SOS Top Ten: Commit to Learning (McREL International Phase 2)

DID YOU KNOW: Spotlight on Strategies (CDN) instructional ideas are aligned to McREL International’s six-phase model for learning?

This model arranges strategies for teaching and learning into a larger process for helping new knowledge travel through the phases of memory in our students.

In this Top Ten series, we showcase SOS instructional strategy alignment to each of the six phases of the McREL model, helping educators choose the appropriate classroom tactics for aiding the acquisition and recall of information.

This week, we feature Phase 2: Commit to Learning, which focuses on increasing student buy-in to learning more about a topic.


Visual Walkabout (CDN Version) provides students with a sneak peek of the content in an upcoming unit through the use of a series of images. Students walk around a classroom gallery of images, making connections and asking questions at each image. This strategy also allows educators to assess prior knowledge and address early misconceptions.


Three Questions (CDN Version) helps students to investigate topics using a variety of media resources by generating their own questions about a story, text, problem, or topic. When students generate their own questions about a topic, it helps them drive their own educational experience. It is one step toward individualizing and differentiating instruction by permitting the student to explore personal areas of interest within an established framework.3


Paper Chat (CDN Version) allows students to develop critical thinking and communication skills, while ensuring that every student’s thoughts and opinions are heard. Students respond to a question—and then continue the conversation—by communicating on paper about a selected topic.


Vocabulary Quadrants (CDN Version) helps students develop academic vocabulary through the use of Frayer’s model for vocabulary acquisition. By completing a vocabulary map, students become familiar various angles of new vocabulary.5


Fold Draw Learn (CDN Version) engages students in an activity that strengthens vocabulary and reasoning. Students create hidden drawings of vocabulary words and attempt to follow the reasoning from definition to drawing and back again.


Can You Guess My 2-1-4 (CDN Version) helps students develop background knowledge before beginning a unit of study. Students are provided with two facts, one clue, and four pictures related to upcoming content and analyze the pieces to make predictions.


Tweet, Tweet! (CDN Version) uses a common social media format to help students identify important details and communicate them concisely. Students watch a video and create short, tweet-like communications to convey new knowledge.


Stem Completion (CDN Version) provides a structure through which students can make connections and build on prior knowledge. Students complete teacher-provided sentence stems based on a variety of content and media.


Blurt Out (CDN Version) uses gamification to engage students and access a variety of learning styles. Teams compete to answer student-generated questions about new content.


Get Your Thinking Cap 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.


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