The CIA Report

From the Office of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment

September 16, 2016

Spotlight on Strategies

Whip Around


Whip Around is a teaching strategy that ensures that every student's voice is heard. After listening to or watching a piece of media, students write a response to a prompt with the goal of having an original response among the class.



Watch the strategy in action below or download the how-to pdf.

Whip Around

Constitution Day

Public Law 108-447 requires all educational institutions receiving federal funds to hold an educational program on the United States Constitution on September 17, 2016, for the students served by the educational institution. If the 17th falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday, the law allows the celebration to be held during the preceding or following week. Please contact your principal in regard to the educational program your building will be offering.


Below are Constitution Day resources for teachers:

Discovery Education's Constitution Day Content Collection

Virtual Field Trip to the Library of Congress

Constitution Center

Constitution Facts

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I Wish My Teacher Knew...

In this New York Times article, Donna de la Cruz describes a get-to-know-you strategy some teachers use at the beginning of each school year; they ask students to complete the sentence, “I wish my teacher knew…” Here are some actual responses:


  • I wish my teacher knew I don’t have pencils at home to do my homework.
  • I wish my teacher knew I love my family.
  • I wish my teacher knew that my family and I live in a shelter.
  • I wish my teacher knew I am smarter than she thinks I am.
  • I wish my teacher knew that sometimes my reading log is not signed because my mom isn’t around a lot.
  • I wish my teacher knew that my little brother gets scared and I get worried about getting up every night.
  • I wish my teacher knew I love animals and I would do anything for my animals. I would love to work at the MSPCA so I could help animals get adopted.
  • I wish my teacher knew that my mom and dad are divorced and that I am the middle of 7 kids. 5 out of that 7 are boys.
  • I wish my teacher knew I want to learn more about history.
  • I wish my teacher knew that my mom might get diagnosed with cancer this week and I’ve been without a home 3 different times this year alone.
  • I wish my teacher knew that my dad works two jobs and I don’t see him much.
  • I wish my teacher knew how much I miss my dad because he got deported to Mexico when I was 3 years old and I haven’t seen him in 6 years.


These and other thoughts from students are available in a recent book by Kyle Schwartz, I Wish My Teacher Knew: How One Question Can Change Everything for Our Kids (Da Capo Lifelong Books, 2016); there is also a Twitter hashtag, #iwishmyteacherknew.


Source: “What Kids Wish Their Teachers Knew” by Donna de la Cruz in The New York Times, August 31, 2016,http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/31/well/family/what-kids-wish-their-teachers-knew.html?_r=0

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Owl Eyes


So, here’s how Owl Eyes works. As a teacher, you set up your class in Owl Eyes. You can select classic literature included in the app and even add your own annotations (or standards-aligned annotations if you prefer.) When students download Owl Eyes and get the book, it includes your annotations, the quizzes you’ve embedded at different points in the book, and anything else you’ve added.


As students read, you can see their progress and annotations. If you want to reply inside their annotations, you can. I really love the idea of quizzing students at different points in the book to spur comprehension and deep reading. Check out Owl Eyes.

OwlEyes.org for Teachers

2017 State Assessment Calendar

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Newsela Students Vote 2016

Today’s students are tomorrow’s voters. But with the campaigns and the media focusing on adults, making election coverage accessible and engaging for students can be difficult.


That’s why Newsela has assembled an array of leveled nonfiction articles and other resources that will enable teachers to turn their students into informed voters. The Students Vote 2016 Teacher Guide consists of:


  • 5 ready-to-use units containing issue-specific Text Sets and suggestions for classroom activities, assignments, and more. Starting September 12, Newsela will spotlight one unit each week until student polls open on October 17.
  • Weekly issue polls to go even deeper. After teachers cover a unit, use the embedded polls to spark conversation and track student engagement.


It all leads up to Newsela’s Students Vote 2016 national election. Between October 17 and November 1, your class can participate in the online poll.

Global Read Aloud

Angie Geis, 7th grade reading teacher at the MS, invites all teachers to participate in the Global Read Aloud project which runs October 3 - November 11.


"The project is a chance for our students to hear a book read aloud, and you, as teacher, choose an online platform that you are comfortable with to assist your students in sharing their thoughts with other readers around the world about the same book.


I tried it last year when we read A Fish In A Tree and loved the experience. I followed the different Twitter feeds for the GRA and the group for our book. I also had my students use WriteAbout.com. Other teachers use Edmodo, Padlet, Google Classroom, Facebook, etc. Some classrooms Skype with authors and other classes.


My 7th Graders will be reading Orbiting Jupiter this year. Visit the blog Global Read Aloud and check out what books might be a good choice for your students. For HS, All American Boys is a choice, and for younger kids, the BFG and PAX are choices--as well as a picture book study for the littles.


If anyone else would like to check out the Writeabout.com-- this company has offered free Classroom Plus accounts for participants in the GRA.-- it will be active all year! I would like other teachers to try this out, as I think it is a valuable online writing platform."

TRIG/Dell Virtual Professional Learning

All courses below are 3 weeks in length and contain two live, 1-hour webinars. After registering, you will receive course instructions; webinars will begin the second week of October 2016 (first week of the month is rolling enrollment and pre-course readings). All courses are eligible for 6 SCECH credits per course.

Click on the links below to get

more information on each course and to register.




1. Introductory Practices in Literacy Instruction and Technology

2. Introduction to Applying Google Apps for Education Course

3. Intermediate Google for Learning

4. Advanced Google for Learning Course

5. Office 365: Improving student learning and management

6. Design Thinking made Practical

7. Refining Curriculum with Deeper Learning in Mind (X-BL)

8. Leading a Culture of Change in Your School

9. Professional Development through Social Media

10. Intermediate Social Media: Improving Student Learning and Management