable tables

12. Folding chairs

13. Craft supplies

14. Rulers, measuring tapes

15. Scissors

16. Pencil sharpener

17. Clocks

18. File cabinet 

19. Clothes tree/Coat tree

20. Dorm rug; Colorful carpet

Hope this gives you some ideas.

Have fun!

Enjoy the holidays!

Length - 27:33


The Kindness Advantage with Dale Atkins and Amanda Salzhauer - 224

December 17, 2018

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 The Kindness Advantage: Cultivating Compassionate and Connected Children - Everyday Ideas for Raising Kids Who Care (2018) "provides parents with a practical and concrete guide to equip their child with the skills they need to have a positive influence on the world." The Kindness Advantage "will show parents how to help their child form compassionate habits that will last a lifetime."

I think that every classroom teacher and school administrator should read "The Kindness Advantage." The authors explain the fundamentals of kindness as well as share why kindness is important. Dale and Amanda's book can help conversations that pop up in our classes as well as in the school as a whole. It is easy to read and use. 

Dale V. Atkins, PhD is a licensed psychologist with more than forty years of experience as a relationship expert focusing on families, wellness, managing stress, and living a balanced, meaningful life. Author of six books and many chapters, articles, and journals for popular and professional audiences, Dale is a featured speaker who leads seminars worldwide about raising responsible and charitable children Dale is a frequent guest expert in the media. Dale has a private psychology practice in New York City. She has two children and six grandchildren and lives in Connecticut. She can be found on Twitter @DrDaleAtkins, Facebook, and at

Amanda R. Salzhauer, MSW has worked as a social worker in clinics and private practice. She has been a member of several nonprofit boards, including Riverdale Neighborhood House and the Board of Overseers for the Dartmouth Center for Social Impact. She has three children and lives in New York City.

Thanks for listening.


Connect with Dale and Amanda and Learn More:

Length- 49:19