SOS Story: Teresa Rupnik

The Spotlight On Strategies series (CDN subscribers) is one of Discovery Education’s most popular resources. First introduced 2012, these strategies help teachers use media in effective and engaging ways in their classrooms.

The best part about SOS is that they are flexible strategies that can be used across grade levels and content areas. We are excited for SOS Story: a new SOS series that spotlights teachers showing off how they have put the SOS to work in their classrooms.


SOS Strategy: Half the Story (CDN subscribers)

Name: Teresa Rupnik

District: Ottawa Catholic School Board in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Role: Special Education Teacher (Grades 1, 2, and 3)


Teresa’s SOS Story:

I am a special education teacher, and my teaching assignment is to work with students that have severe to moderate delays in expressive and receptive language. All the students in my class are identified formally as exceptional learners and have a written educational plan (IEP).

My favorite Discovery Education SOS Strategy is Half the Story (CDN subscribers)I use this strategy weekly in my class for intentional speaking and listening opportunities.

First, I select a photograph based on the theme we are focusing on that particular week. This photograph then acts as a springboard for class discussion. Next, I copy and paste this photograph into my SMART Board Notebook program and use the toolbar screen shade button option to cover the entire photograph. This toolbar option allows me to display and hide parts of the photograph while the students are discussing what they are seeing on the SMART Board. Here is a short record of this week’s discussion.

Student 1: I see some food.

Mrs. Rupnik: Please tell us more. How do you know it is food?

Student 1: ‘Cause I see tomatoes.

Mrs. Rupnik: You are correct. I see tomatoes too. What are the clues for tomatoes?

Student 1: They are red.

Mrs. Rupnik: Yes, tomatoes are red. Who has other ideas?

Student 2: They are circles.

Mrs. Rupnik: We call tomatoes and other vegetables like tomatoes round. Round like circles!

Student 3: Well, I see a stand.

Student 4: A stand? What’s that?

Mrs. Rupnik: KGG can you explain what a stand is?

Student 3: It’s tall and you can sit there too. It has a cover too.

Mrs. Rupnik: We call that white covering a tent. Tell me more.

Student 5: I know! It’s a supermarket!

Student 6: No way. No.

Student 4: There is people there.

Mrs. Rupnik: Yes, you are correct. There are people there and they are standing under a white tent.

Student 2: They are buying ‘matoes.

Mrs. Rupnik: You’re right. The people are buying tomatoes. I could see signs on the baskets of the tomatoes with prices on them.

Student 5: I know! It’s a market farmers.

Mrs. Rupnik: Way to go! We have been thinking and adding to what has already been said. We are looking at a picture of a farmers market. Remember that new word from last week. The farmers bring their food to a market and set up stands. Then people buy food from the farmers. Good work everyone. Who has been to a farmers market before?

It is with strategies like Half the Story that I can generate genuine discussion among my students. Everyone is motivated to talk and everyone participates, from the quiet and very shy students to those students with severe apraxia of speech and articulation difficulties. Half the Story also allows me to work on the formulation of complete sentences and vocabulary development. Vocabulary knowledge, in turn, helps with reading and writing development. I love this SOS Strategy. Thanks Discovery Education!

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