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As as summative assessment for this unit on colonial trade, fourth graders listen to and read informational texts in order to demonstrate their ability to take notes, write summaries, and draw connections. Young scholars first listen as the teacher reads aloud a text about a New York merchant, taking categorized notes on the information they hear. Next, students independently read a piece of writing about shipbuilders, once again taking notes using the provided graphic organizer. Finally, they use their notes to answer multiple choice questions, write a summary about shipbuilders, and write a paragraph describing the interdependence of these two trades. The lesson provides a complete assessment of the listening, reading, and writing skills developed by pupils during the course of this research-based unit.
In lesson 13 of this unit on colonial trade, young researchers learn about apprentices as they prepare to write help-wanted ads for the specific trade they have been researching. To begin, the class listens closely as the teacher reads aloud an informational text on apprentices while working in small groups to take notes on the information they hear. Using their notes, learners then write a summary paragraph about apprentices in colonial times. Finally, pupils participate in guided practice where the teacher models how to fill in a graphic organizer that helps plan out the help-wanted ad they will be writing in the next lesson. A great resource that uses the concept of apprenticeship to engage young scholars as they learn how to use their research in creating a piece of expository writing.
Learning to summarize texts takes practice. Jump into the training ring and guide your learners through a summarizing practice session. The classic direct instructional practice of "I do, you do, we do" is used to help them identify key words or ideas which will be used to create accurate summaries. As they summarize the text, they create hand motions for each key word or point, they put them all together to make a gestural movement that represents the logical order of their summary.
There is a valuable lesson revealed in the fable The Tortoise and the Eagle, and scholars examine it as they learn about theme, summarizing, and main ideas. The text is included here; read it once for learners to understand the whole story before demonstrating summary through a think aloud. There is a script here for this if you need it. Emphasize breakdown of the story into beginning, middle, and end, finishing by paraphrasing the author's main message. There are discussion questions here to prompt learners into deeper connections with the text before they try summarizing a fable on their own. Consider challenging the class to write their own fables and summarize a partner's writing.
Suggested to accompany a class reading of The Great Gatsby, this plan begins with a discussion emphasizing the reputation of Vanderbilt University. Then, after the class has a working knowledge of the wealth associated with the school, they read "The Fallacy of Success" by G.K. Chesterton. As they read, they stop to summarize paragraphs and discuss their observations with a peer. To wrap it up, they choose two claims that Chesterton makes and write a paragraph explaining the development of these claims throughout the text.
Summarizing is an excellent reading comprehension strategy; learners use the informational text About Trees (linked for printing) to put this skill to use. Model through a think-aloud as you read a section of the book and scholars read along with you. You can use the script here or speak naturally, but be sure to voice your thinking to the class. This is an excellent time to demonstrate note taking and finding main ideas. Assign a paragraph to partners, then have them share what the main idea was. You'll find a guide to all three paragraphs from this section to help structure discussion.
What is the difference between summary writing and literary analysis? A 16-slide presentation offers some basic requirements for both types of writing and helps readers identify each based on keywords used in both types of writing. Strengthen this introduction by looking at some excellent samples of each. Designed for use in a college classroom, middle and high school classrooms would benefit from this as well.
Excerpts from the Declaration of Independence and the Preamble to the Constitution become the text eight graders use to practice paraphrasing and summarizing. They also determine how to use context clues and the dictionary when defining difficult and archaic language. The phonics section of the lesson focuses on the doubling rule while adding suffixes to words.
Authors, particularly authors of articles and other informational texts, organize their ideas into sections or chunks. Often, pupils will rush through a text or scan over it without really taking any of it in. Readers can deepen their understanding of a text by reading, pausing, and summarizing each section. The video effectively models how to pause, think about the chunk of reading, and then compose a succinct summary. Show the video to begin the summarizing process, and then continue summarizing the remaining sections as a class or in small groups. While the video focuses on a particular article, the strategy could be used for any article. Take a look at the excellent additional materials for more ideas.
Young scholars watch a video of how squirrels are rehabilitated back into nature and summarize it. They watch the video twice, paying close attention to detail. Before summarizing, they check their notes for important details and fill out a graphic organizer. A good exercise for reinforcing summarizing skills. All materials are included here.
Guide young readers in their practice of summarizing literature by creating, in groups, a summary of the relevant details in The Ant and the Cricket. Learners practice independently with The Legend of William Tell Aloud and Rumpelstiltskin. A worksheet is referenced but not included.
Seventh graders write a few sentences explaining the most important events of their lives during the past year. As a class, they discuss why they chose the elements they did for their sentences. To end the lesson, they read a variety of stories and summarize the plot in one paragraph.
Headlines from newspapers launch a discussion of image-rich, meaty words. Just as headline writers choose vivid vocabulary to attract readers, young writers develop headlines that capture the essence of a passage from a book they are reading. The focus here is on the words that create a compelling summary of a text.
When scholars re-tell a story, do they boil it down to important details in a logical order? Practice summarizing narratives using this think-aloud strategy, which is scripted here for your convenience. After explaining why this is an important skill, model it using a familiar story. There is emphasis here on segmenting the beginning, middle, and end of a text, using the main details to find a theme or message. The recommended text is a fable, so finding the message will be a bit more clear. Pupils try this on their own after watching you. Although there isn't much here, it's a solid way to introduce this skill with scaffolded steps.
Building on the previous lesson in this unit on colonial trade, the ninth lesson has young experts continuing their research and writing summaries of the information they find. To begin, children participate in guided practice where they read and summarize an informational text as a whole class, learning to focus on the question words who, what, where, when, and why. Learners then break into expert groups to reread their informational texts, while continuing to take notes and discuss their findings. The lesson concludes with the young researchers writing a summary of their colonial trade, citing specific evidence from their reading. An excellent resource that supports in using research to create a summary of informational text.
Stuart Little is a great book and summarizing is a very important skill our students need to learn. After completing the book Stuart Little, 4th graders summarize the book by drawing images and creating a podcast. This instructional activity addresses both technology and Language Arts standards.
Fourth graders listen as the teacher reads the story "The Fall of Freddie the Bat." Using a worksheet, they identify the main event of the story. Students watch as the teacher acts out a mystery nursery rhyme. Students close their eyes when the command "curtain down" is indicated. "Curtain up" is the cue to open their eyes. Students view the freeze frame fairy tale and attempt to summarize the story that they are viewing. Students write the summary using the five main events they identify.