Learning about summarizing...by classifying!

If you teach "summarizing" in your classroom, you know that it is a REALLY tricky skill.  Students often struggle to know what the most important details are...sometimes write down every single thing that happens...and usually miss that "heart of the story" piece.  Because it is one of our assessed skills all year, I knew I wanted to do a better job modeling and scaffolding for my class this year.

To get started, we talked about summarizing, how it differs from retelling (which is oral and detailed), and how it not only has to capture the key elements of the story, but also that "theme" or big idea the author wants you to carry with you.  That's pretty complicated stuff!

I took some time and wrote 5 sample summaries for our most recent read aloud, Shredderman.  I asked the students to work in pairs to read them, discuss them, and then decide if they were "oh no!", "decent" or "wahoo!".  They had some great discussions...

Reading and writing about diferent types of texts are key parts of most upper elementary literacy classrooms. Learning to summarize and write about deep thinking need to be modeled and taught. These prompts allow you to get students thinking and writing about characters, theme, events, and even nonfiction texts--whether it be from read alouds, picture books, independent reading, or book clubs. Full page or clippable for notebooks. Low ink and ready to use!

Reading and writing about diferent types of texts are key parts of most upper elementary literacy classrooms. Learning to summarize and write about deep thinking need to be modeled and taught. These prompts allow you to get students thinking and writing about characters, theme, events, and even nonfiction texts--whether it be from read alouds, picture books, independent reading, or book clubs. Full page or clippable for notebooks. Low ink and ready to use!
                                    
...then we came back and each group placed their summaries where they felt they belonged.  We had a LOT of variation!  We read each one aloud and talked about the strengths and shortcomings of each (ex.  One was well written and many students gave it a "wahoo!" until I pointed out that it was an OPINION piece, not a summary!), and I think it set us up well for tomorrow's lesson where we are going to try to write our own summaries on some simplistic short texts.  Stay tuned!

Reading and writing about diferent types of texts are key parts of most upper elementary literacy classrooms. Learning to summarize and write about deep thinking need to be modeled and taught. These prompts allow you to get students thinking and writing about characters, theme, events, and even nonfiction texts--whether it be from read alouds, picture books, independent reading, or book clubs. Full page or clippable for notebooks. Low ink and ready to use!

I just had my students type their summaries...but I LOVE using my "Pausing Points" to get students writing about text.  I love that I can use them all year--with read alouds, picture books, book clubs, and even independent reading.  We use standards-based grading, so I am always looking for ways to collect data to help me understand how deeply students are understanding what we read.  Interested in seeing some of these?  Just CLICK the image below.

Reading and writing about diferent types of texts are key parts of most upper elementary literacy classrooms. Learning to summarize and write about deep thinking need to be modeled and taught. These prompts allow you to get students thinking and writing about characters, theme, events, and even nonfiction texts--whether it be from read alouds, picture books, independent reading, or book clubs. Full page or clippable for notebooks. Low ink and ready to use!

Rather pin this for later?  Here you go!
Reading and writing about diferent types of texts are key parts of most upper elementary literacy classrooms. Learning to summarize and write about deep thinking need to be modeled and taught. These prompts allow you to get students thinking and writing about characters, theme, events, and even nonfiction texts--whether it be from read alouds, picture books, independent reading, or book clubs. Full page or clippable for notebooks. Low ink and ready to use!







3 comments

  1. GREAT idea! Summarizing can be so hard for kids. I have a teacher friend struggling with this right now and I can't wait to share your post with her.

    Tara
    The Math Maniac

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  2. Love this! We were just struggling with this today, as many of my self-motivated students were so proud to share their "summary," which were beautiful, descriptive, detailed RETELLINGS!! We had a long discussion about the difference, but this activity will make it more concrete. Thanks, Meg!

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  3. Love this! As a new teacher I am finding many of my students are struggling with summarizing! Could you explain to me how you went about setting this up and using it??

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