Friday, July 27, 2012

A look at some summarizing techniques I've used

About a month or so ago on twitter, we were discussing summarizing techniques and I mentioned a few different ones that I have used and that students have enjoyed doing.  @Druinok said she would love to hear more about them and suggested I write a blog post about them.  So after much procrastinating and some summer vacation time, I'm finally getting around to it!

I've used a variety of summarizing techniques in the past, both written and verbal which have allowed my classes to interact with one another as well as share something that they learned or a question that they still have.  A number of these I've borrowed and adapted from Rick Wormelli who has a ton of great ideas, including many summarizing techniques.

The first summarizing technique I've used isn't really creative or anything but with my grade having gone 1 to 1 last year is something that has worked well (and something I've blogged about in the past).  I've found that kids like using Wallwisher to post a quick comment or question about a particular lesson.  I had tried this in years past but it didn't seem to be worth the time it took to log into computers, etc.  With students each having their own computers and not needing to log in, etc it has become much easier and works well.

Another technique I've used is called "Share One, Get One."  In this activity, students fold a blank sheet of paper into thirds one way and then thirds the other way (thus making a 3 x 3 grid or 9 boxes.)  Then after doing a class reading, after a class discussion, video, or activity, each student fills out the top three boxes with something that they have learned, questions they still have, or something they wonder about.  Once everyone has done that, students get up and moving around the room talking with one another.  They share one idea from their sheet with another student and have that student share one with them in one of the remaining six empty spots. (Hence the name share one, get one)  I've found that kids love this for a number of reasons.  First, they are up and about moving around.  Second, they get a chance to interact with a variety of their classmates.  I like it because kids get a chance to experience a variety of opinions and ideas from the lesson.

Another technique I use is called "Summary Ball."  In this activity, students all stand up and think about something they learned or a question they have from the day's lesson.  I get out a soft, even Nerf like ball and give it to one student to start.  That student needs to make a statement about something they learned or about something they still are wondering about and then throws the ball to another student and sits down.  The student who receives the ball needs to make a statement or asks a question and then passes the ball along.  This continues until everyone has had a chance to say something.  If someone can't think of something, they can pass and then someone will come back to them later.  Kids like this because they are active and get a chance to throw the ball around.  I like it because all the kids are in involved and it gives everyone a chance to say something.

                                           photo courtesy mag3737

A last technique I use is called "Snowball Fight."  In this activity, students write something they learned or a question they still have on a piece of scrap paper.  They then crumble the paper up and once everyone is ready start tossing the paper at each other.  We do this for a minute or two and then students need to pick up one of the pieces of papers and we go around and read them.  It should be pretty obvious why kids love this and I like it because it involves everyone (plus I get involved and get to throw paper at the kids!)

                                             photo courtesy photosteve101

These are just a few of the many techniques that I use over the course of the year.  I've found that kids enjoy these quite a bit, even asking to do these at the end of classes.

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