Lesson for Teaching Nonfiction Summarizing


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A lesson plan for helping students to write nonfiction summaries.

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Lesson for Teaching Nonfiction Summarizing

  1. 1. Learn About Light: Helping Students to Find Important Ideas In order for students to write summaries, they need to be able tofind the important ideas in a text. Many of our readers have trouble withthis. They look at seductive details, copy and delete ideas, or work onlyfrom the first few paragraphs of a text. These lessons will show students how to figure out what isimportant in text. Students will sort ideas from a text, first putting themin the order in which they appear, and then pulling out the ones that arenot important. They are left with a list of the most important ideas fromthe text, the perfect starting point for a summary.2 Model Lesson for Using a very short text, the teacher “What Is Light?” introduces how to sort ideas as important or less important.3 Text: “What Is Light?” A short text for the lesson4 Ideas from “What Is A list of ideas from the text Light?”5 “What’s Important?” This page shows students rules for figuring out what ideas are important.6-7 “Learn About Light” In this lesson, students will read a lesson text with their partners, sort ideas, figure out what is important, and write a summary.8 Before Reading page Use this page to introduce the tough vocabulary to students. Directions for students are also included.9-10 “Learn About Light” Reading level: 3-4 text11-12 Ideas from “Learn About Light”13 Summarizing page Use this page for student summariesEmily Kissner 2011 1
  2. 2. Model Lesson for “What is Light?” 1. Copy the ideas from the text onto sentence strips. (Alternatively, you could photocopy them on a transparency.) 2. Arrange the ideas in random order on the chalkboard or a pocket chart 3. Model reading aloud the text, “What is Light?” 4. Tell students, “We’re going to find the important ideas from the text. First, though, we need to put the ideas in order.” Call on students to arrange the ideas in order. **If students cannot do this, work on this skill before you go on to important ideas! 5. Tell students, “Let’s think about the most important ideas from this text.” 6. Read the “What’s Important?” page with students. It’s helpful for each student to have a copy of this page. 7. “Let’s think about which ideas are most important, and take away ideas that are less important. Can anyone find an idea that is not very important?” 8. Call on students to remove less important ideas. Remind them to go back to the criteria in “What’s Important?” 9. After the less important ideas are removed, you will have a list of the important ideas from the text in order. 10.You can stop here, or use this list to model writing a summary. Remind students that they will need to put ideas in their own words as they summarize.Emily Kissner 2011 2
  3. 3. What is Light? Have you ever watched sunlight coming in througha window? You have seen an amazing form of energy!Light is really a kind of energy that can travel throughspace. Pretty neat!Light travels in straight lines Light can do many things. But there are some thingsthat light cannot do. For example, light always travels instraight lines. It does not go around corners. A shadowis formed when something blocks the path of light.Emily Kissner 2011 3
  4. 4. Have you ever watched sunlight coming in through a window?You’ve seen an amazing form of energy!Light is a kind of energyLight travels through spacePretty neat!Light can do many thingsThere are some things light can’t doLight travels in straight linesLight doesn’t go around cornersWhen something blocks light’s path, a shadow is formedEmily Kissner 2011 4
  5. 5. What’s Important?To figure out if an idea is important, ask thesequestions: • Does it relate to a key word or main topic from the text? • Is the idea repeated? o Authors usually repeat really important ideas • Does the idea relate to a heading? o Headings usually include important ideas • Does the idea explain the meaning of a key word or main topic? o It’s important to understand what key words and main topics mean in order to understand the main ideas • Is it an example, transition, or seductive detail? o Examples usually help to explain main ideas, but are not the most important ideas in a text. Transitions connect ideas, but don’t add information. Seductive details are details that are interesting or unusual, but don’t relate to main ideas. These are not important.Emily Kissner 2011 5
  6. 6. Learn About Light Lesson 1. Before the lesson, make a copy of the text for each student. Also, copy the important ideas onto cardstock, cut them out, and put them in envelopes. (Hint: It helps to put numbers on the back of each set so that they don’t get mixed up.) Each pair of students will need a set. 2. Use the “Before Reading” page to help students with the pronunciation of the difficult words from the text. Have students create a prediction for what the text will be about. 3. Discuss the steps for reading the text. 4. Pair up students to read the text. 5. After students read, they will begin sorting the ideas in the order in which they appear from the text. 6. Then, students will use the “What’s Important?” page to decide which ideas are important, and which are not. Encourage students to talk and share their ideas. This is a fuzzy process. 7. After students sort their cards, discuss their responses. There may be some disagreement! But students should be able to sort out the fluffy transitions (“Read on!”) from the important ideas (“Light passes through transparent items”). In all, students should have about 8-10 important ideas, reflectingEmily Kissner 2011 6
