1. Provide each student with a copy of the S.O.S. Summary sheet.
2. Write a statement, not a question, on the board for students to copy. This activity works best when the statement is one which can be argued from two points of view.
3. Give students time to decide whether they agree or disagree with the statement. Then ask them to support their stance by listing facts, data, reasons, etc.
An S.O.S. Summary is an assessment that can be used at any point in a lesson. Present a statement (S), and then ask the students' opinions (O) about that statement. After students have either agreed or disagreed with the statement, ask them to support (S) his or her opinion with evidence. This summary can be sued before or during a unit, and it is a great way to assess students' attitudes, prior knowledge, and even misconceptions about a topic.
The S.O.S. Summary provides excellent practice for essay writing. It helps students choose a point of view and support it with evidence presented in a few brief bullets. Teachers can use this strategy frequently because it requires much less time than an essay - both to write and assess.
To challenge advanced learners:
Ask one half of the class to agree with the statement and the other half to disagree. Then have students complete an S.O.S. summary from their assigned viewpoint. You can extend this activity even further by holding a debate. Have the two groups stand on opposite sides of the room and defend their opinions by using the facts, data, and examples they have included on their S.O.S. summary sheets.
This activity was taken from 25 Quick Formative Assessments for a Differentiated Classroom by Judith Dodge.