Spotlight on Strategies: High Impact Teaching Strategies to Support All Learners

Finding new and creative ways to engage students can be challenging. We know that it is best practice to use multimedia content in the classroom, which helps the teacher engage the students and in turn helps the student to be more involved and retain more information from the lesson. Sometimes finding those resources and strategies, however, can be difficult.  

Subscribers to Discovery Education have access to an extensive collection of multimedia resources, as well as a collection of creative, research-based instructional strategies, known as Spotlight on Strategies (SOS).  These strategies are presented by teachers for teachers to support implementing multimedia resources in meaningful, effective, and practical ways. 

The instructional ideas from the Spotlight on Strategies (SOS) series has been aligned to McREL’s 6-Phase Model of Learning, which helps teachers choose the appropriate classroom tactics for aiding the acquisition and recall of information. You can view a list of all SOS instructional topics and filter by skill, media type, and alignment to McREL International’s 6-Phase Model of Learning in this Google Sheet. This Sheet is especially helpful when searching for a strategy that supports a specific media type or thinking skill.

Finding a strategy to engage students in digital resources is easy. From your Discovery Education home screen, search “SOS” and add the “SOS Instructional Strategies” channel to your channel list.  Adding it to your list of channels allows you to access it much easier in the future and have all the strategies at your fingertips.  

Explore a Strategy

Once you find a strategy, you have a two ways to learn about the strategy: 

  1. Watch the video. The video, created by a fellow teacher, walks you through the strategy and supports your implementation.
  2. Read the PDF. The PDF includes the big idea, steps, and modifications or extension opportunities. 
Instructional videos for teachers always have a gray background color. As you will see below, videos for students have colorful backgrounds.

Explore the PDF

The PDF provides a quick snapshot of the strategy – including the overall big idea, steps for implementation, extensions and modifications, as well as the materials needed. It highlights the skills the strategy supports students in learning as well as the McRel phase of learning.

Graphic Organizers

Many of the Spotlight on Strategies (SOS) also include a graphic organizer. This can be downloaded and shared with students to scaffold the strategy for students at any level. Consider allowing students to mark up the graphic organizer digitally using their device’s markup tools, or with programs you readily use, such as Seesaw, Canvas, etc. 

Student Learning Activity Videos

SOS Learning Activity Videos for Students demonstrate instructional strategies from the student perspective. Each video uses motion graphics and student-friendly language to describe how a student participates in a SOS Instructional Strategy. The videos are short, typically around 2 minutes or less.

SOS Learning Activity videos can be accessed by students either through assignment from a teacher or through a keyword search within a student’s account. The videos can be added to students’ QuickList or My Content for easy access and review.

Instructional videos for students will always have a colorful background.


 Strategies for Videos, Images, and Audio

With Discovery Education, you have access to lots of multimedia content.  You can play and download videos, save them to a folder in ‘My Content’, or share them with students and colleagues. Videos typically include quick access to smaller video segments, video transcripts, citation information, related materials, and other titles in the same series. 

In addition to videos, subscribers have access to an extensive library of images, ranging from photographs to primary sources to illustrations. Images can be viewed and saved in a variety of sizes to best match your instructional goals or content needs.

Discovery Education also offers a wide variety of audio selections such as audiobooks, podcasts, famous speeches, and more. For a more robust use of audio, many of these audio assets are accompanied by supporting materials, such as teachers’ guides, transcripts, and lyrics. So what are you waiting for? Find your multimedia content today and choose a SOS strategy to try out with your students.  

Top 10 Strategies

Not sure where to start? Try looking at the Top 10 Strategies lists that combine the most popular SOS instructional topics into categories, such as science, literacy, math, social studies, social-emotional learning, and more!  Check out the top ten lists in the “SOS Instructional Strategies Support Resources section of the “SOS Instructional Strategies channel”.

I challenge you to explore try out the “Eye Spy” strategy with your class. Choose current unit of study in your class (such as electricity or adjectives, for example). View the teacher video and/or PDF that explains the strategy. Then select a Discovery Education image related to your current unit of study and follow the steps outlined in the SOS activity. Show your students the student video to better understand the strategy. Leave a comment below letting us know how it went and if you have tried out any other strategies!