Sunday, January 30, 2011

Summarizing: "Somebody-Wanted-But-So"

Teaching children to summarize can be very difficult.  We move from retelling into summarizing with students and this transition is hard as we want children to capture the essence of a piece using only main points from the reading.

In Iain's lesson, he uses his read aloud, The Name Jar, to pull out the key points from the story, together with his students.  He notes his ideas on the yellow sticky notes, and includes his students' ideas on green ones.  Together, they make sense of the story and he models how to find the important details, which help when summarizing.  Iain has been working a great deal on main idea and he has asked students to embed this within their summary, whether at the beginning or at the end.

After the read aloud, students use the strategy somebody-wanted-but-so to summarize the read aloud on their own.  Leaving the sticky notes on his white board, they are able to refer to the ideas of their peers to help them put together their summary.

Seeing as this is a formative task, students are able to help one another out and seek assistance if needed.  Iain has scaffolded the work, giving feedback to students on prior summaries.

For more ideas on summarizing, please see this document, found online: Summarizing Strategies

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