SOS: Whip Around


Our S.O.S series provides help, tips, and tricks for integrating DE media into your curriculum.

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Whip Around

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SOS Big Idea“Students will raise their level of attention if there is a moderate chance they will be called upon” (Marzano). When responding to questions, students can be cognitively engaged when they have opportunities to generate their own ideas or add to another student’s contribution. The Whip Around is an effective and efficient way for all students to participate and can be used to introduce concepts or formatively assess students’ understanding.

SOS Steps

Materials: Discovery Education song or sound effect, index cards, writing utensils

  1. Provide students with a prompt or question about your selected Discovery Education song or sound effect.
  2. Play the audio file and allow students to create a one sentence response to the prompt on a notecard. 
  3. Have students stand in a circle around the perimeter of the room. 
  4. Select a student to begin and have them share their sentence aloud. 
    • Option 1: Following the activity have the group discuss patterns and discrepancies in their responses. 
    • Option 2: If a student has a similar statement to one shared, they must sit down. The goal is to see how many students can remain standing at the end with unique thoughts. Repeat as necessary.
  5. Now that students have background knowledge of the topic, select a Discovery Education video segment to expand their thinking.

SOS Sum It Up
This strategy allows all students to create concise summarizing sentences and become actively engaged in a discussion around a topic of interest. Even those that may not fully understand the concept can piggyback on another student’s idea by enhancing the discussion with additional ideas. This ensures that students are listening and learning, even though they may not come up with an original thought or idea.

SOS More Ideas

  • After reading a text, instruct students to select one sentence that resonates with them or seems to be a key idea. Have students read that sentence aloud during the Whip Around. Again, listen for common themes. 
  • Use this strategy at the very beginning of a class, using the previous night’s reading assignment. 
  • Have a student tally how many times a specific sentence or thought is repeated, and then put sentences in a word cloud document such as Wordle to highlight recurring thoughts. (To keep words in a sentence together in a Wordle, use a tilde (~) between words.)

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