SOS Story: Jackie Smyers

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:   AEIOU (CDN subscribers)

Name:  Jackie Smyers

District:  Poway Unified School District

Role: 3rd Grade Teacher

Twitter:   @just4jax72


Jackie’s SOS Story:

I learned about the SOS Strategy AEIOU (CDN subscribers) and was excited to try it. Note taking is an increasingly important skill for children to have, but it can be very challenging for younger children. I have especially struggled with having third graders take notes on videos because the videos are often too fast paced for beginning note takers. I decided to use the AEIOU strategy with the Discovery Education science video Getting to Know Energy (CDN subscribers).

I introduced the strategy to my class by modeling it with a short video segment.  Then, I played the energy video, and, as we watched it, I stopped the presentation and allowed the students to write thoughts about any of the AEIOUs. I then resumed the video and then stopped again a few minutes later. This continued throughout the duration of the video. When the video was finished, all of my students (including English Language Learners and Special Ed students) had completed AEIOU notes.

During the next science session, I asked students to pair share their AEIOUs. I heard them recalling good facts from the video. We then shared out as a whole group – this is when I noticed that many students just had one word answers. For A (adjective), many students wrote “amazed” or “surprised”, but didn’t indicate what they were amazed or surprised about. For E (emotion), kids wrote things like “impressed” or “happy”, but again with no indication as to why they felt that way. I then stopped the class and had them go back and change their one word answers into complete sentences. It was then that I saw the true impact of this strategy. Kids wrote great ideas: “I was amazed that there are so many different types of energy,” and “The video was useful because it had a lot of facts,” and “I was surprised they were talking about matter in the video”.

After students made sure they had written in complete sentences, I interviewed the class about the AEIOU strategy. Every student found the strategy helpful. Students said it helped them to better understand the content when they had time to stop, think, and then write about it. Kids felt like it helped them to organize their thinking, and many felt that it helped them know what they should be writing about. They asked if we could use this strategy again with future videos. Obviously we will!

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