SOS Story: Sarah Yuska

The Spotlight On Strategies series (CDN subscribers) is one of Discovery Education’s most popular resources. First introduced 2012, these strategies help teachers use media in effective and engaging ways in their classrooms.

The best part about the SOS is that they are flexible and can be used across grade levels and content areas. We are excited for our SOS Story: a new SOS series that spotlights teachers showing off how they have put the SOS to work in their classrooms.


SOS Strategy: The Questions Is… (CDN subscribers

Name: Sarah Yuska

District: Archdiocese of Baltimore, Clarksville, MD

Role: 7th and 8th Grade Science Teacher

Twitter: @sarahcyuska


Sarah’s SOS Story:

My 7th grade students were working on a Life Science Unit on Cells. We had just begun the process of learning the functions of the main organelles within a cell. As an introduction to this lesson, they identified organelles and labeled a large cell poster using the Discovery Education Techbook Interactive Cell Exploration (CDN subscribers); the Learn Genetics interactive cell models,and textbook readings as references. It was then time to begin concentrating on the functions of the organelles.

The night before the SOS activity, students were asked to read a section in their textbook that outlines all of the functions of the organelles. It is a very dense section, and I knew the students would not be able to absorb all of the information in one evening. It can also be very confusing, especially for those students who have some differentiated learning needs. I knew if I could get them up and moving while trying to recall the information they read the night before, it might make more of an impact than sitting and taking notes, so I chose SOS The Questions Is (CDN subscribers) as a review. Here’s what I did:

organelle1. I wrote the functions of the organelles on separate flip chart papers and hung them around the lab.

2. I then gave each student 9 post-its – one for each poster.

3. Next, I assigned each table group a poster to begin with and provided a list of the organelles on the board in the front of the room so they would have them to refer to. I specifically told them that I wanted to know what they knew – whether they were right or not! They were not to rely on what the previous post-its said. My instructions were to write both the organelle’s name and their name on the post-it before sticking it to the poster, this way I would have a nice formative assessment too. The groups then went to their first poster and began working clockwise.organelle3

4. As they moved, it was fascinating to watch how each student processed the question and carefully chose their answer. I found no matter what the level of student, every single one was engaged and trying their best. Every student participated and did not need any intervention from me.

organelle45. To complete the activity, I moved around the room and reviewed the various answers on the post-its by reading a sampling of them aloud to the class. I did not identify the student who wrote it. Many of them were correct! The students cheered or moaned, depending on their answers. We all discussed what the correct answers were and why. I also had them copy the names and functions in their notebook.

6. The students did ask if they could do it again after they had learned more to see if they could get them all correct. I replied, “You know it!”Save

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