The Spotlight On Strategies series (CDN subscribers) is one of Discovery Education’s most popular resources. First introduced 2012, this collection of strategies helps 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 to share SOS Story: an SOS series that elevates and celebrates teachers showing how they put the SOS to work in their classrooms. We would love to share your SOS Story. Visit this form to find out how!
Teacher: Audra Barton
District: Collier County Public Schools
Role: 5th Grade Science and ELA Teacher
Twitter Handle: @AudraBartonau
We’ve all had those days where a lesson needed a little more pizzazz to captivate student interest and engagement. I’ve recently found myself looking to the Discovery Education Spotlight on Strategies (CDN Version) series more and more often to help liven up my lessons as well as to help students make deeper connections with the material they’re learning.
Some of my favorite go-to strategies include SOS Six Word Story (CDN Version), AEIOU (CDN Version), and Tweet Tweet (CDN Version). However, I recently decided to try something different to help my students gain deeper connection with Black History Month, and specifically to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. I wanted my students to put themselves in the place of Dr. King by considering what he might have been thinking, who he could have been inspired by, and what friend connections he might he have. SOS Fakebook (CDN Version) was a great choice for my goals.
Using the Strategy
First, my class participated in the Discovery Education #CelebrateWithDE: Martin Luther King, Jr. Virtual Viewing Party by watching a short video and discussing what they learned.
Then, I provided students with several articles about Dr. King, which they read and then made lists of the information they felt was most important to know about Dr. King.
I arranged students in groups of four and showed them some sample Fakebook pages. (The general idea of SOS Fakebook is to create a Facebook profile page about the person you’re studying.) I made sure to discuss guidelines for the project, such as using respectful and appropriate language, neatness, color, and correct spelling.
The next step was for groups to create timelines of Dr. King’s life. Each group decided which of his many life events they thought was most important. That event became his status on their Fakebook page.
Next, they chose a related picture to use as his profile, along with significant dates (such as his birth date) and other facts they thought were relevant. The groups had to negotiate to decide on what information to include, which lead to some deep thinking and lively debate as they tried to narrow down what information to include. Finally, they selected a quote that they felt exemplified Martin’s beliefs the best to add to the page.
Strategy Outcomes and Adaptations
This lesson was a huge success. Every student was engaged the entire time, and they were very excited while creating the Fakebook pages. Teams couldn’t wait to hang their masterpieces in the hall to share with the school community. While I used a low-tech version of the Fakebook strategy with paper, pencil and markers, there is an online template that allows students to build and share a digital Fakebook page that you could try, too!
I am planning to use this strategy again later this year to help students dig into learning about the American Revolution. I think it could also be used in a science classroom. For example, ask students to create a Fakebook page for a water droplet by considering: What might the status be? Where might the water drop travel? What friends might that drop have? Or, have them create a Fakebook page for a rock as it travels through the rock cycle, experiences weathering and erosion, etc. The only limit to this SOS strategy is your imagination. If you are looking for a way to transform your teaching and connect students to what they’re learning, Fakebook is an excellent place to start.
Ideas for Sharing the SOS
This year I have shared SOS strategies at several staff meetings. When I present, I try to make sure I have a variety of work samples that will pertain to all grade levels in my school. For example, I most recently shared SOS Placemat (CDN Version), a great strategy for helping students look for main ideas and then learn to synthesize them into one thought or statement. I had most grade level teams reading grade-appropriate articles pertaining to Veterans Day, but I challenged the Kindergarten team to use the strategy to bolster math skills by listing ways to make the number 8, which included not just using the numerals, but also pictures, stickers and manipulatives that they glued down to model their mathematical thinking. Doing this helped all the teachers realize that SOS strategies can be adapted and used with any grade level and to teach any subject.
I have also held after-school make-and-take sessions where teachers learn how to turn shower curtain liners into permanent AEIOU (CDN Version) and Tweet Tweet (CDN Version) boards to keep in their classrooms. This great idea was shared by my friend and DEN STAR, Terra-Lee Gratton, at the DEN Summer Institute!