Teaching summary writing

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Rockguykev, Aug 4, 2009.

  1. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Aug 4, 2009

    This will be year 5 of attempting to teach summary writing to middle schoolers for me. I've tried a ton of different methods. I thought I really liked the IVF method from Step Up to Writing but my kids hated it. I thought I'd like the simple 1-2-3 method but I found it was a ton of work for me and not much benefit to them.

    We do not have a set summary method in our English department but as an AVID teacher I need my kids to learn the process. I don't know how to explain it because I don't know how I learned it. I just kind of do it. A colleague and I are thinking about doing it multiple choice style this year, at least for awhile.

    At the end of class we'll offer 4 possible summary options for the day's material. Students will select the one they think fits best (this is how summary writing is tested on our state tests in Cali) and we'll discuss it as a class. This will again be a ton of work for me to write summaries for each day but if I think it will work (I'm not sold yet) I'm willing to put in the time.

    Soooooo, too long; didn't read version:

    How can I teach summary writing to middle school kids?
     
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  3. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    Aug 4, 2009

  4. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Aug 5, 2009

    Great link, Mrs. K. Thanks!
     
  5. carlea

    carlea Comrade

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    Aug 5, 2009

    Try Emily Kissner's book Summarizing, Paraphrasing, and Retelling. This is the book I'll be using to teach summary.

    It breaks down summarizing into manageable parts, starting with finding the main idea & building up. She also explains how students write about what they think is important (what's interesting to them) and how to help them find what's important to the author. Of course there's much more in the book!
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2009
  6. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Aug 5, 2009

    Here's a quick strategy called GIST:

    Basically you get a sheet of paper and you put 25 or 30 blanks on it, like this:

    _____ ______ _____ _____ _____ _____

    _____ ______ _____ _____ _____ _____

    _____ ______ _____ _____ _____ _____

    _____ ______ _____ _____ _____ _____

    _____ ______ _____ _____ _____ _____

    After the students have read a story or piece, have them write one sentence that summarizes the story that fits into these blanks exactly. If you have 30 blanks, it has to be exactly a 30 word sentence.

    It really helps the students understand that a summary doesn't contain any fluff information, and you get to teach some revising and editing.


    Another popular strategy is the Somebody Wanted But So sentence. The kids write a summary in one sentence using that formula: Somebody (the main character) wanted (whatever), but (something/someone got in the way), so (here's how it was resolved).
     
  7. MrsCAD

    MrsCAD Companion

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    Aug 6, 2009

    I use the GIST method that BandNerdTX mentioned. I put it in their terms. Like if they were going to tell a friend about something that happened in a text message they wouldn't tell the entire story, only the 'gist' of what happened. They seemed to really get it after we practiced it A LOT, but at first they just wanted to tell the one small detail. With a lot of practice they finally got it.
     

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