Jan 23 2011
Teaching Summarization Through Twitter-Like Writing
Since I love technology, and love to keep my students interested in my lessons (usually learning follows interest), I created a lesson plan to teach summarization based off twitter. Summarizing is a skill and a term that my students need to understand, and have been previously introduced to several times, in several disciplines.
The problem is that they still confuse summary with paraphrase. The following is a lesson plan that I have used with fantastic results as it combines a needed skill with newer social networking technology. ***The beauty of teaching summary using twitter-like writing is that it’s a two-for…after you have completed a mini-lesson on any skill or concept, you teach can also teach summarizing by asking students to write a 140 character or less reflection on the first skill***
For this lesson you will need: Post-it notes
- Give students THIS handout on summary from the Owl at Purdue. It is a great handout because it mentions the differences between summary, paraphrase, and quotations.
- Explain that Twitter is a social networking and micro-blogging site that lets informal communication happen in small snippets…it is like e-mail, but you have followers that you can keep up-to-date with “tweets” of 140 or less characters.
- Show many successful tweets such as THESE. All of the tweets summarize a big event such as a marriage proposal.
- Ask students to summarize a reading selection, a character’s motivation, the proper use of a grammatical colon, or any other skill they have been taught.
- The students first write down all of the important or main points of a lesson, and then condense these points into 140 characters (including punctuation and spaces). I allow my students to use “text talk” and abbreviate as I am just concerned that they can summarize at this point, not about spelling. The summary is written onto a Post-it note.
- The students slap the Post-it tweet on the door on their way out (kinesthetic learning;-) and I collect them after each class.
This is always a popular way to ask for reflections on learning and it’s a great reminder of summarization. Plus, it gives me a legitimate reason to address my students as twits:) Happy teaching!