We’ve been working on summaries throughout our Hunger Games novel unit. And by “working on”, I mean providing multiple opportunities to practice and perfect. No small task, I assure you. Our first assignment allowed for a few different entry points and had recorded audible support for some of our readers. You can see the google doc assignment here (and give summarizing a try, if you’re so inclined! 🙂 )
We noticed that students were making similar errors (ie: writing a retell, including insignificant details) so we discussed this with the students (conferencing and written feedback).
Our next step was to have them work on summarizing again, but with a very limited amount of text (one page of the chapter). In partners, they reread that page and then wrote one sentence to summarize the page (yes, complex sentences were allowed!). This challenged them! They really wanted to write more or include details from other areas of the book. But! BUT! We insisted, and they figured it out with (or without) our help.
Next these “pairs” become “fours”. At this point, they worked collaboratively to get the “best” summary from the two sets of ideas. We listened to some deep conversation about the merits of each pair’s work (this was definitely my favorite part of the work!). After their arguements (ahemm, I mean discussions), the “fours” wrote their sentence on the whiteboards.
We lined them up for a video (this took the better part of an hour!) 😛 We hope you enjoy!