SOS Top Ten: Uncovering the Instructional WHY

Welcome the special SOS Top Ten series. This month, we highlight ways Spotlight on Strategies (CDN Version) instructional ideas help students uncover the instructional WHY.

Everyone has a WHY: Your WHY is the purpose, cause, or belief that inspires you to do what you do.

For over a decade, Simon Sinek has been popularizing the concept of WHY.

On Wednesday, May 23, Discovery Education and Simon Sinek’s team are hosting a live event to celebrate the purpose you bring to classrooms every day.

Understanding perspective is an important skill for teachers and students alike.

These are ten different ways you can include students in the idea of WHY by using strategies that help them explore perspective and point of view behind what they’re learning.


Multiple Perspectives

Multiple Perspectives (CDN Version) is a teaching strategy that requires students to engage deeply with an image or video as they assume a perspective other than their own. Students create a narrative from inside a piece of media, from the perspective of an object or person within.

Who Are You?

Who Are You? (CDN Version) allows students to access their feelings and identify their needs for success. Students consider two things that represent different perspectives and identify with one, to help explain how they’re feeling.


They Said What?

They Said What?!? (CDN Version) allows students to use their imagination to demonstrate their understanding. It works particularly well with historical events because students receive content-related images and create a logical dialogue, based on what they know, between the characters shown in the images.


Get Your Thinking Hat On

Get Your Thinking Hat On (CDN Version) provides students with a specific perspective from which to consider information and ideas. Students are assigned various thinking styles and use only that style to consider a digital resource before joining with other students and sharing all of the different perspectives as they analyze the media.


Four Corners

Four Corners (CDN Version) encourages students to communicate their thoughts about a specific topic. Each of the four corners of the room corresponds to a possible opinion about a thought-provoking statement. Students go to appropriate corners, based upon their opinions, to discuss and get ready to justify them.


The 4C’s

The 4C’s (CDN Version) visible thinking routine (Connections, Challenges, Concepts, and Changes) was developed in Harvard’s Project Zero and helps students develop synthesizing and organizational skills. This strategy adapts the 4C’s strategy for use with digital media by including a graphic organizer and focusing small group discussion around specific look-fors in the media to help students make sense of multimodal text.


Whittle It Down

Whittle It Down (CDN Version) scaffolds summarization. Students whittle down large chunks of information as a whole group, small group, and then independently, generating a list of important words from the text. Students then use their final words to create a summary of the topic.


Reminds Me Of

Reminds Me Of (CDN Version) encourages students to connect to text via video by accessing prior knowledge. Students watch a video and indicate, through movement and discussion, when they make a connection.



PMI (CDN Version) helps students weigh the pros and cons and evaluate ideas to make a decision. While considering a digital resource, students are encouraged to categorize information in order to determine important elements influencing a decision.


Step Inside

Step Inside (CDN Version) encourages students to consider content from multiple perspectives. Students are assigned roles that may be found within a piece of media and then answer questions from the point-of-view of their assigned person or object.

Let us know how you’re helping students gain perspective and explore point of view in the comments below!


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