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 Summarizing Strategies
Exit Slips
Using this strategy, students will synthesize learned information, skills, and processes by
writing an Exit Slip. An Exit Slip can be a One Sentence Summary of what students learned
or can be used in a variety of other ways. Other uses are: to answer the essential question,
answer a review question, to pose a question related to the topic studied, to make a short list
of facts learned, to set a learning goal for the next day, etc.
Examples & Stems:
   1.    Have the students answer the essential question.
   2.    Be ready to give me at least one reason why…
   3.    Read these three sentences and decide which form of (there, their, they’re) belongs in each.
   4.    Be able to answer this question and defend your answer.
   5.    Be able to give me three reasons why…
   6.    Read this problem and as your exit ticket, be prepared to tell me what you need to do first.
   7.    Write/Ask one question about today’s content-something that has left you puzzled.

Shaping Up Reflection
Using the Shaping Up Review, students will synthesize major concepts from the lesson using
four different shapes. By varying the manner in which students visually summarize their
learning, retention of the information learned is increased.
Heart- 1 thing I love…
Square- 4 strategies that would have really worked…
Triangle- 3 things that I learned…
Circle- One thing that is going around in your head…
Four-Two-One (Variation of 3-2-1)
To engage students in reflecting, evaluating, and integrating their own learning into prior
knowledge. Four-Two-One uses learning partners or small teams to foster in-depth
reflection and integration of significant information. (See 4-2-1 in packet)
4…sentences using the word in context
2…synonyms for this word
1…sketch/picture you can use to remember its’ meaning

Group Brainstorm:
   1. All students write, but use group to generate the ideas.
   2. Announce what goes into each of the categories (3 ____, 2 ____, 1____)
   3. Groups brainstorm-in any order- the responses for each category.
   4. Collect papers or have students read aloud.
   1.    One pen and one paper per group.

   Summarizing Strategies
   2.    Announce what goes into each of the categories (3 ____, 2 ____, 1____)
   3.    Student with paper fills in one of the slots-as she/he says idea out loud-then passes paper clockwise.
   4.    Next team member says his/her idea and fills another slot and passes again.
   5.    Continue until all 7 slots are filled with appropriate responses.
   6.    Group reviews their ideas and edits/revises if necessary before submitting to teacher.

Final Countdown
This activity emphasizes the important role that reflection plays in the learning process.
Final Countdown provides learners with a framework for reflection, evaluation, and
integration of new knowledge into previously learned material. (See 4-2-1 for ideas.)
Challenge Envelopes (Another version of “The Envelope, Please”)
To facilitate review and/or higher level processing of a topic or concept. This activity is
designed to provide students with opportunities to formulate challenging questions regarding
a topic or concept and to be challenged by the questions of others. Students create
questions to place in the envelopes. Envelopes are then passed out to students to answer.
Vanity Plates
In this activity, students will take on the role of the topic to be studied for the purpose of
creating a vanity plate (car tag). While in this role, students will need to think creatively
about their topic in order to share their vanity plate.
Synectics (Metaphorical Expression)
Synectics promotes fluid and creative thinking by "making what is familiar strange," or
comparing two things that would not ordinarily be compared. Synectics, a term coined by
industrial psychologists Williams Gordan and George Prince, was originally used as a problem-
solving strategy. The term is formed from two Greek roots: syn, bringing together, and
ectics, diverse elements. Literally translated, the word means “bringing together diverse
The teacher selects-or elicits from students-the name of a familiar “everyday” object (Ex:
grapefruit). Then the teacher poses the question, “What are all the ways a _________ (the
concept or topic studied in class) is like a grapefruit?”
Atoms are like a grapefruit because…
          Both have an outer layer: grapefruit has skin; atoms have electrons orbiting.
          Grapefruits have pulp and juice in the center; neutrons and protons make up the center-or nucleus-
           of the atom.
          Both combine with other things to become part of something different: grapefruits with other
           fruits in a fruit salad; atoms with other atoms to form molecules and compounds.

   1. Use as a warm-up the next day or as closure to the lesson
   2. Visual-prepare a set of picture cards of everyday objects. Have students brainstorm
      how the topic they have studied is like the picture on the card.

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   3. Four Box Synectics- (see graphic organizer in packet)
     Draw a 4 square box on the board
     Ask students to name common everyday or familiar objects
     Write the name of a different object in each of the 4 boxes. Include at least one
      object that has moving parts-automobile, bicycle, etc.-as this type of object tends to
      be very multi-dimensional
     Write the topic studied in the center
     Have students brainstorm (small groups or as a whole class) many ways in which the
      topic studied is like each of the 4 objects.
   4. Final Summary Paragraphs-have students write final paragraphs about the topic and
      while comparing it to the everyday object.
Learning Logs
Learning log summaries enable students to articulate their understanding, identify points of
confusion, evaluate their performance, and become aware of their own learning style
strengths and weaknesses. Learning logs serve as a source of data regarding what students
are understanding or misunderstanding.
Students might be asked to-
   1.    Respond to several questions
   2.    “Free-write” about one or several key words related to the topic of the day
   3.    Focus on how they perform a particular operation (problem solving)
   4.    Explore their feelings about their learning
   5. Write dialogue about a crucial point in the day’s lesson
ABC Review (See ABC Graffiti)
Grouped in partners or in teams, students will draw letter tiles and use the tile as the
beginning letter of a topic, concept, word, or phrase from the unit or lesson being reviewed.
One Word Summary
In a one word summary, students search for one key word to represent or summarize a
concept or topic studied in class. The word can be an actual word or an invented word-one
that serves a mnemonic device to capture the ideas that are important to remember.

