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Spotlight on Strategies:Filling the silence

Select a video that explains a concept visually and play without the sound. Pause at an opening scene and ask students what they think the images represent, discuss their inferences of the remaining content. Play the remainder of the video, pausing to provide time for students to jot down notes about what they see, know and wonder. Students work in pairs to writing a script to fill the silence they heard while watching.

Big idea

The purpose of this strategy is to help students make sense of information by discovering connections between what they are learning and prior knowledge or experience through creative writing. Instead of asking students to solve a problem, this strategy asks students to create a story related to a video segment played without sound. Students draw conclusions about the message and then are asked to go a step further to create their own stories based on a similar theme or concept.

Overview of strategy



video segment, paper, pen/pencil

  1. Select a video that explains your content or topic visually, keeping in mind you will not be playing the segment with the audio.
  2. Pause the video on an opening scene and ask students what they think the images represent.
  3. Based on what they see, have students make inferences of what they believe the segment will cover.
  4. Play the rest of the video segment without audio, pausing throughout, and providing time for students to jot down notes about what they see, know, and wonder.
  5. Stop the segment before it concludes.
  6. Have students work individually or in pairs to write a script to fill in the silence, being sure to include important vocabulary necessary to understanding the concept.
  7. Have students share their stories with the class.
Sum it up

This strategy allows students to think critically about content presented with only visual representation. It encourages them to make inferences based on content provided along with background knowledge.

More ideas
  • After watching the visual portion of the segment without sound, play only the audio, pausing to allow students to draw a representation of what content is covered.
  • Have students create maths word problems from the imagery only.

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