SOS Story: Lodi Ambassadors

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.


District: Lodi Unified School District – Lodi, California

Martha Snider, 8th Grade Social Studies

Twitter Handle: @mrssnider

Tweet, Tweet (CDN Subscribers)

Sarah Santana, 5th Grade

Twitter Handle: @MrsSantana2

Paper Chat (CDN Subscribers)

Cyndi Carter, High School Driver’s Education

Twitter Handle: @CarterTHS

Multiple Perspectives (CDN Subscribers)

Jennifer Hampton, 2nd/3rd Grade Combination

Twitter Handle: @jhampton220

Paper Chat (CDN Subscribers)

Julie Young, 8th Grade Social Studies

Twitter Handle: @missaysyoung

Tweet, Tweet (CDN Subscribers)

Chantelle Sloan, ELA Intervention

Twitter Handle: @cmsloanteach

XO Let’s Go! (CDN Subscribers)

Janet Long, High School Driver’s Education and Health

Twitter Handle: @Long2bfit

Figure It Out Together (CDN Subscribers)

Priscilla Spagnola, 5th Grade ELA & Science

XO Let’s Go! (CDN Subscribers)

Chris Dyer, 5th and 6th Grade Science

Twitter Handle: @TeachCDyer

Half the Picture (CDN Subscribers)

Jennifer Hooper, 5th Grade

Twitter Handle: @jenhooper93

Multiple Perspectives (CDN Subscribers)


Lodi Unified’s Story

This week’s SOS Story comes to us from Lodi, California. With STAR Discovery Educator and Ambassador Lead Martha Snider at the helm, this group of nine DEN Ambassadors took the SOS challenge and ran with it! Each member of the Ambassador group not only tried SOS in the classroom, but also agreed to share what they did so that we could celebrate and learn with them. Here are their stories.


Martha Snider’s Story

Ambassador Lead Martha Snider introduced SOS Tweet, Tweet (CDN Subscribers) to her Ambassador group this spring. After explaining the strategy, she also shared some of the pitfalls she discovered the first time she tried it with students. She’d found it a challenging strategy to manage because of all the sticky notes involved. Martha was amazed to see K-12 examples her colleagues were posting to their Facebook group just days after learning about the strategy. Because of their success, she simply had to give it another try!

Martha teaches 8th grade Social Studies. Her students were participating in a unit titled “Nation Divided.” She asked each student to select and research one of fourteen Antebellum characters. In order to earn a sticky note for their tweet, each student had to complete a “Today’s Tweet” worksheet that served as a graphic organizer for their research. The sticky notes were then used to post the tweets on the classroom #TwitterStorm bulletin board.

After posting to the bulletin board, students digitized each post in Google Slides. As a follow-up to Tweet Tweet, students used Google Slides to create fake Twitter Profiles for their characters. The profile page assignment allowed students to demonstrate their depth of understanding of their character. They included people who are historically appropriate followers, created retweets, and created a biography for their character. Martha shared that – for the first time in years – her 8th grade students were rock solid on states’ rights and the other causes of the American Civil War!


Cyndi Carter’s Story

As a high school Driver’s Education teacher, Cyndi tries to help her students understand the implications of their driving behaviors. She used SOS: Multiple Perspectives (CDN Subscribers) to help her students understand different perspectives of automobile accidents.

First, she gave her students photos of automobile collisions in various settings. She asked them to consider the accident scene from the perspective of the driver of the vehicle and challenged them to explain what went wrong in the moments leading up to the collision. Next, students worked individually to write their version of the story. They used slides in Google Classroom to record their summaries. Once finished, the students worked in small groups to discuss the various situations.


Julie Young’s Story

As an 8th grade Social Sciences teacher, Julie Young used SOS: Tweet, Tweet (CDN Subscribers) to help students ask and answer questions relating to historical and current political events. Students had been learning about Andrew Jackson and his rise to the White House as the “People’s President”. Julie had her students read and take Cornell notes on a chapter from the text. Then, they developed their own essential questions based on Costa’s Level of Questioning (L1, L2, and L3), and then used Tweet Tweet to post their questions on a bulletin board. The final step was for students to select one question that wasn’t theirs from each level to discuss and answer.


Janet Long’s Story

Janet teaches high school Driver’s Education and Health. She used SOS: Figure It Out Together (CDN Subscribers) to help students develop an understanding of the consequences of steroid use/abuse. Her goal was to promote an awareness about steroid use and the side effects of using them.

Janet started out by giving her students a photo and asked them to create a meme for it about steroid use/abuse. At first, the students didn’t know what to do, so she shared some examples of existing memes about steroids to get them started. The class discussed how many of the memes on the Internet were making fun of someone using them. She asked them to focus on presenting a serious message about steroids instead.

Once students understood the assignment and were able to provide a few examples, she set them off working. Most took 5-10 minutes to create their meme. Sharing the memes was a great way to wrap up the unit and reinforce the message that steroids are harmful.


