To both check for understanding and develop student skill in identifying key knowledge in text, students are asked to summarise information in three separate formats. The different lengths require different attention to detail.
- One in 10-15 words
- One in 30-50 words
- One in 75-100 words
Summarising offers students the opportunity to better understand concepts and show that knowledge to the teacher, in a written form. This strategy facilitates student engagement, with summarizing, in a manner that promotes scaffolding. Having different summary length also requires students to give a high-level of attention to detail.
After Phase 2 Guided Instruction; we do it together.
After introducing students in a new concept in a text ask students to write a summary of key information using 75-100 words.
Afterwards, have students summarise that information again, this time they must be within 30-50 words.
Finally students have to summarise key information to 10 to 15 words.
Topic: English Text
After reading a text, students need to complete the 3 x summarisation activity to succinctly identify the core storyline and themes in text.
When learning about ecosystems, students need to be able to understand that at its core, an ecosystem is a complex network made up of interconnected parts. After reading a text, students need to complete the 3 x summarisation activity to succinctly identify what an ecosystem is.
Twitter is a social media platform where users have traditionally had 140 characters to communicate. Students could be asked to explain a concept using only 140 characters.
Summarising in the English classroom can help students to identify (in addition to characters, plot and other literal aspects of the text) key themes. Using a similar strategy to the aforementioned teaching/learning tool. Students are asked to summarise a short fiction text. At first students write a detailed fluent paragraph (focusing on the ‘about’ and the aspects of the text that support the ‘about). Then ask students to highlight key words and phrases within their summaries. Students are then asked to rewrite the summary in two sentences… then one sentence… then a phrase… until they are left with one key word which should represent the (or one of the) key themes in the text.
This sounds like a great way to help teach students to really consider the main points in a piece of text and build their ability to summarise. I imagine that it would be interesting to see what individual students actually take from a piece of text and how this might differ from student to student.