Sunday, July 6, 2008


Another high yield strategy identified in Classroom Instruction that Works (Marzano, Pickering and Pollock) and addressed in Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn and Malenoski) is summarizing.

In order to use this strategy, students must learn what information to ignore, what information to rephrase and what key information to keep as they review a section of text. This requires careful analysis of the passage. An awareness of the stucture of the material can help direct the summary. Some literature has a beginning, middle and end. Other articles may take the form of a conversation, narrative, or be intended to argue a point.

Teachers can provide structure for the summary by providing questions to frame the analysis. Kidspiration, Inspirations and Microsoft Office drawing tools can be used to create graphic organizers to guide students in their initial efforts. Later, students should be able to create their own organizers to structure their summary.

The AutoSummarize tool in Microsoft Office Word can provide a starting point for students to explore this new strategy. Several formats are available and the percent of the article included in the summary can be adjusted. This will provide an opportunity for students to compare their analysis with the results provided by the program or adjust the program settings until they feel the appropriate information is selected.

Having students create PowerPoint slides of the key points is another way to utilize technology to develop summarizing skills. Limiting the number of bullets or the amount of text can help students learn to pull out the essential information.

Collaborative summaries can be created using a Google Doc or a wiki. Working as a team, students can discuss the information to be included or excluded.

What other ideas come to mind?

Let's rethink the possibilities.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi, I am one of the co-authors of Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works. Another great tool for summarizing is voice thread. Check it out at

Matt Kuhn
Lead Consultant – Educational Technology
Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL)
4601 DTC Blvd., Suite 500
Denver, CO 80237-2596
P: 303.632.5628
F: 303.337.3005