SOS Story: Lisa Ebel

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: an SOS series that spotlights teachers showing how they put the SOS to work in their classrooms.

Teacher:  Lisa Ebel

SOS Strategies: Jigsaw

District: Tustin Unified School District

Role: 4th Grade Teacher

Lisa’s Story

I’m a 4th grade teacher from California.  My students were recently involved in learning about animal sense receptors and I found that though they were familiar with the idea that animals use five (or more) senses to make sense of their world, their knowledge didn’t go much beyond that. I wanted them to dig deeper into the concept, so I looked for an SOS that would help them to do that.

SOS Visual Walkabout and SOS Six Word Story

Lisa Ebel Students

SOS Jigsaw (CDN Version) is designed to have students make the most of group work by having them work part of the time in home base teams, and part of the time in expert groups. It helped my students do a deep dive into learning about one particular animal’s sense receptors, while at the same time giving them the opportunity to teach and learn from their peers. Students also incorporated the use of a team Google Doc to collect information they found through research.

Strategy Adaptations

Lisa Ebel Students 2

I first placed students into mixed-ability home base teams of four. Each team was given the same six animals to choose from, but within each group the teammates chose different animals to focus on. Having six options and only four teammates allowed for more student choice.

Next, I gave students time to research their animals using specific Youtube and Discovery Education videos I provided. As they learned about their animal’s senses, they filled out their animal’s section on a table in their team’s shared Google Doc. If their animal was a predator, they researched how their animal sensed its prey. If it was prey, they researched how that animal sensed and responded to danger.  After filling out their section on their team’s table, students met in expert groups to compare information. The next day, students met back in their home base teams to teach their team about the animal they had researched.

Additional Ideas

My students enjoyed using videos to research an animal of their own choosing. They were also enthusiastic and excited about teaching their peers what they had learned, and I observed that they gained a deeper understanding of the importance of the five senses in the animal world.

The next time I teach this lesson or use this strategy, I would like build a component that holds students more accountable for learning from their teammates. I plan to have each student submit one potential quiz question relating to their animal’s senses which would become part of a bank of quiz questions for a summative assessment. Overall, I am happy with the outcome of this lesson. I’m looking forward to using the Jigsaw SOS again soon!



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  1. Dai ly Ford HCM said:

    i think it really helpful for chlidren Students also incorporated the use of a team Google Doc to collect information they found through research.