SOS Top Ten for Social Studies

Welcome to our special SOS Top Ten series. This month, we’re highlighting some of the most popular ways to use Spotlight on Strategies (CDN Version) in Social Studies classrooms.


Whether you are asking students to analyze a historical photograph, order events in a chronological progression, or compare primary source documents written during a specific time period, teaching Social Studies means immersing students in learning about people and their relationships with one another and the world.

The Spotlight on Strategies (CDN Version) series offers many opportunities for students to investigate different perspectives, explore new ideas, and develop an understanding of the progression of events over time.

When asked about their favorite strategies to use for teaching Social Studies concepts, your DEN Friends were staunch advocates for strategies that involve students in critical analysis, discussion, and synthesis of information. They also picked strategies that encourage students to be creative and really dig into topics they are studying.


Top Ten SOS: Social Studies

Visual Walkabout (CDN Version) Give students a sneak peek of the content in an upcoming unit with a gallery of images that students visit, make connections with, and ask questions about.

Multiple Perspectives (CDN Version) Have students assume a perspective other than their own while learning about an historical event and write a narrative piece about it from that perspective.

They Said What? (CDN Version) Ask students to demonstrate their understanding of an historical event by creating dialogue based on content knowledge between the characters shown in a still photo.

Sample Fakebook page created by a student during a study of Dr. Martin Luther King in Audra Barton’s classroom.

Fakebook (CDN Version)  Have students create a mock profile page for a person they’re learning about. Ask them to include not only important events and places, but also have them include friend connections and comments those friends could have made on their timeline.

Make It Concrete (CDN Version)  Ask students to demonstrate understanding by making concrete poems.

Journals (CDN Version) Encourage students to summarize their learning by keeping a daily journal that includes drawing a picture and writing a few phrases or sentences.

Thinking Hats (CDN Version) Assign students thinking styles and have them use only that style to consider the information in a Social Studies digital resource.

321 Pyramid (CDN VersionThis pyramid framework is helpful in guiding students in the process of summarizing information.

Silence Is Golden (CDN Version) Redirect student attention away from the audio and toward the imagery in video segments. Have them and discuss what they are seeing with one another and make predictions about what is to come.

Inquiry Chart (CDN Version)  Have students gather information from multiple sources in a chart that helps them to synthesize information they’ve gathered. The Inquiry Chart is an excellent tool for guiding research.


Thank you to these DEN Friends who contributed their ideas for using Spotlight On Strategies to teach Social Studies concepts. Reach out to them via social media to find out more!

Cecilia Wilburn-Davis

Luke Strawser

Audra Barton

Dacia Jones

Lauri Vitale

Katie Bollinger

Cindy Lane

Hugh McDonald

Jen Cucchiarelli

Ann Schmidt Clermont

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