The CIA Review

Office of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment

Edition 1 September 11

Spotlight on Strategies

Three Truths and a Lie
A teaching strategy that helps students focus on the key takeaway of a particular concept. Students will create three truths and one lie, based on the digital selection.

Link to pdf that explain how to use this strategy.
Watch the video below to see how the strategy can be used in the classroom.

State Assessment Updates

The MME in 11th grade will consist of:
  • SAT with Essay (April 12th)
  • ACT WorkKeys (April 13th)
  • online M-STEP Science and Social Studies (April 11-25 testing window). There will no longer be an M-STEP English/language arts or math component.

This reduces the test by up to 8 hours.

Grade 11:

  • PSAT/NMSQT (October 14)

Grade 10

  • PSAT 10 (April 13)

Grade 9

  • PSAT 9 (April 12)

Grade 8 M-STEP:

  • Testing window is April 11- 25
  • ELA (with performance task)
  • Math (with performance task)
  • Social Studies

Grade 7 M-STEP:

  • Testing window is May 9 - 23
  • ELA (NO performance task)
  • Math (with performance task)
  • Science

Grade 6 M-STEP:

  • Testing window is April 25 - May 9
  • ELA (NO performance task)
  • Math (with performance task)

Grade 5 M-STEP:

  • Testing window is April 11- 25
  • ELA (with performance task)
  • Math (with performance task)
  • Social Studies

Grade 4 M-STEP:

  • Testing window is May 9 - 23
  • ELA (NO performance task)
  • Math (with performance task)
  • Science

Grade 3 M-STEP:

  • Testing window is April 25 - May 9
  • ELA (NO performance task)
  • Math (with performance task)


  • Testing window is April 11 - May 23


  • Testing window is February 8 - March 21

New Science and Social Studies Draft Standards

The K-12 draft standards are out for both science and social studies. Below are the links to view the draft standards. The State Board of Education is currently reviewing the new standards and will be considering adoption later this year.

Social Studies

5 Alternatives to Think-Pair-Share

1. Think-Pair-Share x 2
This technique is great for collaborating and generating many ideas on a topic. Note: Make sure students have paper and pencil handy.
  • Arrange students into pairs (teacher or student choice).

  • Pose a question that has many possible answers. For example, what are some ways our school can become more “green”?

  • Pause for “think time.”

  • Partners do traditional think-pair-share, brainstorming as many ideas as they can in a set amount of time and writing their answers down on a piece of paper.

  • After allotted time, each pair then finds another pair to share answers with. As first team reads their answers aloud, the second team adds new ideas to their list or puts a check mark next to items they also thought of. Second team then shares answers that were missing from first team’s list.

2. Mingle, Pair, Share
A great activity to get kids up and moving and encourage them to interact with all of their classmates .

  • Students mix around the room silently as music plays in the background.

  • When the music stops, each student finds a partner closest to them (no running across the room to find your best friend!) and puts their hand together with their partner’s in a high five.

  • When all students have found a partner, teacher poses a question and allows for “think time” For example “Give three examples of an insect” or “Name five prime numbers.”

  • One teacher’s go, one partner shares and the other listens.

  • Partners switch roles.

  • After both partners have had a chance to speak (teacher will have to monitor this, based on the depth of the question), music starts again, students mingle, when music stops they find a new partner, teacher poses new question, etc.

  • Repeat for each question.

3. Sticky-Note Storm
This activity is great for brainstorming, review and thinking outside the box. It’s also a great way for students to teach and learn from one another. It works best when kids are seated in small table groups. Note: Have a supply of sticky notes available for each table.

  • Teacher poses a question, sets a time limit and gives students a moment to think before writing. For example, “In two minutes, how many math problems can you write down that have the solution 23?” Or “In 45 seconds, write down as many adjectives as you can.”

  • Each student writes down as many answers as they can think of—one idea per sticky note—and sticks it to the center of the table.

  • The goal is to generate as many ideas as possible and cover the table with sticky notes! At the end of each round, students review one another’s ideas.

4. Sage and Scribe
In this activity, one student plays the role of teacher and the other the attentive student. Explaining concepts clearly is a difficult skill that requires a lot of practice, and recording information helps students build note-taking skills.

  • Students work in pairs. One student is the Sage (speaker) and one is the Scribe (silent writer).

  • Pose a question and allow a few moments for Sages to think. For example: “Explain how the water cycle works.”

  • When teacher says “Go,” the Sage explains the process clearly to the Scribe.

  • Scribe records Sage’s thinking on paper.

  • When time is up, Sage and Scribe switch roles with a new question.

5. Inside-Outside Circle or Parallel Lines

  • Arrange students into pairs (teacher or student choice).

  • Have one partner from each pair move and form a circle with students facing outward. This will be the inside circle.

  • Remaining students find and face their partners, forming outside circle.

  • Pose a question and indicate what role each partner will play. For instance, “What are three things a mammal needs to survive? Inside partner will talk, outside partner will listen.”

  • Have students pause for “think time,” then cue them to share.

  • Next, partners switch roles—outside partner talks, inside partner listens.

  • After that, outside circle rotates clockwise and each student ends up with a new partner.

  • Repeat process with new question.

Variation: Parallel Lines

  • Students stand in two straight lines facing one another. One line rotates to the right or left for each new question. When a student in the rotating line reaches the end, he or she loops around to the other end.

  • Same question/think/answer process as above.

Source: We are Teachers

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Celebrate Creativity, Courage & Collaboration!

September 15th marks the anniversary of the publication of best-selling author/illustrator Peter H. Reynolds' The Dot. Starting in 2009, a group of educators began celebrating this date as International Dot Day - a day for classes to explore the story's powerful themes: bravery, creativity, and self-expression.

The Dot tells the story of a caring teacher who reaches a reluctant student in a remarkably creative way. In the book the teacher dares a very resistant student to "make her mark."

Have your students make their mark on September 15th. Download the free teacher's guide for ideas.
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Constitution Day

On September 17, 1787, the United States Constitution was signed by thirty-nine brave men who changed the course of history.

In honor of Constitution Day, all educational institutions receiving federal funding are required to hold an educational program pertaining to the U.S. Constitution. Below are resources you can use in your classroom on September 17th.

Interactive Constitution - grades 8-12
Elementary School resources from National Constitution Center
Middle School resources from National Constitution Center
High School resources from National Constitution Center
Constitution Day at the National Constitution Center - webinar with Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer and a virtual tour of the museum.
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Growth Mindset

Rather than spending time at the end of the lesson trying to assess what students have learned, ask them what they have struggled with that lesson? What was hard? Why was it hard? Then use this to plan your next lesson. Not only will this make your next lesson more focused, but it also fosters the attitude that ‘struggle is good’.

Back in a minute – You ask a student a question and their response is ‘I don't know Sir/Miss!‘ With that simple response, the student will expect to be let off the hook and hope that the teacher will move on swiftly to someone else. But this should be avoided. Instead, respond with: “That’s fine. What I’d like you to do is think about it for a minute, then I’ll come back to you and you can tell me your thoughts.” Carry on questioning other students, but eventually came back to the reticent student and ask them to share their thoughts, now they’ve had time to think about it. Having realized they’re not going to get away with ‘I don't know’, they will now almost certainly come up with a great response.