For the last several years now Discovery Education (DE) has been publishing their incredibly helpful Spotlight on Strategies (S.O.S) Series. According to DE, "Spotlight On Strategies (S.O.S.) are creative, research-based instructional strategies, presented by teachers for teachers. These simple instructional strategies incorporate digital media in meaningful, effective, and practical ways." If you have missed this gem on the DE website it can be found on the Professional Development Page. Based on the feedback of DE users the layout and how these strategies have been presented has been improved upon. These strategies are now organized by skill and include written and video directions for using that particular strategy. This has become one of my first places to go to when lesson planning and I LOVE that DE is a company that truly listens to their users, but unfortunately you must be a DE user to enjoy The S.O.S. Series. It has been my experience that by themselves they are each powerful, but can be even more powerful when utilized together.
In that earlier post In My Own Words??, I had proposed as set of questions that I needed to ask myself and if I were honest those questions are haunting me some. However, the one thing I believe that has worked to help guide my students to deeper thinking in the past was scaffolding. Last year, we explored Who's Santa? and Exploring the Southern Reconstruction, where one strategy was utilized to gather information and another strategy for organizing the collected information. With Veterans' Day this year I again used scaffolding to both assess and get students to think just a bit deeper on this important subject. The first thing I did was pulled a clip about Veterans' Day from DE to use. I selecting one from one entitled Observing the Holiday, which about four minutes long. Then I combined the S.O.S. Strategies - Silence is Golden and the Visual Thinking Routine See-Think-Wonder.
Here what we did:
-On a page within their Interactive Notebooks I had students divided that page into three columns and label them See/Think/Wonder.
-We then watched the video without the sound and stop it ever 30 seconds to a minutes (depending on the age of the students). Students were instructed to only write down what they saw in the video.
-Each time the video was stopped I ask the students to think and to record their thoughts in the center section of their paper. At this point of our activity we would discuss what they saw and thought about it. I would encourage students to explain why they might have those thoughts and many times the response will be it reminded me of something.... I labeled this as the skill inferring and encourage my students to do the same.
-We would repeat this process until we the video is complete.
-After the video was complete we did a variation of the S.O.S. Quick Write. Students were asked to use there notes on See/Think/Wonder and write what they thought this video was about.
-Finally, we watched the same video with sound to check for accuracy.