CIA Review

Office of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment

Edition 8 January 8, 2016

Spotlight on Strategies

Paper Chat

Paper Chat is a cooperative teaching and learning strategy that empowers students to take part in group activities. It is a helpful strategy to use when there are broad essential questions that require deep discussion and you want everyone in the room to be involved without judgment. The Paper Chat strategy helps students develop critical thinking and communication skills, in addition to developing patience and respect.

This strategy is an effective way to facilitate a group discussion about the content:
  • What new ideas did they consider?
  • What do you think their answer is to the original question?
  • Did the discussion prompt new questions?


It is also effective for helping students move from a superficial level of understanding to a much deeper level of thinking and responding to questions.


Watch the video below to see the strategy in action or follow the instructions on this PDF.

Paper Chat
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Productive Student Discussions

Productive discussions do not just happen. Teachers need to guide students in practicing new ways of talking, reasoning and collaborating with one another. Many students are unaccustomed to explaining their ideas in detail and in depth with evidence. Many are not accustomed to listening carefully, with interest and respect, to the thinking of their peers.


Follow these four goals to improve academic productive discussion in your classroom.


Individual Students Share, Expand and Clarify Their Own Thinking


  • Time to think - allow partner talk, writing as think time, increase wait time
  • Say more - "Can you say more about that?" "What do you mean by that?" "Can you give an example?"
  • So are you saying... - "So let me see if I've got what you're saying. Are you saying...?"



Students Listen Carefully to One Another


  • Who can rephrase or repeat? "Who can repeat what Dave just said or put it into their own words?"



Students Deepen Their Reasoning


  • Asking for evidence or reasoning - "Why do you think that?" "What's your evidence?" "How did you arrive at that conclusion?" "Is there anything in the text that made you think that?"
  • Challenge or Counterexample - "Does it always work that way?" "How does that idea square with Tony's example?" "What if it had been an acute angle instead?"



Students Think With Others


  • Agree/disagree - "Do you agree or disagree and why?" "Are you saying the same thing as Heather or something different and if it's different, how is it different?" "What do people think about what Scott said?" "Does anyone want to respond to that idea?"
  • Add on - "Who can add onto the idea that Joe is building?" "Can anyone take that suggestion and push it a little further?"
  • Explaining what someone else means - "Who can explain what Amanda means when she says that?" Who thinks they could explain in their words why Kimber came up with that answer?" "Why do you think Cindy said that?"



Source: Michaels, Sarah, and Cathy O'Connor. "Talk Science Primer." The Inquiry Project (2012). TERC. Web. 1 Dec. 2015.

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Grade Assignments With Flubaroo

Flubaroo is a Google Sheets Add-on for grading quizzes developed and distributed through Google Forms. Flubaroo enables you to to grade all of your students' quiz responses at once with just a few clicks. For quite a while Flubaroo has allowed you to email grades and answer keys to students after you complete the grading process. Now you can also share grades, your students' answers, and the answer key with them through Google Drive.

When you share grades and answer keys through Google Drive, Flubaroo will create a folder in your Drive in which you will be able to see all of your students' answers and grades. Students will receive individualized documents that contain their responses, their grades, and the answer key (you can choose to disable sharing the answer key). Click here to learn more about how to share grades from Flubaroo.
Rubik's Cube: A question, waiting to be answered

Screencasting - Where Do I Start?

Screencasting is when you record a video of your computer screen, oftentimes for teaching or sharing ideas. Common examples of screencasts are onscreen tutorials, video lessons, or slideshare presentations. A major benefit of screencasting is that the viewer can watch the screencast at a time when it’s best for them, because learning doesn’t always take place in an academic setting. Additionally, the viewer can absorb the information at their own pace by pausing and rewatching portions. Screencasts add a personal touch in ways that other methods simply cannot.

I have had several teachers ask how to record a lesson off of the their computer screen for students to view at home or as a way to start a collection of video lessons for students to access at anytime. Are students asking how they can earn a 4 on a learning goal? Have them create a screencast of the content!

There are many free and paid options out there, but I found a very good tutorial that demonstrates three free products that allow you to screencast fairly easily. Click this link to view the tutorial.

Once you create screencasts, the question is where should you store them for students to access. If you are using Google Classroom, you can upload your screencasts to YouTube and then drop into your classroom as an assignment or announcement. You could also drop the videos into a Google folder that you have shared with your students.