Big Ideas Math 3-Tier RTI Model

Response to Intervention (RTI), a framework for modifying instruction based on early evaluation of student-learning needs, is gaining traction in schools. The Big Ideas Math program completely supports the 3-tier model. Using research-based instructional strategies, Big Ideas Math helps teachers reach, challenge, and motivate each student utilizing the three tiers. Opportunities for daily assessment help identify areas of needs and easy-to-use resources are provided to support the education of all students. Following Big Ideas Math’s 3-Tier RTI, you will be able to set your students up for success in the classroom.

Big Ideas Math and 3-Tier RTI:

Tier 1: Daily Intervention

The Big Ideas Math program uses research-based instructional strategies to ensure quality instruction. Vocabulary support, cooperative learning opportunities, and graphic organizers are included in the Pupil Edition, with additional strategies throughout the program. Daily student reviews and assessment guarantee that every student is making regular progress. Complete support helps teachers personalize instruction for every student.

Tier 2: Strategic Intervention

The Big Ideas Math program facilitates increased time and focus on instruction for students who are not responding effectively to Tier 1 intervention. The program’s ancillary materials include additional support to assist teachers with the needs of these struggling learners. Such examples include Fair Game Reviews, Graphic Organizers, Study Tips, and Real-Life Applications. These supplements help to enhance learning and engage the diverse students within today’s math classrooms. Additionally, using the classroom and online resources provided, teachers can reach, challenge and motive each student with instruction targeted to their individual needs.

Using the classroom and online resources provided, teachers can reach, challenge, and motivate each student with germane, high-quality instruction targeted to their individual needs.


Tier 3: Customized Learning Intervention

In Tier 3, support for students working below grade level is also available by employing the intensive intervention lessons and activities offered in the Big Ideas Math series. The Differentiating the Lesson guide provides teachers with both an overview of each chapter’s lessons and detailed notes on lesson preparation and lesson procedures, including instruction and demonstration suggestions and worksheets. The Big Ideas Math Skills Review Handbook provides complete coverage of pre-course skills including Key Concepts, Vocabulary, Visual Models and Practice Makes Perfect. The Teaching Edition contains complete Differentiated Instruction Notes, written by Master Teacher Laurie Boswell, and includes ideas on introducing and motivating the lesson as well as comprehensive notes on activities and examples.


Big Ideas Learning: Social Media Recap – February


Another edition of this month’s best links is coming your way. Find out why we love math, explore a few new websites, and learn how scaffolding is embedded into Big Ideas Math in this month’s Social Media Recap:


  1. Guest Blog – Barb Webber “Our Passion For Math – Share The Love!!!” “Am I a “math geek”???  You bet I am!  And proud to share my passion – share my love of mathematics.  And I’m hoping that love will grow among others, impacting their attitudes and effort.”
  2. Scaffolding– “Scaffolding, sometimes referred to as guided practice, is a learning process that promotes a deeper level of understanding for students by providing learning support when a new skill or concept is introduced.”



NEW Board! “Teacher Trends”, everything teacher. Content generated by hundreds of real teachers. If you are interested in becoming a pinner please email with your pinterest email and a link to your Pinterest boards and you will be added. Please pin teacher related content. No spam.No inappropriate pins. Thanks!


  1. 5 Tips to Help Teachers Who Struggle With Technology
  2. What Students Remember Most About Teachers
  3. Making Math Fun
  4. 23 Defining Traits Of Your Favorite Teacher – BuzzFeed!
  5. New Approaches to Teaching Fractions
  6. Strict Math Teacher’s Secret Identity..As A Baby Cuddler

What was your favorite thing about this month’s Social Media Recap? Let us know in the comments below!



“A set of training wheels on a bicycle is a classic example of scaffolding. It is adjustable and temporary, providing the young rider with the support he or she needs while learning to ride a two-wheeler. Without an aid of this sort, the complex tasks of learning to pedal, balance, and steer all at one time would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for many youngsters. This scaffold—training wheels—allows the learners to accomplish a goal, riding a bicycle successfully, and then to happily pedal his or her way into the wider world.” 

~Michael F. Graves, Bonnie Graves, and Sheldon Braaten, “Scaffolded Reading Experiences for Inclusive Classes”

 Scaffolding, sometimes referred to as guided practice, is a learning process that promotes a deeper level of understanding for students by providing learning support when a new skill or concept is introduced. As students gain a deeper understanding of the material, the support is gradually taken away so that the students gain confidence in their own abilities. Scaffolding provided can help a student or class to perform the skill independently more quickly.

Here are some day-to-day tips for your classroom when it comes to scaffolding:

  1. Know your students and understand the learning styles (visual, audio, kinesthetic etc.)
  2. Provide clear directions to reduce student confusion (hints, suggestions etc.)
  3. Give advice and provide help on how to start a math problem (provide models)
  4. Provide models of work for students to examine themselves and draw their own conclusions.
  5. Show worked out problems with step by step guidance (in books for example)
  6. Create an outline for the curriculum
  7. Identify student needs and answer any questions
  8. Monitor and evaluate (as students gain better understanding, provide less support)
  9. Have students ask and answer questions

Did you know that scaffolding is embedded into the Big Ideas Math program? Stepped-Out Examples and Study Tips are just two examples of scaffolding techniques this program provides. 

