SOS Story: Monday Motivators

The Spotlight On Strategies (SOS) series (CDN) is one of Discovery Education’s most popular resources. First introduced 2012, this collection of strategies helps teachers use media in effective and engaging ways.

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 series that elevates and celebrates teachers showing how they put the SOS to work in their classrooms.

We would love to share your SOS Story. Visit this form to find out how!


Teachers: Jennifer Eller Tatum and Emily Fagan

Focus: Using and sharing the SOS series with other educators

District:  Buncombe County, Schools North Carolina

Roles: 5th Grade Teachers

Twitter:  @jennetatum and @fagan5th

Instagram: @2mtnjems 


Jennifer and Emily’s Story

We’re both 5th grade teachers at the same school in North Carolina.

After attending the DEN Summer Institute in 2017, we were inspired by the entire SOS Collection and sought out opportunities to begin using them in our classrooms. We also wanted to share the love with our DEN Community, our region, and our district and school.

We were drawn to SOS because they are so easy to use and so compelling for our students! We started by using the strategies with only Discovery Education content but have moved into using them across all content areas.

We wanted to share our enthusiasm for SOS strategies and how they engage students and expand their thinking, but we knew that we needed to do it in a manner that was easily accessible for teachers who are otherwise inundated with new theories, thought, strategies, and programs.

To reach this goal, we decided to publish videos to introduce the strategies and give teachers a view into what they really look like in our classrooms—we know from experience that teachers need to see how it looks in action, so live SOS videos were the way to go!

Our Monday Motivators are short videos that provide a peek at what an SOS looks like in action, and they give us a chance to share our enthusiasm and joy, too. Our initial intent was to publish Monday Motivators twice a month as a way for us to improve our own teaching by sharing with our peers. The videos are a great way for teachers to see how they can tweak what they’re doing to better engage and empower students.

Sharing the Strategies

We’re excited about using strategies from the Discovery Education SOS series and love to share what we’re doing with other educators.

At first, we only shared out through our Instagram page. As we became more comfortable we’ve expanded our presence.  Twice a month, we share our Monday Motivator videos on Instagram, Twitter, and in the DEN Online Community.

We’ve opened our posts up by inviting the community to share how they are using the strategies. We promote how we use SOS strategies in a variety of different ways, including during our DEN Ambassadors cohort meetings, with our building staff and district principals, at local universities and other schools, at multiple Days of Discovery, at the Buncombe County STEAM Conference, and this March, we will present SOS through a math lens at a regional math conference.

Next Steps

As we reflect on using SOS in our classrooms, we continue to look for new avenues for using and sharing them.

We have a series of posts on SOS mashups where we find using two or more SOS ideas together amplifies their effectiveness.  

As we continuously reflect on using SOS in our classrooms, we are always looking for engaging and meaningful task for students with digital media. Each day, we push ourselves to blend digital media/text and SOS.

We, along with our students, have experienced so much joy in the classroom through this work! We are encouraging educators to join us for conversations around SOS in the DEN Online Community. We love to create learning cycles with SOS, support other teachers, and elevate classroom experiences. We hope you’ll join us in the DEN Community or through our Twitter and Instagram posts!

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