SOS Story: Techifying SOS Strategies

The Spotlight On Strategies series (CDN) 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.

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!


Educators: Carrie Willis and Caitlin Arakawa

SOS Strategies: Whittle It Down (CDN Version), Puppet Pictures (CDN Version), 3 Truths… 1 Lie (CDN Version), Scrambled Please (CDN Version), and 6 Word Story (CDN Version)

School: Valley Preparatory School, in Redlands, California

Roles: Technology Director and Teacher (Carrie) and Kindergarten Teacher (Caitlin)

Twitter Handles:  @carriewillis18  @caitlin_arakawa


Carrie and Caitlin’s Story

SOS strategies are quick and easy teaching strategies to help enhance student engagement in the classroom by helping students become active—rather than passive—learners. These strategies were designed with the intention of pairing them with digital media; however, they are great tools that can be integrated across all domains and lesson types.

We have seen first-hand how SOS strategies speak to different learning styles, across all grade spans, and we’ve found inspiration to integrate more technology because we’ve seen how it increases student engagement in our classrooms.

We recently presented some of our favorite SOS strategies to pair with technology at the 2018 Day of Discovery in Anaheim, CA. These include Whittle It Down (CDN Version), Puppet Pictures (CDN Version), 3 Truths… 1 Lie (CDN Version), Scrambled Please (CDN Version), and 6 Word Story (CDN Version) .


Whittle It Down + Answer Garden

Whittle It Down (CDN Version) is a strategy used to collaboratively compile final list of words or topics that summarize a lesson. Answer Garden pairs perfectly with this strategy because as students are submitting their words or phrases, Answer Garden counts the amount of submissions of that same word or phrase and enlarges it based off the number of submissions.

Those words and phrases that have been submitted by multiple students/groups are enlarged, pulling your attention to those main ideas. It becomes extremely easy to see, or “whittle down”, to the the main points or words and topics needed to best summarize the lesson. Here’s an example of an Answer Garden our participants at Day of Discovery completed.


Puppet Pictures + DoInk

Puppet Pictures (CDN Version) is an SOS strategy that helps students connect with new vocabulary and concepts by creating visuals and images to show their learning, much like a puppet show. We like to showcase these puppet shows by using the green screen app called DoInk.

We use small boxes (think: pizza box) covered in green paper to make a small scaled green screen theater. Students write stories, attach pictures to green straws, and film using an iPad or tablet. DoInk allows students to be more creative with their design as well as produce quality videos to share with others.


3 Truths… 1 Lie & Kahoot

3 Truths… 1 Lie (CDN Version) helps students focus on key points while ruling out any falsehoods. This SOS strategies pairs perfectly with Kahoot. Students may create their own truths and lies, either in class or for homework, and the teacher can create a Kahoot game for the class based on the student generated questions and the class can play as a review or assessment.

Integrating Kahoot is beneficial because it not only engages all students in your class simultaneously, but it also gamifies your classroom incorporating some friendly competition. This strategy was shared by DEN member Christine Wallace from Wisconsin. Here’s an example of a Kahoot game we used during our Day of Discovery presentation.


Scrambled Please + Nearpod

Scrambled Please (CDN Version) allows students to learn and remember content while practicing sequencing. Teachers take any text or reading passage, remove the last paragraph(s), and scramble it up the words or sentences, requiring the students to unscramble them. Nearpod is an app in which has many features, one of them being an unscramble and fill in the blank activity. Teachers can easily copy and paste the text into Nearpod and select the words you would like to omit. Students need to find the words from the box and drag them into the correct blank. This serves as a great exit ticket, study strategy, or quick formative assessment.


6 Word Story + Poll Everywhere

6 Word Story (CDN Version) allows students to practice summarizing and selective word choice. This strategy can be used with images text or media. Students try to summarize their learning by creating a 6 Word Story that conveys a big idea. Students can submit their 6 Word Story using Poll Everywhere.

All answers that are submitted by students pop up on the screen allowing them to have access and read responses from their peers. This is a great collaborative tool that allows all responses to be quickly and easily shared with the rest of the class.


Integrating technology keeps your teaching strategies fresh, fun, and relevant for your students and for you!

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2 Comments

  1. Tutoriage said:

    I’m happy that we have such a good system like SOS strategies. They are quick and easy teaching strategies to help enhance student engagement in the classroom by helping students become active—rather than passive—learners.

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