Additional Resources:

The concept of scaffolding is based on the theory of Lev Vygotsky’s ‘Zone of Proximal Development.’ Zone of Proximal Development.

How do you use scaffolding in your classroom? Share your scaffolding stories in our comments.

Flipped Classroom

The flipped classroom is becoming more common in schools across the country. This is no surprise given the recent advancements in computers, the expanded use of tablets and iPads, and the increased familiarity with technology in general. In a flipped classroom technology is used to enhance student learning outside the classroom and class time is focused on understanding and delving into lesson topics in much more depth.

What does a flipped classroom look like?

A flipped classroom allows students to watch lectures and study lesson materials to gain knowledge of a particular topic outside of the classroom. In class, the teacher may revisit concepts for students, but concept engagements and working through exercises are the main focus. Basically, typical “homework” takes place in the classroom where teachers can offer individualized support as students deepen their knowledge of the concept.

Flipped classrooms have both advantages and disadvantages to them:


  • Students can learn at their own speed. They can read lesson materials at their own pace and can stop, pause, and rewind/rewatch videos at home. This allows students to spend as much or as little time with each lesson as they need, and students can also receive additional one-on-one help inside the classroom.
  • Increases student engagements because students come into the classroom prepared to discuss the lesson topic and are more likely to participate in discussions when they are familiar with the material.
  • Promotes student-centered learning, collaboration, and team-based skills. Teachers have the opportunity to work with each student individually or allow students to work in groups to complete in-class exercises.
  • Classroom discussions are more focused because each student knows exactly what the topic of the day is through their lesson viewing / studying the previous evening.


  • Not all school districts or students have access to all types of technology. This could make it very difficult for viewing videos or other lesson material online.
  • Not all students may have access to the internet or high-speed internet depending on where they live. This could mean long loading times and streaming may not always be a possibility.
  • Some students might not learn well from a computer screen or be uncomfortable studying on their own. It requires additional focus and often parental guidance.
  • Students are being held accountable for learning on their own. For some less motivated students this may be a large challenge to overcome.

Flipped classroom video:

We have compiled some great tips for flipping your math class.

1) Start by assigning a video for students to watch on a topic you would like to teach.

2) Once the students watch the video, ask them to post a question on a discussion board or private online forum and respond to classmates questions before the beginning of the next class.

3) Once in class, you can use the online discussion as a basis for classroom conversation. You can also spend time individually with students that need additional assistance on the topic.

4) As you become more comfortable with the flipped method, continue to expand the video viewing assignments to eventually reach a full lesson.

Are you thinking about flipping your classroom? Or have you already flipped your classroom? Let us know your thoughts on flipped classrooms or how you’re doing with your flipped classroom in the comments below!


Guest Blog: Lou Montiel

It’s the start of a new year for us here at Big Ideas. We are all very excited to start the journey with you and look forward to this year’s blog and the blog entries we have in store for all of you. This week, our guest blog comes from one of our consultants, Lou Montiel.


Out with the Old…

The pendulum swings, the twelfth bell rings, the ball drops, and just like that it’s a new year!  For me, the new year is an inflection point. It is a new iteration. It’s an opportunity for reflection and perhaps redirection.  For many in the teaching profession, we set goals for ourselves and our students at the beginning of the school year.  The new year is a great time reevaluate those goals, or to start anew.  Here are some things you might consider as you continue the journey forward and show that you CARE:

 Celebrate!  Revel in the things that have been successful for you.  Identify your successes and think about what things contributed to creating that success for you.  Can these things be replicated across other arenas, or with other individuals?  For example, I had a student once that had a difficult time understanding how to solve a proportion.  I taught this student the rule for solving a proportion using a body kinesthetic math cheer.  Once I saw how well she understood using this method, I applied it to other students with equal success!

Analyze!  Have you ever stopped to consider how you spend your time during a typical class?  What behaviors are you engaging in that are productive? What behaviors are wasting time? What things have a high positive impact on students? What things have a low positive impact or even a negative impact on students? The answers to these questions are revealing and can often lead to changed behaviors with higher student success outcomes. I once had a trusted colleague observe my class while I was teaching and keep track of the percentage of students engaged during various parts of my lesson.  It turned out that when I spent too much time explaining things that did not need explanation a high percentage of students became disengaged, but when I was teaching something new the interest level went up.

Refresh!  AHHH, just saying this word makes me feel better!  To refresh is to renew energy, to reactivate memory, to replenish, or to update.  All of these things are important when we teach. And when it comes to setting goals, sometimes we need to refresh our motivation to strive for those things which we set out at the onset with such great vigor only to have that vitality wane away over the course of time. Sometimes all it takes is to keep our goals in front of us, visible, tangible, and intentional.  My wife often teases me about all the silly sticky notes she finds in various places where we live. She finds them on my bathroom mirror, on my nightstand, on the dashboard of my car, on my computer lid, on the refrigerator door and in other places. But for me, these notes refresh my memory and help me keep motivated towards goal attainment.

Eliminate!  Out with the old in with the new!  Stop doing things that don’t work. It’s crazy to expect bad practices to lead to good results.  Replace behaviors that bear no fruit with new seeds of hope and possibility.  Try something new this year.  You may be surprised it could become your new favorite thing.

Best wishes for a successful start of the new year!