  7. 7. the definitions of transparent, translucent, and opaque. 8. Hand out the summary sheets. Tell students, “Now, we’re going to use our important ideas to write a summary of this text. Remember to put ideas into your own words.” You may want to model an opening sentence—for example, “In the text ‘Learn About Light’, the author explains what happens when light hits objects.” 9. The students now have a clear starting point for their summaries. Applaud their progress! 10. In the next lessons, wean students away from the physical sorting of ideas. Encourage them to use the “What’s Important?” chart to help them highlight important ideas for summaries.Emily Kissner 2011 7
  8. 8. Before Reading: Learn About Light! transparent opaque translucent objects absorb refractionBased on these words, what do you think the article will be about?Directions for reading the text 1. Read the text with your partner. 2. Arrange the ideas from the text in order. 3. Use your “What’s Important?” page to figure out which ideas are important, and which are less important. Take away the ideas that are less important. 4. Listen as your class talks about the important ideas. 5. Work with your partner to write a summary of the text. 6. Reflect: What did you learn about important ideas? How can this help you with summarizing?Emily Kissner 2011 8
  9. 9. Learn About Light If you have ever played with a flashlight, you know thatlight travels in a straight line. On a dark walk in the woods,you might notice that the flashlight’s beam goes from theflashlight in a straight line. But what happens when the beam of light hits an object?That depends on what it hits. Scientists have studied howdifferent items react to light. Read on to find out whathappens!Transparent: Light shines straight through Suppose that you shine your flashlight at a window.What will happen? The light will pass straight through. We callitems like this transparent. Transparent items are clear. Wecan see through them. It’s important for some items to be transparent.Windshields need to be transparent so that drivers can see. Ifyou wear glasses, your lenses need to be transparent. But not everything is transparent. What else can happento the beam of light?Opaque: Light is absorbed When you shine your light at a wall, the light does notpass through. Instead, the light is absorbed. The wall isopaque. Items that are opaque do not allow light to passthrough. We have many items that are opaque. At your house, it’simportant for the walls to be opaque. You would not wantpeople to be able to see into your bedroom! What else can youthink of that is opaque? Are there any items that are neither transparent noropaque? There are! What do we call these items?Translucent: Light is refracted Imagine shining your flashlight at a frosted window. Thelight passes through. But you cannot see through the window.We call this kind of object translucent. This means that someEmily Kissner 2011 9
  10. 10. light can pass through, but you cannot see clearly through theitem. What’s happening in a translucent object? Translucentobjects redirect the light. The beam of light bounces aroundbefore passing through. This is called refraction. It can be convenient to have translucent items. Often, theglass in a bathroom or shower stall is translucent. Thistranslucent glass lets the light shine through, but is nottransparent. The next time you have a flashlight, do someexperimenting! What can you find that is transparent?Opaque? Translucent? It can be fun to learn more about light.Emily Kissner 2011 10
  11. 11. Light travels in a straight line.Read on to find out what happens!Light passes through transparent items.Transparent items are clear.Windshields are transparent.Glasses are transparent.Light does not pass through opaque items.A wall is opaque.We have many items that are opaque.Opaque items absorb the light.Light passes through translucent items.We can’t see clearly through translucent items.Translucent items refract light.Emily Kissner 2011 11
  12. 12. It can be convenient to have translucent items.Windows can be translucent so that you can’t seethrough.The next time you have a flashlight, do someexperimenting.It’s fun to learn about light!Emily Kissner 2011 12
  13. 13. Summary: Learn About Light!Emily KissnerSummarizing, Paraphrasing, andRetelling: Skills for Better Reading,Writing, and Test-TakingA guide for how to teach the relatedskills of summarizing, paraphrasing,and retelling. Rubrics for scoringsummaries and ready-made activitiesincluded.Emily Kissner 2011 13
  14. 14. The Forest AND the Trees: HelpingReaders to Identify Details in Textsand TestsThis book looks at how to helpstudents identify details to findimportant ideas, make inferences, andanswer open-ended responsequestions.Emily Kissner 2011 14