The CIA Review

Office of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment

Edition 10 February 5, 2016

Spotlight on Strategies

Get in Line

Robert Marzano’s research supports the use of non-linguistic representations to bolster student comprehension of material. An example of this is time-sequence patterns, which give students a chance to organize events in a specific order.

Putting events in a sequence is also an important skill that students will use throughout their lives. Get in Line helps students understand the order in which events happen, which will assist in long-term retention of the information.

Watch the video below to see the strategy in action or download the directions here.
Get In Line
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Create Digital Portfolios Using SeeSaw

Seesaw empowers students of any age to independently document what they are learning at school. Students capture learning with photos and videos of their work, or by adding digital creations. When students add to their Seesaw journal, content is uploaded, organized by student, and immediately accessible to teachers from any device.


Seesaw makes it easy for students and teachers to review progress over time and demonstrate growth. Teachers can browse work from the entire class, or for a single student and use folders to organize work by subject area or project. Items can be flagged for follow up or to review at parent-teacher conferences.


Student work can be shared with classmates, parents, or published to a class blog. Seesaw gives students a real audience for their work and offers parents a personalized window into their child's learning.


With support for QR code sign in for younger learners and email/Google account sign in for older students, Seesaw works in any K-12 classroom.


Visit the website, teacher resources page or watch the short video below for more information.

Seesaw: The Learning Journal Overview

Closure Activities

Closure is the activity that ends a lesson and creates a lasting impression, a phenomenon that Colorado State University professor Rod Lucero calls the recency effect.


Teachers use closure to:

  • Check for understanding and inform subsequent instruction
  • Emphasize key information
  • Tie up loose ends
  • Correct misunderstandings


Students find closure helpful for:

  • Summarizing, reviewing, and demonstrating their understanding of major points
  • Consolidating and internalizing key information
  • Linking lesson ideas to a conceptual framework and/or previously-learned knowledge
  • Transferring ideas to new situations


Creative Closure Activities:


Two-Dollar Summary

Kids write a two-dollar (or more) summary of the lesson. Each word is worth ten cents. For extra scaffolding, ask students to include specific words in their statement.


Find a First-Grade Student

Have kids orally describe a concept, procedure, or skill in terms so simple that a child in first grade would get it.


Elevator Pitch

Ask students to summarize the main idea in under 60 seconds to another student acting as a well-known personality who works in your discipline. After summarizing, students should identify why the famous person might find the idea significant.


Simile Me

Have students complete the following sentence: "The [concept, skill, word] is like _______ because _______."


Exit Ticket Folder

Ask students to write their name, what they learned, and any lingering questions on a blank card or "ticket." Before they leave class, direct them to deposit their exit tickets in a folder or bin labeled either "Got It," "More Practice, Please," or "I Need Some Help!" -- whichever label best represents their relationship to the day's content.



Source: Finley, Todd. "22 Powerful Closure Activities." Edutopia. 15 Dec. 2015. Web. 20 Jan. 2016.

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ImagineNation Matters

ImagineNation Matters "virtual tour" modules are like storybooks come to life, in which upper elementary students can explore the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald, experience the human drama of the Underground Railroad, or traverse the history of Mackinac Island. Each module is in the form of a story that involves protagonists of the approximate age of the student participants.


As the students turn the pages of their virtual storybook, they are prompted with questions to consider. The students' comments are responded to by University of Michigan student mentors, who speak in the voices of the characters in the stories. These mentored conversations continue throughout the tour, offering students a chance to develop writing and research skills while they experience important moments in our state's history (and have fun, too!)


Click here to find out more about the ImagineNation Matters story modules for 2015. You'll also find descriptive information about each module, including a downloadable document that lists relevant Michigan curricular standards and benchmarks, and directions on how to view the actual modules and the teacher resources.

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M-STEP Math Updates

The Equation Builder used last year in the Spring 2015 online administration of the M-STEP mathematics test has been replaced with a new and improved Keypad Input. The Keypad Input allows for the entry of numbers, expressions, equations, etc., but does not perform any actual computations. Students can also enter numbers using their keyboard, but alpha characters cannot be entered.

  • The Keypad Input buttons will vary according to required components of an item. Any necessary variable will be included on the Keypad.


  • Computations are to be performed using the online calculator associated with items that are calculator-permitted.


  • Some items will have both the Keypad Input and a calculator. Other items will have either the Keypad Input or the calculator. Some items will have neither.


Grades 6–8 have both non-calculator and calculator-permitted items. The mathematics Sample Items Sets are partitioned into sections to reflect this. The calculator used by students in grade 6 is a basic calculator, while students in grades 7 and 8 use a scientific calculator.

Students in grades 3–5 are not permitted to use a calculator on any portion of the mathematics test.