Welcome to our special Top Ten series on SOS in the classroom. This month we’re highlighting some of the most popular ways to use Spotlight on Strategies as Professional Development tools for educators.
Learn how teacher Hugh McDonald from Surry, British Columbia uses SOS Table Top Texting to engage students in collaborative discussions and inquiry-based learning experiences.
Leslie Pope, Curriculum Coach from Johnston County Public Schools, shares how she mashed up Visual Walkabout and Six Word Story to engage 4th grade students in learning about the Coastal Plain in North Carolina.
Visual literacy is the ability to interpret and make sense of visual information we encounter, including but not limited to information found in photographs, drawings and paintings. According to the article “Reading Images: An Introduction to Visual Literacy,” by Melissa Thibault and David Walbert, “The visually literate viewer looks at an image carefully, critically, and with an eye for the intentions of the image’s creator.”
A think-aloud is a brief and targeted segment of instruction that models metacognitive thinking. It allows your students to see into your brain to analyze the reasons behind the learning actions and decisions you make. Although generally considered a reading strategy, a think-aloud is a useful strategy for any content area where teaching of explicit skills is needed, including hands-on investigation.
Exit Tickets are a quick way for students to demonstrate their understanding of material that’s been presented. They give the teacher immediate data that helps adapt future instruction and they provide an opportunity for students to reflect on the work they’ve done during class.
The Inquiry Chart (I-Chart), developed by James Hoffman in 1992, provides students with a scaffold that guides them in using multiple sources to research a topic. As students collect information about a topic, they use the I-Chart to record what they find. The chart helps them think critically about the results of their research, especially when they find discrepancies between two different sources of information. It also supports students in their efforts to synthesize multiple sources of information into a cohesive and meaningful product. Teachers have found that I-Charts are suitable for whole class, small group, or individual inquiry, making them a versatile tool in a variety of subject areas and grade levels.
Today’s students will be tomorrow’s reporters. Allowing them the opportunity to explore a period from the past and piece together key people and events from the time, helps students build essential research skills.
This week’s SOS Story comes to us from Lodi, California. With DEN Star and Ambassador Lead Martha Snider at the helm, this group of nine DEN Ambassadors took the SOS challenge and ran with it! Each member of the Ambassador group not only tried SOS in the classroom, but also agreed to share what they did so that we could celebrate and learn with them. Here are their stories.
A robust vocabulary is key to developing an understanding of any topic. Without language, we have no way to express what we understand, what we know, or how we feel. Many educational studies show that vocabulary development comes from reading a wide and varied range of texts, but there are instances in the classroom where we need to provide further opportunities for students to develop their language on a topic: when they are learning English as an additional language, when they find it difficult to retain information, or just because it is a completely new topic or concept. This strategy has been adapted from the board game Tension. It is a fun way to stretch students to develop their vocabulary and, in turn, boost their comprehension and their ability to express themselves clearly and meaningfully.