Welcome the DE Summer School special edition of SOS. Our S.O.S series provides help, tips, and tricks for integrating DE media into your curriculum. During August, we’ll be featuring our STAR Community’s favorite strategies and how they have made them their own.
Special thanks to DEN STAR and teacher librarian Susan Bowdoin (@sbowdoin) from Albuquerque Public Schools for sharing how she brought this SOS to her students
This SOS Strategy is great to use when you’re trying to help students collaboratively build background knowledge on a topic. It actively engages them in doing some quick research that is then synthesized into an easy to share product, a task that supports Common Core ELA Anchor Standard 9 (the standard that deals with analyzing how two or more texts address similar themes or topics) within any content area!
I used the 25 Things You Didn’t Know About…. strategy this past school year with a group of 5th grade students who were learning about the reintroduction of the Mexican Gray Wolf into Southwest ecosystems. Students were placed in groups of 4 or 5 individuals. Each group was provided with one laptop, several print resources, and a selection of web sites that I posted to a Discovery Board. They were then given the task of learning all they could about the Mexican Gray Wolf and creating a list of a minimum of 5 facts that they learned (most of them found more than that!)
After about 20 minutes I asked the students to compile the facts they learned into a poster presentation. My students took this project a step beyond the suggested paper poster, using ThingLink to create an interactive web-based presentation of the facts that they found. (Example: https://www.thinglink.com/scene/493457691482521602 ) Student groups presented their ThingLink projects to the class using the Promethean Board and as a class we compared the facts that were common across the groups as well as those that were unique. It also provided an excellent venue for discussing reliability and validity of sources they used as well as clarifying the differences between the Mexican Gray Wolf and the larger Gray Wolf that was reintroduced into Yellowstone National Park.
This strategy helped me to engage students in building common background knowledge in an interactive and interesting way. My students referred back to this initial research as they learned more about Mexican Gray Wolf reintroduction as well as other organisms that have been impacted by human interaction on ecosystems. It’s a great strategy that I’ll definitely use again!