Chris Dyer’s Story

Chris used SOS: Half the Picture (CDN Subscribers) with his 5th and 6th grade science students as a culminating experience and review of what they’d learned about the water cycle.

Students first reviewed the water cycle by watching a Discovery Education video segment. They took notes while watching, which they could use when completing the rest of the activity if they needed to. Chris provided students with a diagram of the water cycle, but with half of the picture missing. Students were asked to draw in the other half of the cycle.

Chris shared that most students had a relatively easy time completing the diagram without needing their notes to complete it correctly. He reflected that when using the strategy again, he will make sure to be clearer with the directions and write step-by-step directions on the board to eliminate any confusion the students might have.


Sarah Santana’s Story

Sarah teaches 5th grade and wanted to use a strategy to enhance an Earth Day lesson through more writing and reflective thinking. She chose SOS: Paper Chat (CDN Subscribers) to use with a reading The Lorax, by Dr. Seuss.

Sarah began by showing students a Discovery Education video segment on the origin of Earth Day. Next, students used two-column notes to examine the essential question, “How do humans affect the earth?” Students watched another Discovery Education video segment, and finally read the book. To wrap it up, students had a Paper Chat in groups of five. This gave every student an opportunity to have a voice and to practice asking higher level questions. The Paper Chats were posted around the room as a gallery and students rotated around the class, reading and reflecting as they went.


Jennifer Hampton’s Story

As a 2nd/3rd grade combination teacher, Jennifer incorporates a special Friday project that correlates with the Language Arts curriculum for the week. She decided to use SOS: Paper Chat (CDN Subscribers) to engage her students in discussing what they had learned.

Jennifer began by posing content-specific questions to students and having them watch short video segments about the topics they had been reading about. After watching the video, students were given a poster with a question and were instructed to have a conversation by writing their thoughts. She emphasized that talking was not allowed. The students were hesitant at first, but as Jennifer helped them think about all the different things they could do to facilitate a written conversation, such as drawing circles or arrows and using symbols and simple pictures such as smiley faces or stars, they become more eager.

Jennifer says her students did exceptionally well with staying silent during the activity. She observed that some students waited and watched, while others started writing. While students were engaged and learning, she circulated and helped groups who were stumped by circling key words in the question and redirected groups that were off track.

Finally, after the ten minutes of silent written conversation, she had the students debrief the experience, talking about the challenges of having a conversation without speaking. Many students shared that though it was a challenge to not speak, it was fun thinking of other ways to share. The students noticed that one of their peers wrote down a clarifying question to make sure they were going to do the assignment correctly and someone else in the group reassured them and they wrote a couple ideas from that. They all said they would like to use this strategy again.


Chantelle Sloan’s Story

Chantelle teaches a variety of grade levels during her work as an intervention teacher. She used SOS XO Let’s Go! (CDN Subscribers) to get all her students actively participating. She found that it can be easily modified for beginning or continuing lessons and can be differentiated for the specific academic level of her students.

Recently, she paired up third grade students who were learning about how animals help each other. She asked them to draw a tic-tac-toe board and then shared a video segment about animal pals helping each other survive.

When the video segment was over, students took turns sharing facts they learned for thirty seconds each using sentence frames that Chantelle provided. This was a modification that she made to specifically address student learning needs. Each time the students took a turn talking, they also put an X or an O on the board.

Throughout the experience the students practiced oral language fluency, were accountable for the new information, actively participated, and had a great time!


Priscilla Spagnola’s Story

As a 5th grade ELA and science teacher, Priscilla wanted to help students work on their reading comprehension skills. She selected SOS XO Let’s Go! (CDN Subscribers) because her students were already familiar with playing tic tac toe, so it generated some enthusiasm for the activity.

Priscilla had students focus on two specific pages from an ELA anthology. She asked all students to use two sticky notes to keep track of the main details from the two pages. Then, they partnered up and took turns sharing information from their notes.

During the first round of the game, students shared for only forty seconds and then recorded their X or O and their main talking point on the game board. The next round was thirty seconds, then only twenty seconds for the last round. Students were really engaged in the activity, and Priscilla noticed that students elaborated more than just what they had written down on their post it notes. She also noticed that they practiced being better listeners, too!


Jen Hooper’s Story

Jen teaches 5th grade and wanted her students to look at an historical event through different points of view. She chose Multiple Perspectives (CDN Subscribers) to help students analyze the Boston Tea Party.

Jen started out by showing students a picture of the Boston Tea Party. She asked them to discuss what the people on the boat were doing and why they were throwing the tea over the side.

Then, she had students look at and discuss the people standing on the dock who were watching the event and consider what they might have been upset about. They also discussed why each group of people had a different point of view.

Next, Jen had students consider which side they thought they would have taken. She had them move to opposite sides of the room. Students took turns sharing why they had chosen that side. Students were allowed to change sides if they changed their minds after listening to one another. She found that her students were actively engaged and they realized that there are two sides to every story.

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