Cary News November 17, 2015


Hey Cary!

It is hard to believe that we are one week away from our Thanksgiving break! Continue to uphold your focus and teach with a purpose and urgency. Use your data as your road map to for which skills need to be spiraled into to new material or re-taught separately. This is the time of year where every minute counts so ensue you are maintain a culture of bell to bell instruction in your classroom.

We believe in you!

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Employee Highlight of the Week!

Ms. Alexander comes to us all the way from Lancaster, Pennsylvania! She graduated from Lewisville high school and then went on to graduate from Dallas Baptist University (DBU)!

The best part about the 3+ years she has been at Cary is getting to know the students, especially their families. When she is not putting her hard work in at Cary, Ms. Alexander enjoys working out, cooking, reading, being outside, and going to new restaurants!

If Ms. Alexander had 1 million dollars she would travel EVERYWHERE! The farthest place she has ever traveled is Guatemala city.

Ms. Alexander comes from a big family where she has 5 brothers and 1 sister. She is definitely well-rounded when it comes to music since you can find her jamming out to both country and hip-hop (probably not at the same time).

The last thing you need to know about Ms. Alexander is if you are ever outside with her just keep her away from any birds as that is that last thing Ms. Alexander wants to see!

Thank you Ms. Alexander for your service and dedication to the students and families at Cary MS. We are VERY lucky to have you!

Want to be part of this?!?!?

If you would like to be spotlighted please take this questionnaire!

Faculty Spotlight Questionnaire

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Can Multiple-Choice Questions Be Instructionally Useful?

In this Educational Leadership article, consultant/author Susan Brookhart argues that multiple-choice test questions, often denigrated as measuring only superficial knowledge and skills, actually have some important advantages:

- They don’t require students to do a lot of writing or speaking, which allows teachers to assess the thinking skills of students with limited language proficiency.

- Because multiple-choice items are shorter than open-response questions, it’s possible to test students on a much broader range of material in a given period of time.

- Well-written multiple-choice items can measure higher-order thinking skills such as analysis and interpretation.

- If incorrect answer choices are all plausible and written to include common errors and misconceptions, test results can give teachers insights into what’s confusing and frustrating their students.

Brookhart believes that “context-dependent” multiple-choice questions can be particularly helpful – that is, questions accompanied by visual or written material. “Because students have the material in front of them,” she says, “their mental energy can be devoted to thinking about the material, not striving to retrieve it from memory.” She gives three examples of this type of question:

Interpreting a map, graph, table, photo, or other visual – The questions on a graph, for example, might challenge students to interpret data, draw conclusions, and practice inductive scientific reasoning.

Interpreting a text, story, or scenario – A well-framed multiple-choice question on a speech by Jefferson Davis can assess students’ powers of interpretation and kick off a class debate on the views and intentions of Southern leaders before the Civil War.

Critiquing the work of fictional characters – The teacher could create a fictional scenario – for example, one person says combining ingredients to make a cake is a physical change while another contends that it’s a chemical change – and then ask who is correct, getting students to defend their reasoning, and following up with key teaching points.

And multiple-choice questions aren’t just for tests, says Brookhart. Here are two uses in regular classroom time:

• Checking the whole class’s understanding with an all-class response system – By getting students to respond to well-framed questions using clickers, Internet-based systems (like Poll Everywhere), Plickers, holding up A B C D cards, or using hand signals, teachers can quickly gauge the level of mastery of every student and follow up with a “convince your neighbor” activity or an all-class discussion in which students justify their answers or explain why wrong answers are incorrect.

• Open-ended explanations or extensions – Students might be asked to read a passage from the Declaration of Independence, respond to a multiple-choice question asking which of four summaries best captures the main idea, and then explain how they decided which summary was correct. This approach assesses students’ ability to analyze content information and practice their metacognitive skills.

“A basic point underlying all these methods is that selecting means making a decision, and making a decision means thinking,” says Brookhart. “What we must do is get better at writing multiple-choice questions that require students to think deeply.”

“Making the Most of Multiple Choice” by Susan Brookhart in Educational Leadership, September 2015 (Vol. 73, #1, p. 36-39), available for purchase at; Brookhart can be reached at

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How are you communicating our Mission, Vision, and Values???

Part of being a successful organization and school is to ensure we are all aligned to common language and expectations. Please take a moment to reflect on how you are using the Mission, Vision, and Values with your students. If this is destination we want our students reach then we must actively communicate this each and every day. Make it a point this week to incorporate the Mission, Vision, and Values for Cary into your lessons!