Tag Archives: #spotlightonstrategies

SOS Story: Sims Middle School

SOS Story: Sims Middle School

Tuesday, February 20, was an exciting day for Sims Middle School in Santa Rosa County, FL! With the help of Discovery Education PD STEM Specialist Dacia Jones, members of the Sims Middle School staff challenged all teachers in the school to use Spotlight On Strategies and then share them in a Twitter Smackdown using the #smsstrategysmackdown hashtag. This fun challenge was part of their district’s “State of Innovate 2018″. We’re excited to elevate and celebrate several of the SOS stories from of the participating teachers. Read to find out about their experiences, and get ideas for how SOS can make a difference in your classroom, too!

Student Group


When students know how to ask their own questions, they take greater ownership of their learning, deepen comprehension, and make new connections. QFT (Question Formulation Technique ) is a teaching strategy that helps students produce their own questions, improve them, and strategize on how to use them. The technique can be used with students of all ages.

SOS: Pause and Play

Watching a video for academic reasons is very different than watching a video for entertainment. Just pressing the play button does not ensure that students will understand or learn. Students need to apply comprehension strategies to make sense of material they watch, in much the same way as they do when they read written text. Pause & Play works just like it sounds: you use both pause and play when sharing a video segment with your students. This simple yet powerful process directs students to focus on understanding the content presented by the video. It provides them with multiple opportunities to fix up and monitor their comprehension before they engage in discussion and synthesis of the material.

SOS: Placemat

When students have adequate think time, the quality of their responses improves. The Placemat strategy is designed to allow each student time to think. It also provides a venue for them to share their perspectives while encouraging them to listen to and appreciate the thoughts and ideas of other team members. The outcome of student participation in this strategy is a summary response that is better than what an individual student could produce alone.

SOS: Inquiry Chart

The Inquiry Chart (I-Chart), developed by James Hoffman in 1992, provides students with a scaffold that guides them in using multiple sources to research a topic. As students collect information about a topic, they use the I-Chart to record what they find. The chart helps them think critically about the results of their research, especially when they find discrepancies between two different sources of information. It also supports students in their efforts to synthesize multiple sources of information into a cohesive and meaningful product. Teachers have found that I-Charts are suitable for whole class, small group, or individual inquiry, making them a versatile tool in a variety of subject areas and grade levels.