Loved That Lesson January!

It's time once again for "Loved That Lesson" and I think we are going to have some new bloggers linking up!

My student teacher has been teaching quite a bit lately as her placement is coming to an I LEAP at every chance I get to teach!  I kept my read aloud going (I am VERY possessive of my read aloud time!) and I decided to throw in a little summarizing lesson.  We did work earlier in the year to try to clarify the difference between retelling and summarizing--but you know as well as I do that this is a very difficult concept...especially for nine and ten year olds!

After I read a chapter this week, I asked my students to try to capture the essence of the chapter in 2-3 sentences.  We reviewed that a summary should mention the characters and should capture the heart of the chapter...not just the beginning, end, or one single event.  A summary should help you "feel" the chapter and the characters' experiences.  That's hard to do in a few sentences!

I collected the students' reader's notebooks so I could get a feel for how they are doing with summarizing.  I started noticing some patterns, so I started to copy some of them down on a Google doc.

After I filled a page with student work (or variations...if I saw several students with similar summaries I combined them into my own version!), I printed them off to use the next day.

I knew I only wanted to spend another 10 minutes or so on the lesson, so I highlighted 3 summaries on each copy (I made enough copies for trios to work) and asked students to work in their small groups to read the highlighted summaries and to critique them--to find what the good elements are as well as what they may be lacking.  If they finished early, they were welcome to try one or two more.

I overheard some of the BEST discussions!  I loved some of the critical thinking and how students justified their thinking--and I am pretty confident that they have a better sense for what a quality summary needs to have!  Even at the end of our discussion, students were not in agreement about which of the summaries was the "best", but I definitely think that they better understood what was missing from many of them--and hopefully they will be able to do an even better job next week when we try this again!
Want to check out some more "Loved That Lesson" posts?  Watch for more being added all week long!  


  1. Awesome post, Meg! Teaching summarizing can be TOUGH and it looks like your kiddos really grasped the concept. Thanks for organizing this linky :)
    The Techie Teacher

  2. Great lesson! Your student teacher is lucky to have you!

    The Math Maniac

  3. Thanks for sharing. I always enjoy blog posts that are things you can run and do right away! Thanks!

  4. Summarizing is so difficult for students! I find that they have a hard time figuring out what information truly is important. I love that in this lesson the students see different examples and have to discuss which one is the best!

  5. Love the idea of using good samples to point out why they are good summaries! My 4th graders always have a hard time finding key points. Thanks, Meg!

  6. Great ideas to help students with summarizing. Thanks for hosting the linky!
    Astute Hoot: Tools for the Wise Teacher

  7. Really loved this lesson, especially the way you had students look at different summaries in groups, and then discuss. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Summarizing is such a challenging concept, and definitely one that needs to be practiced again and again! I can see where this was a powerful activity. I bet your students remember their discussions when they write their next summary!

  9. I really like that you take time to analyze students progress. It's so much easier to come up with new tasks and games when you know what should be stresses. Here I constantly have troubles teaching them all at the same time. I even had to find academic essay writers to help me with the curriculum. Students abilities vary and it can take a while to manage help them all. Especially when you lack teaching experience. In any case, this post is amazing, thanks for sharing and keep it up!