SOS Story: Jennifer Newman

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.

Teacher:  Jennifer Newman

SOS Strategies: Snowball Fight (CDN)

District: CCSD 93 in Illinois

Role: 1st Grade Teacher

Twitter Handle: @newmanj0804

Jennifer’s Story

Jennifer Newman, with the support of Discovery Education Professional Development Consultant Dawn Bray, is implementing SOS in her first grade classroom. As member of her school’s Digital Leader Corps (DLC) team, Jennifer has committed to transforming her teaching. She’s been trying the strategies and is excited to share what she’s learned with other teachers in her school.

Jennifer has used a variety of SOS strategies with her students this year. To pick the best strategy to fit her instructional goals, she begins by looking at the content she needs to teach. From there, she looks to see which strategy will work best to accomplish those goals.

Snowball Fight

Recently, Jennifer was looking for something to use as a formative assessment to get a better idea of how familiar her students were with parts of a plant. She decided to use Snowball Fight (CDN), a strategy that provides a fun, quick, and easy way to gather that information from her students.

As students participated in the Snowball Fight, they created collaborative drawings of the parts of a plant. After they enjoyed looking at all of the drawings, the students helped evaluate each one to determine the accuracy of the drawings. They then provided warm and cool feedback for one another. Jennifer found during subsequent lessons that it was evident that her students had learned the plant parts that she’d taught and reviewed through the Snowball Fight.

Strategy Adaptations

Jennifer developed an excellent adaptation for Snowball Fight that fits the needs of her energetic young students. Because it involves throwing crumpled pieces of paper, Snowball Fight can become a little bit crazy. Rather than having the students toss their “snowballs” into the air, or at one another, Jennifer projects a bullseye at the front of the classroom. The students all toss their snowballs right at the center of the bullseye.

Strategies for Sharing

Jennifer’s not only using SOS in her own classroom. As one of her DLC goals, she is working to spread the strategies to other members of her school staff. She is working with colleagues to create an SOS strategy board in their faculty room, which will not only describe a different strategy each month, but will also have a QR code with that video lesson being shared “in action”. She’s hoping that the other teachers will see how easy it is to incorporate many of these strategies and how enjoyable and worthwhile they are for the students.


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