One of the skills that second graders are working on this week is writing a summary. This can be so difficult for kids if they have never learned summary writing strategies. So often, we just say “summarize the story” and expect our kids to know what to do. We will have students who write pages upon pages about the book OR we will have students who say “The book was about a girl.” We’ve got to find a happy medium, but that comes with a lot of modeling and practice.
Here’s what I did today. The students had already listened to the story, “Grace for President.” So, we started with a retell of the story. We went through the steps to writing a summary: Somebody, Wanted, But, So, Then” together. We talked a lot about how our summary was going to retell the story without giving every little detail away. We also discussed the importance of writing a summary in sequential order. I used these posters to help out. You can grab those HERE!
As we were discussing, we wrote the summary on our Future Voter ribbons. These were initially created for grammar, but I adapted them for writing a summary.
We did this as a whole group so that students would take their time on each step. We constantly went back and reread our summary piece by piece so that we could make sure we were on the right track.
Afterwards I continued working with small groups on writing a summary. I read the story, “When Penny Met POTUS” to get us started. Then I told the students that were were going to build a summary snack piece by piece if they could identify each part of the summary. I had five bags labeled SOMEBODY, WANTED, BUT, SO, THEN. Inside of the bags I place five strips of paper. Four of the strips contained false information while 1 strip had the correct summary portion on it!
Students grabbed the strips out of the bag one at a time and shared it with the group. If it wasn’t correct, we placed it back in the bag. If it was the correct piece of our summary, we kept it out of the bag.
As we went through each piece of the summary, the students were able to build their summary snack. I had five ingredients for the five parts of our summary. I just quickly gave each student a scoop of the ingredient and we layered them one on top of the other.
Once we were finished choosing our parts of the summary and making our summary snack, we were able to indulge in the cup of deliciousness!