My RtI Cake

It was a stunning fall day in southeast Michigan on Sunday. Crisp air. Brilliant blue sky. Fiery colors. And what was I doing? Making a cake! Not just any cake. A wedding cake. The cake has three layers or tiers. I’m planning on using my wedding cake made from paper mache stacking boxes to explain the concept of RtI at several sessions of our countywide in-service next week. Actually, I am supposed to explain how our school uses Leveled Literacy Intervention (LLI) and Fountas & Pinnell Phonics Lessons for Tier 2 interventions. I needed to show how the F & P Lessons start in Tier 1 and can also be used as an intervention in both  Tier 1 and Tier 2 . I’m sick of looking at the RtI triangle and I figured, who doesn’t like cake? And I can show how things tend to tip when alignment is out of whack. Not sure if I will have the guts to wear the chef’s hat.

My husband walked in and looked at my project.

 "What the heck are you doing now?"

"What does it look like I'm doing? I think it needs some
little flowers or something for color, don't you?"

(Pause. Big sigh. Hand rubbing forehead.)               

"You have receipts for all this stuff, right?

I think I'm going to cut slots in the lids of each
box and as I talk about each card, I can slip it
into the cake tier.

This is one of the handouts I'm planning on
including in a packet for the teachers attending
the sessions.


  1. What a terrific idea. It will cement their learning & be fun to see all at the same time. I also think taking time to do something new and different shows how much you care about your audience. (I'm glad you saved the receipts!)

  2. You are so creative! This is a wonderful model for the teachers to grab on to and make their learning stick. Your district is so lucky to have you.

  3. I LOVE cake! Wow! Such great thinking! Love it all! Of course, RtI is a hot topic and we have also implemented LLI for Tier 2 interventions. I can understand your concept of aligning the interventions and Tier 1 instruction. So clever.

    I want to work with you and have great conversations like this. Thank you so much for sharing. Of course, I'm interested in your whole presentation! Want to record it? Share it online? Hmmm.... :) You are amazing!

  4. Ah, the creativity of teachers!!! This is the allure of having a classroom--coming up with the better idea. I think your idea is scrumptious!

  5. I love this idea. And I love reading the asides of your husband. The problem with teaching is that husbands need to know what they are getting into before they get married to a teacher. Teaching is not a job. It is a life. And they, by default, will be involved (and paying)!

  6. Cool cool cool. You always have the best word pictures. Thanks for sharing,

  7. Fantastic idea! I'm going to share your post with my fellow literacy coach. I agree with Ruth - your word pictures and conversations are awesome. So good to hear your voice! MHG

  8. What a fun idea! Anything to make those triangles come to life is worth the effort! You will definitely have your audience hooked.

  9. You've got to wear the hat - or maybe a fufu apron. You are very clever - it is a "GLAD" strategy for teachers!

  10. Everyone will remember the layered cake, wow, how brilliant!


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