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How Can You Stretch Students' Thinking?
Here are some general questions for students to consider when summarizing either fiction or nonfiction:
Who was involved?
What was the outcome?
Is the essential piece of information included?
Are interesting but nonessential facts or details eliminated?
Would someone who read my summary really understand the main points of the text?
Some students may get paraphrasing and summarizing confused. Explain that summarizing is similar to paraphrasing because both strategies require students to put the main ideas of a story or article into their own words. However, the major difference between the two is that a summary usually recounts an entire article or story whereas a paraphrase recounts specific information within an article or story. For example, you might ask students to paraphrase a passage in a chapter of their textbook and to summarize the entire chapter.
When Can You Use It?
Have students summarize stories, a chapter from a novel, an act from a play, a poem, or an entire short story. Ask students to summarize the life of an author or a piece of science fiction or historical fiction.
Have students use a story map to summarize a work of fiction or nonfiction in a paragraph. Have them write a paragraph that summarizes a style of writing that their favorite author uses.
Have students summarize an important theorem in geometry such as the Pythagorean theorem, the quadratic formula, or how to do long division. Have them summarize the life of an important mathematician such as Pythagoras.
Summarize the events leading up to an historical event such as the Civil War. Have students summarize an interesting case such as the Dred Scott case or the life of an important historical figure such as Martin Luther King, or Abigail Adams.
Have students summarize the process of photosynthesis, a recent science experiment, or the life of an important scientist such as Marie Curie or Thomas Edison.
These lesson plans are for primary students:
Summarizing, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
Use a lesson that is designed to expand primary students' summarizing skills using the book Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.
Summarizing, Nate the Great
Use a lesson that is designed to establish primary students' skills in summarizing a story using the book, Nate the Great by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat.
Summarizing, Play Ball, Amelia Bedelia
Use a lesson that is designed to introduce primary students to summarizing a story using a part of the book Play Ball, Amelia Bedelia.
These lesson plans are for middle or high school students:
Summarizing an O. Henry Short Story (fiction)
During this high school language arts lesson, students will summarize, verbally and in writing, the short story "Confessions of a Humorist" by O. Henry.
Summarizing a John F. Kennedy Speech (nonfiction)
During this high school language arts lesson, students will summarize, verbally and in writing, a speech that John F. Kennedy gave about the need for America to land a man on the moon.
Asian-Pacific-American Heritage Month
May is Asian-Pacific-American Heritage Month! Don't overlook this opportunity to study and enjoy activities about the history and culture of Asian-Pacific American communities.
Top 10 Galleries
Explore our most popular Top 10 galleries, from Top 10 Behavior Management Tips for the Classroom and Top 10 Classroom Organization Tips from Veteran Teachers to Top 10 Free (& Cheap) Rewards for Students and Top 10 Things Every Teacher Needs in the Classroom. We'll help you get organized and prepared for every classroom situation, holiday, and more! Check out all of our galleries today.
May Calendar of Events
May is full of holidays and events that you can incorporate into your standard curriculum. Our Educators' Calendar outlines activities for each event, including: Children's Book Week (5/13-19), Biographers Day (5/16), and Memorial Day (5/27). Plus, celebrate Asian-Pacific-American Heritage Month, Clean Air Month, and Physical Fitness & Sports Month all May long!
Common Core Lessons & Resources
Is your school district adopting the Common Core? Work these new standards into your curriculum with our reading, writing, speaking, social studies, and math lessons and activities. Each piece of content incorporates the Common Core State Standards into the activity or lesson.