CARY NEWS Sept 8, 2015


After much support and input from everyone I am proud to share our Mission, Vision and Values for Cary Middle School. As we work to make these statements and values a reality please remember that in order for these values to become part of our school culture we must strive to use them consistently. These words and statements should be part of your common language with students every day. In addition, we as leaders must exemplify these values as well. Thank you for all your hard work and collaboration to create these. As it says in our Motto, let’s continue to work as ONE and give 100%!

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Our Priorities

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Reminders for this week:

  • SLO/PDP Due Oct 1st! DRAFT must be submitted before then for approval
  • 7th Period - Have your students put chairs on the desk. This helps the cleaning crew at night
  • Upload lesson plans by Monday of each week on Google - See CIC for help!
  • Do not put students out in the hallway. You may talk with a student at the doorway, but do not banish students to the hall during class.
  • Check you mailbox in the front office every day
  • Check your email before, during lunch, and after school to ensure you are aware of any important information.
  • We have a late bus for tutoring purposes starting this week! Please see your appraiser if you wish to begin tutoring.

Good READ - How to Engage Middle-School Students

“What is active learning and what does it look like in the classroom?” asks Susan Edwards (Georgia Regents University) in this Middle School Journal article. Some key ingredients:
  • Students are intellectually involved in learning through problem-solving activities, creating multimedia presentations, synthesizing research for presentations or papers, inquiry activities, and concept maps.

  • They are socially engaged through whole-group discussions, small-group discussions, and small-group projects.

  • They are physically engaged through hands-on projects, manipulatives, games, building models, and lab experiments.

  • They aren’t overly reliant on the teacher

  • They reflect on ideas and how they are using those ideas.

  • They regularly assess their own understanding of subject matter and skills.

“The goal is not activity for activity’s sake or to make the lesson fun,” says Edwards. “It is not achieved by simply incorporating some games or fun activities into a lesson plan. Clearly, every activity in a lesson should lead to purposeful learning of the lesson objectives and the standard to be met.”

Edwards goes on to compare three lessons taught in a traditional, passive mode and then in an active mode:

Students work in small groups to create their own video with sentences using verbals.

Eighth-grade social studies: Key issues leading to the Civil War – Traditional mode:

  • The teacher lectures using PowerPoint.

  • Students take guided notes.

  • Students read a section in the textbook.

  • Students answer questions at the end of the section.

Same content, active mode:

  • The class plays a quiz bowl game using buzzers. Everyone rotates through two teams of five facing each other. The teacher asks questions involving understanding, applying, and analyzing and calls on the student who buzzes first.

  • The teacher requires students to explain their answers and probes with follow-ups: Expand on your definition of campaign. Use the word battle in your definition. This is where I need you to think and make connections.

  • The teacher interrupts the game several times with two activities: Heads-Down Quick Poll (a quick self-assessment) and repeating the correct answer three times.

  • Students work with partners on projects in which they create newsletters with articles and illustrations.

  • Students get a homework “Brag Sheet” assignment: they must explain to parents what they know about a list of topics (parents receive the answer sheet from the teacher and must sign off that their children knew the material).

“Active Learning in the Middle Grades” by Susan Edwards in Middle School Journal, May 2015 (Vol. 46, #5, p. 26-32),; Edwards can be reached at

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