Summarizing Teacher Resources
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Summarizing and Synthesizing: Planning for Writing an Apprentice Wanted Ad
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.
End of Unit 2 Assessment: Working with Two Texts - Reading, Listening, Summarizing, and Synthesizing
As a 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.
Summarizing: Using Hand Motions for Key Words or Points
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.
Upper graders recognize and hone the skills needed to complete a valuable summary. They complete a group summary, and then reread their summaries to find the main idea and supporting details. They put practice to the test as they summarize another article on their own.
Literary Analysis: Summary vs. Analysis
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.
Summary and "The Fallacy of Success"
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.
Summarize Chunks of Text
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.
Summary Lesson Plans
Students can learn how to write summaries with the help of graphic organizers, and summarization lessons.
Summarizing - Squirrel Rehabilitation
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.
Learning to differentiate major and minor textual events can help students learn how to summarize.
Summarizing Details in Sequence
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.
Summarizing Details in Sequence
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.
Researching and Note-Taking: Building Expertise About a Colonial Trade
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.
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.
Solar System Summaries
Everyone loves learning about the solar system. Learners choose a planet to do research on and are evaluated on a precise summary of the planet they chose. They work in small groups to do this activity and post the summary on slapastory.com. This instructional activity includes resource links and a rubric for grading.
Reading the Newspaper
Learners read the newspaper. In this newspaper lesson, students become familiar with the various parts of a newspaper. They read specific parts, highlight important information and summarize what they read.
Literary Analysis: Summary vs. Analysis
Do your writers need tips for distinguishing between a summary and an analysis? Many learners, new to analysis, spend too much time summarizing a text and not enough time in analysis. Show your pupils how to recognize summaries by looking for explanations of what or where versus commentary about why or how that signals an analysis. Also included are strategies to avoid excessive summarization.
Story Summaries Through Podcasting
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 lesson addresses both technology and Language Arts standards.
Getting Ready to Learn About Human Rights: Close Reading of Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)
Introduce young readers to informational texts with a well-designed, ready-to-use, and Common Core-aligned unit. Young readers will learn a variety of skills while studying the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). As the first activity in this unit, the primary focus of the activity is learning to use the norms of class discussion as well as close reading practices. Your young readers will learn and practice strategies such as rereading, annotating, identifying key vocabulary, and summarizing. Making use of great instructional strategies, this unit is a must see! Note: The level of text complexity for this module would most likely make it appropriate for older grades as well.
New! “THE LORAX” by Dr. Seuss
Few children's books convey the message of conservation as well as Dr. Seuss' The Lorax. Read the story aloud, emphasizing the interconnectedness of plants and animals in an ecosystem and discussing different ways people can help the environment. Young conservationists then document their learning by writing a summary of the story and three ways they will help the Lorax protect the planet. Implement this lesson as part of an Earth Day celebration, or include it in a unit on ecosystems.