Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Creating Effective Multiple Choice Questions

So, you have assigned your students a WebQuest in the hopes that it will help them to master the standards you want to teach.  

You have given them a research task, resources to use, and now you are going to create a Quiz for them that doubles as a research activity.  

You want your students to have to search for the answers to questions that are ESSENTIAL to mastering the standards you have assigned.  

For example:  IF your standard is... 

Describe and give examples of ways in which Earth's surface is built up and torn down by physical and chemical weathering, erosion, and deposition.    

You would want to assign quiz questions that would require your students to research ways in which different structures on the surface of the earth are created and destroyed by weathering, erosion and deposition.  You would need to have questions that deal with:
  • physical weathering
  • chemical weathering
  • erosion
  • deposition
  • specific ways in which they occur

By the end of the quiz, students should have a very good knowledge base about the standard.  They should be able to explain the processes to you.

Your research activity/quiz requires multiple choice questions, however, you don't want to make them so easy that your students can avoid researching.  

When making multiple choice questions, it is important to come up with nonanswers that are close enough to the real answer to provide a challenge to the students.  These nonanswers are called distractors.  You want your distractors to use enough of the relevant vocabulary that they sound like they really could be the right answer.  You want to make it so that students HAVE to research in order find the correct answer.  

The Parts of a Multiple-Choice Question:
  • Item = the entire multiple choice question
  • Stem = the first, sentence-like portion of the multiple choice question
  • Alternates or options = all of the possible multiple-choice responses
  • Keyed Response =correct answer
  • Distractor or foil = the wrong answers. They are called distractors or foils because they should be written to closely resemble the keyed response, therefore distracting or foiling students who are good at guessing.

You want your questions to require higher order thinking.  Try to ask questions that want to know WHY something happens and do not just require students to memorize facts.  

WHY questions are always superior to WHAT questions.  You want all of your questions to be HOT questions- HOT meaning higher order thinking.  

So, relating back to our weathering standard- don't ask your students,  "What are the two types of weathering?" Instead ask them, "How do Physical and Chemical weathering differ?"  The poor questions simply asks students to memorize vocabulary terms while the other asks students to understand processes in nature.  Higher order questions have more power to teach and to determine what your students know.

Here are some examples to help you with identifying higher order multiple choice questions.  These examples have been modified from an excerpt taken from Writing Good Multiple-Choice Exams by Dawn M. Zimmaro, Ph.D:

Use the resources below to help you construct effective questions. Good luck!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Author's Purpose Online

Websites seem to know it all- but not every site is created for the same reason.  Some sites have been designed to PERSUADE you to buy something, vote for someone, believe something, or do something.  Others were made simply to bring you enjoyment- they ENTERTAIN you with games, jokes, interesting stories, videos and more.  Then there are sites that are intended to educate you in some way- they INFORM you.  PERSUADE ENTERTAIN INFORM- PIE.  This is the PIE of Author's Purpose!  

Sometimes websites can have a little bit of each of these- they might be teaching you something in an entertaining way while also trying to persuade you to buy something!  

HOWEVER- there is one more purpose out there- to TRICK, MISLEAD, or play a JOKE on you.  These kinds of sites can be confusing because they pretend to be real when they are NOT.  These are called HOAX sites.  

Using the links below, decide what each site is MOSTLY trying to do- PERSUADE you, INFORM you or ENTERTAIN you.  There may even be one or two HOAX sites- just to confuse you!

1. http://www.jenis.com/  

2. http://www.biography.com/  

3. http://www.games2girls.com/

4. http://www.innerbody.com/

5. http://clickmonkeys.com/

6. http://looneytunes.kidswb.com/

7. http://www.toysrus.com/shop/index.jsp?categoryId=2255956

8. http://www.sciencebuddies.org/ 

9. http://zapatopi.net/treeoctopus/

10. http://www.factmonster.com/

Monday, February 17, 2014


So I have decided to breathe new life into my blog... 

  • Information Literacy Lessons
  • Reading Recommendations
  • Book Reviews

Yeah- look for that good stuff here...

Evaluating Online Sources

You cannot trust everything you find online- just like you cannot trust everything you find in the real world.  You wouldn't believe everything you are told by a stranger so why would you believe everything you see on a website? Before you believe ANYTHING you should first apply your critical thinking skills! 

You must learn about Website Evaluation and the criteria we should use to determine the CREDIBILITY of information.  

CREDIBILITY: the quality of being believed as true, real, honest.

Below is a video that will introduce you to website evaluation:

In my classes, we use a method of source evaluation called the CRAAP method.  

Below is a short video about the CRAAP method.  

Olympics Internet Scavenger Hunt!

Winter Olympics Online Scavenger Hunt
Use the following links to answer the questions:
Write your answers on the sheets provided by Mrs. Sanborn.

1. When and where were the first winter Olympic games?
2. How many countries participated in the first Winter Olympics?
3. How many athletes participated in the first winter Olympic Games?
4. How many events were there?
5. What was the first event?

Based on your research, if you were alive during these times, what event would like to have competed in, and why?

6. What are the dates for the 2014 Winter Olympics?
7. Where is the 2014 Winter Olympics taking place?
8. What number Winter Olympic Games is this? 

If you could choose ANYWHERE in the world, where it is cold enough to snow, where would you like the next Winter Olympics to take place and why?

9. Who are the 2014 Olympic Games mascots?
10. Who are the 2014 Paralympic Games mascots?
11. Leopard rescued nearby villages from what?
12. What is the Polar Bears favorite sport?
13. Where does the Hare study?

If you were in charge of choosing a mascot for the Winter Olympics, what would it be and why?

14. How many athletes have won medals at both the summer and winter
15. What is the number of the most medals won at the winter Olympics?
16. The Sochi Olympic Torch will be the first to ever travel where?
17. What event was added to figure skating for 2014?

Do you have a favorite Winter Olympic event?  What makes it your favorite?  If not, what event would you like to learn more about?

18. Approximately how many countries will take place in the 2014 Olympic Games? 
19. How many medals will be given out at the 2014 Olympics? 
20. About how many athletes will participate? 
21. What is the estimate for the amount of people who will watch the Olympics on television? 
22. The Olympic Games will be divided into two clusters. What are they? 

Do you watch the Olympics on television with your family?  Do you have any family traditions when the olympics are on?  If not, do you think you might watch it this year now that you know a little about it?

23. Name one of the sports venues that is located in the Coastal Cluster. 
24. In which venue does Ice Hockey take place? 
25. In which venue do the opening and closing ceremonies take place? 
26. The Mountain Cluster includes how many venues? 
27. Where will snowboarding take place? 

How do you think people become Olympic Athletes?  What character traits do you think people need to make it to the olympics?  

28. What are the dates for the Sochi Paralympics? 
29. How many athletes are there? 
30. How many medals will be awarded?

Paralympians are athletes that have a physical disability.  However, they are people who refuse to let that disability keep them from the sports they love.  Write a list of adjectives that come to mind when you think of the character traits of a Paralympian.