Once the student has identified or created the essential word, she/he writes two or three
sentences to explain the word choice.
Write one word that summarizes:
Mammals: nurses because the thing that distinguishes mammals from all other animal forms is that they
                nurse their young.

Integers: holy-o An integer is any positive or negative whole number or zero.

The Battle of Gettysburg: Abeliterate       Abe Lincoln gave his famous address there in memory of all the lives
                                           that were obliterated-more than in any other battle of the Civil War.

   Summarizing Strategies
Other ideas:
As an alternative to words, have students create a symbol or logo.
Important-Emphasize the importance of taking time to find or create a fitting word that will
help students to remember important information about the topic one month from now.
The Last/First Word (see sheet)
The topic to be summarized becomes an acronym. Students brainstorm all the things they can
remember about the topic and then elaborate on those ideas to create phrases that start
with each of the letters of the topic.
M Most frequently occurring number in the set of data
O Often there is more that one in large sets of numbers
D Data doesn’t always have a mode
E Easy to determine; simply count how often the numbers recur
Luck of the Draw
Luck of the Draw is designed to insure that each class period will begins/ends with a three to
five minute summary of what happened (and what was important from) the day’s lesson. All
student names are placed on cards and placed in a container. On the first day of instituting
the routine, the teacher does the summary at the end/beginning of class. She/he then
reaches into the container and pulls out a name and announces which student has won “
the luck of the draw.” This student will begin/end the class with a summary of the lesson.
The next day, this student will select the next person.
What did we learn about today?
The most important things we learned and should remember are…

Cheat Notes or Cue Cards (A CRISS strategy)
Cheat notes or Cue Cards is intended as a way to give students practice in determining what
information is important to study and remember for tests. Students individually create their
own set of Cheat Notes-a full page of notes about things they believe will be on the test that
they will have a hard time remembering. Students are allowed to use the Cheat Notes on the
test. For the second test, notes have to shrink to a 4x6 index card. The next time, it is a
3x5 card. Eventually, students have to take the test with no notes.

Cheat notes are turned in with the exam. While grading the exams, the teacher studies what
the students have included on their notes. This is a great way to improve note taking and
study skills.

   Summarizing Strategies
The Important Thing
Use “The Important Thing” when you want students to review factual content and
discriminate between main idea and details.
How to use:
After teaching a topic or reading a passage. Provide students with the basic format. You can
shape the directions to fit the focus of your lesson. An example of variation is to change
from the main ideas verses the moral learned in the story.
How to evaluate:
Did the students target details and then locate the main idea as the Important Thing or did
the student just list another detail as the important thing. This will provide insight into the
students understanding. You can also ask students to share out. This discussion can
springboard into fact and opinion.
                                         The Important Thing…
                            The important thing about ____________ is ________________.

                                                   Another detail
                                                   Another detail
                                                   Another detail

                       But the important thing about ____________ is ________________.

Framed Paragraph
Framed paragraphs are pre-writing tools that help students write well-developed paragraphs.
They are skeleton formats containing information about the main ideas and transition words
that guide the organization and the development of supportive details. This strategy is
effective for helping students with essay tests.
                              Structure of Framed Paragraph
   1. The topic sentence is a general statement or opinion.
   2. Use from three to five examples to develop the topic or opinion.
   3. Use transitions when needed.
   4. Include a summary sentence at the end if you wish.
   5. Incorporate a variety of sentences; long and short, simple and complex.
Assessment Use:
While the purpose of this strategy is to help students write well-developed paragraphs, it is
a very effective strategy for assessing what students know. Having students complete a
framed paragraph that reviews the main concept(s) of the lesson is an easy way to see what
students understood while identifying misconceptions.

   Summarizing Strategies
One Pager
A one-pager should include:
   1. A visual image, symbol, and representation of an idea/concept that is especially
      important to you from the reading-use color to further your symbolic meanings.
      Markers, crayons, colored pencils are all good choices, and you may find photographs,
      magazine clippings, or other sources that will increase the visual impact of your work.
   2. At least TWO direct quotes from the text, selected for whatever purpose you like.
      They may show important ideas, or ideas you question, or issues that have an especially
      clear relationship. Be sure to use quotation marks and indicate from where you took
      the quote.
   3. At least one question. Determine what question must be answered for an
      understanding of the reading materials main idea OR what questions you still have
      regarding the reading.
   4. At least two statements from you. These can paraphrase ideas from the reading, or
      they can connect/link parts of the reading to other sources you know, or they might
      tell about your own experience as it connects to these ideas.

4 Squares:
Have students fold a sheet of paper into 4 quadrants and number them as shown.

                       1         2

                       3         4

As you are teaching the lesson, stop periodically and have them respond to a prompt or
question. The responses are recorded in one of the squares. I usually have students respond
at natural “breaking” points in the lesson.

Collect these at the end of the lesson to get a picture of students’ understandings
throughout the lesson.

   Summarizing Strategies