DE Summer School: SOS- Sum It Up

Welcome the DE Summer School special edition of SOS.  Our S.O.S series provides help, tips, and tricks for integrating DE media into your curriculum. During August, we’ll be featuring our STAR Community’s favorite strategies and how they have made them their own.

Sum It Up
original post
Sum It Up PDF
link to all PDFs in the SOS series


Special thanks to DEN STAR and Educator of the Gifted Frances Snyder (@digiduchess) from Manatee School District in Florida  for sharing how she brought this SOS to her students.


For the past several years my student and I have been engaged in the learning framework Challenge Based Learning (CBL) and this year we began to implement the concept of Interactive Notebooks in to our CBL process. Within this process, we were working hard to bring in as many ELA Standards as possible and when I was introduced to Discovery Education’s Blog Series“Spotlight on Strategies”  (S.O.S.). The authors of these posts have taken into consideration that with Common Core (or Florida Standards…. ) there will be an increase focus on rigorous standards and student experience with high-level informational texts at earlier and earlier ages. Providing strategies to meet these needs is the focus of this blog series. Each post has a background section where there is a brief explanation of the research behind the strategy, and many leaders in the field of education are referenced: Pinnell, Fountas, Howard Gardner Harvey & Goudvis. Along with the brief background piece there is a quick example of how the strategy could be used with a piece of Discovery Education media. Some of these spotlighted strategies might not be new to some of you, but  the way these authors have packaged them shines a new spotlight on each. Hopefully, this spotlight will open educators’ minds to using them in different ways.

I personally have used several of these strategies and they have been very effective with my students. One of our favorites has been working on main idea and crucial details with  “ Sum It Up”.  With this strategy student watched the  Discovery Education video entitled Enviro-Tacklebox: Decisions Based on Science: Tackle Trash. This video, like most found on the Discovery Education site, is divided into short two- to three-minute segments. I personally feel that having the videos broken down like this helps to make the process of students tracking their thinking with graphic organizers more manageable. With that said, we did modify this strategy some when we used it. We divided our papers into three columns. The first column we labeled as Sketch and after each section students would make a quick sketch on what that section was mainly about. In the second column, each student wrote down five words that he/she thought related most to that section of the video. Finally, in the third column each student wrote a sentence or two stating the main idea of this section of the video. When we finished the entire video, I had the students look through their center column and circle words that appeared in more than one column. We discussed that list, and then I asked students what the whole video was mainly about. It was very effective.

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