SOS: A Special Supersized Summer Twist!

School’s out for summer and your Discovery Education Community members are putting a twist on our SOS series.  Each week we will post how educators have taken their favorite strategies and made them their own.  


SOS: Twisted and Super Sized Mad Hatter Style

Original PDF and Vignette

Twist provided by Lindsay Foster from Lake Worth ISD in Texas.  You can learn more about Lindsay by following her on Twitter @BSGSCSFoster.


I love the SOS strategies. Over the past year, I’ve had many occasions where I was asked to cover a classroom for a teacher.  That’s when SOS came to the rescue! Here’s how I twisted and super-sized some popular SOS strategies for my students…with great success!

I’ve used the AEIOU strategy with large groups of students in a computer lab that didn’t have all of the standard supplies (markers, chart paper, etc) found in most classrooms.  I grouped students and and had them use some of my favorite Web 2.0 tools like Padlet or Google Docs to collect the information.  This had the additional bonus of making it easy to share results of the strategy with the entire group.

  1. First, I counted off the students into groups of five to represent each of the vowels (A-E-I-O-U).  Each student sat at a computer station.
  2. At each computer station, students opened a shared document and I placed one of the letters from the strategy at the top.
  3. I explained to the students what the letters in AEIOU represented and also posted them on the board for reference.
  4. I played a video that demonstrated the curricular topic and paused every three to five minutes.
  5. During the pause, I asked students to respond to the letter on his or her screen. “A” students would list their adjective; “E” students would list their emotion; “I” students would list their interesting item; “O” students would list their OH! moment; and “U” students would list their UMMMM? moment.
  6. After 3 minutes, I had everyone switch seats to the next letter in the sequence.
  7. I resumed playing the video and again paused 3-5 minutes later and repeated the process.

If you have a larger group, have students work in pairs as they complete the A-E-I-O-U sequence.  They’ll travel together from one computer station to another.  One can stand while the other sits, or they can share a chair.  To wrap up the strategy, have students share their results with the class.

The example I’ve shared above can be adapted to almost any SOS strategy because it focuses on getting students moving around and collaborating.  If you’ve used Web 2.0 tools, you can compile the information easily into one document and then create a Wordle or graph commonalities.  If you go old school and use paper and pencil, try having students record their responses on large sheets of butcher paper.  I like to hang the finished papers in the classroom or hallway as a way of sharing student thinking.

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