M-Powerment Strategy #4

Data Driven Instruction

MMS Media & Tech Team: Allison Long, Felicia Davis, Elizabeth Stapleton, and Michael Cline

M-Powerment Strategy #4 Highlight:

M-4 Data Driven Instruction: Teachers use data and aligned resources to transform instructional methods and empower students to take ownership of their learning.

Results Driven Culture

Instructional Highlight: Math Stations in the CAVE

Mrs. McAllister and Mrs. Richardson joined their classes together for two days to encourage learning together and use the entire CAVE with 5 stations for students with a partner to complete in the two day time period. Students were working on percents. The stations included IXL, Quizziz, Scavenger Hunt with QR codes, coloring, and sorting. The stations used all areas of the CAVE and students enjoyed learning in this way together. Check out the video below.

Instructional Highlight: Cardboard Art

These are Relief sculptures, which means that it has a flat back and some elements that stick out from the surface. Students researched real cityscapes for inspiration before starting their cityscape.

These were the requirements for

1. The more layers the better

2. some organic elements

3. Details that you would see on the street. Anything that would make your cityscape different.

4. Paint the entire thing black and then add color with oil pastels

The Superpowers are looking for YOU!

If you are teaching a lesson or using a strategy that shows

  • Standard Aligned Lessons
  • High Expectations and Rigor
  • Culture of Caring

in your classroom, please let us know so we can come by and check it out!

Picture Courtesy of Quora

MMS Media Tips:

M-Powerment #4: Data Driven Instruction:

The CAVE is a great place to group students by using data and provide them with a comfortable learning environment which can allow you to focus in on the students that need more help. Please stop by work out the details with Mrs. Long and Mrs. Stapleton to provide some data driven instruction to your classroom in the CAVE!

This post from OnHandSchools are 13 tips to creating Data Driven Learning Centers. The CAVE is great place to create these areas for students. Read the entire post:" A baker's dozen steps to creating effective learning centers that engage students in learning" By Dr. Paula A. Calabrese here.

1. Gather Student Assessment Data

Review multiple measures of student data to determine students' needs. Check on demographics, perceptions, student learning and school processes. Examine how these data intersect and influence each other.

2. Analyze Data

Analyze the data collected and determine the patterns and trends that are revealed. Are there indicators of weakness in particular knowledge and/or skill areas? Are areas in need of improvement particular to a specific Core Standard, Assessment Anchor or Eligible Content?

3. Interpret Data

Identify the patterns and trends demonstrated through the data and match individual and small groups of students with each. Plan specific teaching and learning strategies that might be most effective for improving student achievement.

4. Develop Student Learning Profile

Assess each of your students and create a learning profile for each one. Consider how each student learns best: visual, auditory, kinesthetic learner. Consider the amount of time it takes for each student to learn concepts. Consider the reading level of each student. Consider the number of days absent. Consider all available test scores, especially item analysis data. Consider PSSA scores. Determine if there are small groups of students (3-5) who have similar skill needs.

5. Plan for Space, Location, Design

Plan the location of the Learning Center carefully. Select a corner or alcove or create a special space in your classroom to encourage students’ use. Many students respond favorably to inviting environments, cozy corners, comfortable chairs, attractive decorations and special touches from students such as a mural painted on a cardboard room divider. Area rugs, netting, sheer fabric also help to set off an area and make it appealing. You don’t have to be an interior designer, but creating a unique area is a motivating influence in getting students to use the Learning Center productively. Ask interested students to help create the environment you want to provide at your Learning Center. Consider inviting students to contribute to the Learning Center with personal collections or related artifacts and items for display. Parents might also be invited to contribute ideas to the Learning Centers.

6. Identify the Learning Center Topic or Theme

Develop Learning Centers gradually. Make them an integral part of your lesson planning process. Your Learning Centers should support the lessons you are teaching during your whole group or small group instruction. Avoid feeling that you must create several Learning Centers immediately. Design and implement one Learning Center thoroughly in an area of personal strength or interest that relates to your content area as well as the PA Core Standards, Assessment Anchors, Eligible Content and the National Common Core Standards. Tie Learning Centers into your curriculum. The content and skills can change regularly to match the concepts that students are studying in a particular unit or chapter. Then, consider developing others. Work with a colleague to developLearning Centers. If each develops one Learning Center, they can be shared so that each of you has two Learning Centers to use with your students in your classroom.

7. Organize the Learning Center

Clearly label your Learning Centers and make sure they are easily accessible, are well-stocked with all the materials and supplies necessary for students to work independently. Be sure that the goals, objectives and directions are clearly written in student friendly language so that students can derive the maximum benefit from their usage. Consider placing “In” and “Out” boxes or folders at the Learning Center so that students know where to pick up their work and where to place completed work. Create a storage system of boxes, baskets, folders or large envelopes to store materials. Label all materials in the Learning Center for quick and easy access.

8. Differentiate the Learning Center Activities

Include a variety of activities to engage different types of learners. Avoid providing only paper and pencil tasks. Students should have opportunities to draw, color, cut, glue,match, listen, fasten, tie, select, compare, classify, outline, assemble, rearrange etc. The possibilities are as endless as your imagination. Be sure to allow for student choice among the activities offered. Allow students to practice self-direction, responsibility and accountability for their work at the Learning Center. Periodically add new activities to maintain student interest. Be realistic about making changes. Weekly is too often, but yearly is not often enough. Changes with the grading periods, quarterly or with the administration of 4Sight might be more reasonable and doable.

9. Be Explicit

List clear procedures for using the Learning Centers in a variety of modalities. Include visual, graphic directions, written directions and oral directions (with earphones) so that students are able to begin work immediately.

