SOS Story: Peter Panico

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 to share SOS Story: a new SOS series that spotlights teachers showing how they put the SOS to work in their classrooms.

Name: Peter Panico

SOS Strategies: Shake It Up Baby (CDN Subscribers) and Music Video (CDN Subscribers)

District: Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools

Role: 5th Grade Teacher

Twitter Handle: @peterpanico

Peter’s Story

One of most effective tools in my teaching toolbox are the SOS strategies. They work in all content areas, are easily integrated, highly engaging, and effective for helping students to learn.

My favorite SOS mashup combines Shake It Up Baby (CDN Subscribers) and Music Video (CDN Subscribers) so students are using kinesthetic movement to support and explain learned content. The more students take ownership of their learning, the better. This teaching strategy does just that with creativity and fun! Students learn content through repetition of song lyrics. That learning, in turn, helps them add knowledge to their schema, and, when combined with physical movement, it becomes a part of their long-term memory.

First, I select a song that relates to a particular topic we are learning, for example the Water Cycle, Properties of Matter, etc.

Next, I print the lyrics (found under ‘Materials’ with most songs) for students to help them easily learn them. Students are arranged in groups, with each group assigned a stanza. They are challenged to represent the content with physical movement. For example, if the stanza says that water is evaporating students might make their hands and fingers wave upwards to demonstrate that the molecules are getting excited and rising.

After a few rounds of practicing, we film the video in just one take, with the song playing in the background. Enforcing the one take rule increases on task behavior and ownership, because the students want to do it right the first time.

Using this strategy creates a great opportunity to build collaborative relationships within the groups of students. I use this SOS mashup the first week of school every year. It helps build a positive and collaborative working environment within my students. We continue using theseSOS to address different content areas the rest of the year. I’ve found that my students are always begging to engage in this type of active learning.

Here’s an example of my students representing the Properties of Matter.




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