SOS Story: Hugh McDonald

The Spotlight On Strategies series (CDN subscribers) is one of Discovery Education’s most popular resources. First introduced 2012, these strategies help teachers use media in effective and engaging ways in their classrooms.

The best part about the SOS is that they are flexible and can be used across grade levels and content areas. We are excited for our SOS Story: a new SOS series that spotlights teachers showing off how they have put the SOS to work in their classrooms.


SOS Strategy: Tweet Tweet

Name: Hugh McDonald

District: Surrey School District in Surrey, BC, Canada

Role: Grade 6/7 Classroom Teacher

Twitter:  @hughtheteacher


Hugh’s SOS Story:

One of my favorite Discovery Education SOS strategies is Tweet Tweet (CDN subscribers). I recently started teaching a new unit on Force and Motion in Science.  The purpose of this unit is to have students demonstrate their understanding of Newton’s 3 Laws of Motion.  

To prepare for my introductory lesson, I set up a Discovery Education video on Newton’s 3 Laws of Motion for the students to watch in class.  As each law was demonstrated, I stopped the video and prompted students to share examples of each law orally in their groups of 4.  Students were able to tap into one another’s background experiences and reaffirm their own understanding or lack of understanding of each law this way.  

Afterwards, I introduced them to Tweet Tweet as a way for them to concisely summarize their understanding of each of Newton’s 3 Laws.  screen-shot-2016-10-13-at-5-12-38-pmI asked that they include their name and a creative hashtag that could be used by others to continue the conversation.  We also talked about the importance of keeping a Tweet concise, limiting it to no more than 140 characters (including spaces and hashtags). After reconfirming instructions, students were given roughly 5 minutes to demonstrate their understanding on the sticky note I provided.

I love this strategy for 3 reasons.  First, it gives me immediate summative feedback on what the students know.  This strategy informs me on how I need to proceed forward with each student’s learning.  

Second, this strategy encourages kids to edit their own writing for the purposes of being detailed, concise, and creative.  By using this strategy I am integrating their understanding of the content in Science with important editing skills and refining strategies necessary for them to learn in Language Arts.  

Third, this strategy is adaptable to meet a variety of learning goals for students.  For instance, if you are looking at developing kids’ inferencing skills while also increasing their understanding of a specific content area, you could combine Tweet Tweet with Silence is Golden (CDN subscribers). (We call that “mashing up” the SOS!)  In the past, I have simply played the video without sound and have had kids then compose a tweet in 140 characters or less demonstrating to me in a concise matter about what they inferred from the video they watched.  While they are watching the video and writing their Tweet, I am prompting them about what are they learning or paying more attention to when they are watching.  

Another way to adapt to this strategy to meet the needs of the learners in your classroom is to watch a video on a content area and have students summarize examples of what they learned in a Tweet and then mash it up with the SOS strategy Act it Out (CDN subscribers). The students meet together in small groups and take an example off someone else’s Tweet, plan a quick skit for each one together, and then present their skits in front of the class.  If you want to add an extra wrinkle and fun you could have the skits done without any talking and the audience has to guess the example they are attempting to demonstrate.  This mashup is great because it gets kids to summarize their ideas linguistically and it also helps the kinesthetic learners be active and involved in their learning just like they need.  


Has Hugh’s SOS Story inspired you to try using Tweet Tweet in your classroom?  We’d love to know how it goes.  Send out a Tweet and use #Spotlightonstrategies so we can share in your success!

Do you have an SOS Story of your own that you’d like to share?  We would love to feature you in an upcoming Blog Post.  Let us know by completing our SOS Story survey.Save

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