SOS Top Ten: Engage in Learning (McREL International Phase 3)

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 3: Engage in Learning, which focuses on engaging students in active thinking and learning.


Fakebook (CDN Version) uses a well-known social media platform to encourage students to investigate and develop an understanding of a person of historical significance. Students create a profile page, requiring them to make connections to important events and individuals of a particular time and place.


Instagram-in (CDN Version) leverages a popular social media tool that focus on imagery and prompts summarization and generalization through short comments and hashtags. Using this strategy, students think critically about what images best represent their understanding, then create accompanying statements to communicate that understanding.


Make it Concrete (CDN Version) uses concrete—or shape—poems to allow students to demonstrate understanding. Students reflect on their learning and create a visual to represent something they have learned from a media resource.


Figure It Out Together (CDN Version) helps to build student capacity to understand and apply figurative language. Students use video and accompanying images to conceptualize and demonstrate their understanding of figurative language.


Sound Check (CDN Version) helps students explore and connect with content by incorporating audio resources with video. Students use their imagination and prior experiences to make inferences about how the sounds they hear are related to the content being studied.


Things That Make You Go Hmmm… (CDN Version) focuses on descriptive words to compare and contrast two texts. Students use a graphic organizer to note descriptions from two texts and use the lists to make statements about similarities and differences.


The Envelope Please (CDN Version) uses clues, prior knowledge, and predictions to introduce a topic or unit. After students consider teacher-provided clues, they make predictions and find out if they’re right


Circle of Viewpoints (CDN Version) provides a structure that helps students to consider a topic, text, or event from multiple viewpoints. Students practice identifying a character or object within a piece of multimedia and imagining what its thoughts or opinions might be.


Conga Line (CDN Version) allows students to work with each other and incorporates movement to stimulate thinking and participation. Students move through the conga line to pair up with other students to discuss a particular prompt.


The Rest of The Story (CDN Version) uses images as the basis for classification of content. Students study historical images, and then divide them into different classifications and groups.


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