10. Teach Students How to Use the Learning Centers

Before directing students to use the Learning Centers, conduct one or more orientation sessions to familiarize them with what the Learning Centers are, why they are being used and how they should be used.

11. Explain the Learning Center Routines

Post a Learning Center Schedule and Activity Log at the Learning Center. They operate more smoothly, efficiently and effectively when students have a set time of the week,day or class period to use them. The Activity Log can consist of dated sign-in and sign-out sheets to make students more accountable for their self-directed learning activities.

12. Identify Student Responsibilities and Consequences

Require students to complete a self-evaluation form after each visit to a LearningCenter. These can provide meaningful feedback to help you assess students’ progress and address their needs. If you prefer not to have a separate self-evaluation form, you might include a “Comment/Evaluation” space on the sign-in sheets so that students can write a brief self-assessment right on that same form.

13. Evaluate and Revise

Consider taking photos of the Learning Centers that you create. They will serve as a reminder for future use. Colleagues could also share photos and gather ideas for developing Learning Centers from one another. Use the student self-evaluations as well as your own observations to determine the success of the Learning Centers. Make changes to the Learning Centers based on the data you gather as students use the centers.

Picture Courtesy of Tiffany Whitehead

From Cuz's Desk

Overdues will be in your box this week. With the Holidays many students will have forgotten that their books are now overdue. Please help us get this books returned or renewed. Thank You!

We also have some new books in the CAVE! Sign your class up to check out a new book! Look for personal homeroom invites coming soon.

MMS Instructional Tips

Strategy to Multiple Choice Preparation


This strategy is a step by step method where students learn and practice how to tackle multiple choice questions. It focuses on the thinking process behind answering the questions. One problem that many students have with multiple choice is that they don’t really read the question. They quickly read the stem and the distractors, but don’t really engage with the words. That is, they don’t THINK while they are reading. This activity forces the student to slow down and read the words on the page and make notes about their thought process.

Another problem that many students have with multiple choice is they don’t see the value of narrowing down their choices and creating a better guessing game. This activity may help with that issue, also. This strategy is a great “double dip.” That is, it’s great practice at learning the skill of taking multiple choice test items and an excellent way to provide another opportunity for distributed practice and incremental development with the content.


Students follow a step-by-step procedure for answering a multiple choice question while also writing their thinking during the process. This strategy is especially effective when the question is placed on the overhead to ensure that the students don’t learn incorrect content by being fooled by the distractors. It’s best to have the students engaged in processing loops throughout the activity to help them learn from each other and then report out once you are sure all students can be successful. Always keep them accountable, yet safe.


Step One

Model the step-by-step instructions for answering a multiple choice question. The directions are written here and on the activity sheet provided in the Appendix.


1. Read the question.

2. Circle the key words/phrases in the question.

3. Attach the key words/phrases to a definition or alternate words to help you

understand the question better.

4. Read each distractor.

5. If the distractor is a possible answer, write a “?” next to it.

6. If you know the distractor is incorrect, draw a slash (/) through the let er.

7. If it is an EXCEPT question, then write a T or F next to the let er.

8. Write your rationale for each distractor.

9. Continue eliminating distractors as far as you can.

10. Circle the letter of the most correct choice.

Step Two - Have students complete the example question you modeled.

Step Three – Give them one or two questions to complete as practice.


While students are still learning the process to complete for answering the multiple choice questions, they should be given “easier” questions to answer. In other words, give them questions for which they will most likely know the answers until they have learned the process.

The first time teaching this strategy, take about 30-40 minutes to show the students what you want them to do. First, break it down and fill in each line one-at-a-time. Since they are doing much more than simply bubbling in or circling an answer, only ask them to do one or two questions-at-a-time. As they progress throughout the year, you might give them four or five questions to complete, but any more than that tends to bog them down. As the standardized test gets closer, begin to leave this document behind and set a faster pace since many standardized tests are timed. But by then, the students have learned the skill of taking multiple choice tests and can think through the questions faster and on a deeper level than ever before.

A Learning Support Station and/or homework notes will be necessary for this activity, especially at the beginning. At minimum, provide the correct answer to the multiple choice question, so students don’t spend time learning incorrect information that will later have to be corrected.

Excerpt from Rogers, Spence. Teaching For Excellence. Conifer, CO: Peak Learning Systems, 1994. Print.

Picture Courtesy of Ide Instsructional Coaches Corner blog

From the Help Desk:

New Year's Tech Resolutions

It's a new year and for most this means some sort of resolution about eating healthier, sleeping more, getting organized or any number of other things. Here are a few ideas for resolutions to set involving your technology!

1. Moderation

I know it's very easy to open 12 tabs in Google Chrome to keep all the important, and not as important, websites accessible with one click! This does not allow the computer to run as efficiently as it can. This year commit to getting your tabs under control and only have 5-6 open at any given time!

2. Get more sleep

If you try to go multiple days without sleep your body will not function as it should. Your body needs rest to rebuild muscle, fight illness and keep you alert. Just like your body your computer needs to be turned off as well. This year commit to the following at least every other day: Quit all your open applications (open and click Command+Q) and restart your computer using the Apple in the corner.

3. Don't delay

Sometimes things need to be done no matter how unpleasant! This could be a yearly physical or a trip to the dentist. Computer updates fall in this category for many as they happen at the most inopportune time. These updates, pushed from the MGSD Tech Department, are crucial and it is very important that you complete them immediately! This year commit to completing the updates when they show up! If you have any questions feel free to ask!

There are numerous other tech resolutions I could have included but this should be good to start the year! If you'd like to hear some other tech resolutions like meeting new people or losing the excess don't hesitate to email for details!

PIcture Courtesy of Duplicator Sales and Service

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Superpowers Are Here For You!