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Summarizing

Description 

Students are asked to remember and manipulate a large quantity of information in school, and to do so effectively they need to be skilled at organizing and summarizing that information. When students organize information, they are able to categorize facts and recognize the relationship among them: this process makes the facts more memorable and accessible. Through summarizing, students are able to identify, consider, and restate the main ideas, and thus understand and recall the content that is most important.

Benefits 

Through the processes of organizing and summarizing information, students are able to identify the information that is most important, and they are able to relate individual pieces of information so that each fact is placed within a larger context. When information is organized, it can be more efficiently “filed” cognitively, and students can strategically use these interrelated “files” to retrieve and process information. When students summarize, they identify and restate the most important content from a text or lesson, which then renders these important ideas salient and memorable.

Content Area Adaptations 

It is important for students to organize and summarize information whenever they are asked to process a large quantity of content. These basic cognitive skills allow students to identify the most important information, and to store it effectively and efficiently for later retrieval. Students can use this skill in reference to a text or a unit of study.

Learning Strategies 

  • Questioning
  • Synthesizing

Business Card

In this activity, inspired by Burke’s The English Teacher’s Companion (1998), students will create a business card to represent a character from a reading. The purpose of this activity is for students to explore how audience and purpose shape writing. This activity is best used with a character from a novel or a historical figure.

Lesson Plan Stages 

  • Synthesis

Drawing Conclusions Thinking Guide

In this activity, students learn to use a graphic organizer to structure the process of drawing logical conclusions based on large quantities of information. It helps to guide students to make meaning out of information that might otherwise be overwhelming. Students learn to follow the following steps: 1: Gather information. 2: Find...

Lesson Plan Stages 

  • Investigation
  • Synthesis

Generative Summarizing

This small-group activity helps students to encode and extend content presented in direct teaching or a text. Students are guided to work cooperatively to use their own words, experiences, and connections to generate novel summaries of presented content

Lesson Plan Stages 

  • Investigation
  • Synthesis