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Spotlight on Strategies:Half the picture

Copy half an image and distribute to students. Watch a video related to the image and ask students to use information from it to complete the picture, label it and add supporting details. Compare in small groups.

Big idea

In essence, the active processing theory rests on a principle of "use it or lose it" (Kaufeldt, 2010). This means that students must be actively involved in what they are learning. This strategy leverages the use of a "left-side" (output), "right-side" (input) orientation of books to help students actively record, organise, and process new information. By completing half the picture, students are actively engaged in their learning.

Overview of strategy

  • Ages:Early years, Primary & Secondary
  • Media type used:Image
  • Preparation time:Medium
  • Download strategy PDF


video segment (two-five minutes), image, blank paper, and pen/pencil.

  1. Find a video and an image that demonstrate the main concept of your unit of study.
  2. Copy only ½ of the image so that students can not see the entire picture.
  3. Distribute the image and have students glue it into their books.
  4. Explain that they will now watch a video segment about the concept and they will use information gathered from the video segment to complete the picture, label it, and add supporting information.
  5. After viewing the segment, provide time for students to draw, label, and add supporting details.
  6. Have students work in pairs or small groups to compare their completed picture and examine similarities and differences.
Sum it up

By completing half of a picture, students are actively engaged in their learning and can have an opportunity to share what they've learned.

More ideas
  • Ask students find additional images that support the concept studied, and add those images to their books.
  • Ask students to open their books and leave them on their desks. Provide three post-it notes for each student and ask students to circulate leaving positive feedback and/or ask questions for classmates by posting their notes on each others notebooks. If a notebook has three post-it notes it is "closed," so all students receive feedback.

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