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Oak Lawn School Library: Paraphrasing and Summarizing

Essential Question

How can I put other people's ideas and stories into my own words?

Lesson 1 - In Other Words ...

  • Review: Remind the students that we've been discussing plagiarism. Ask for a definition/example. Then ask for suggestions of how to avoid copying. Tell them that today, we'll practice paraphrasing, or putting things into our own words. 
     
  • Activity: Go through the PPT below, emphasizing that a good vocabulary will help students more easily come up with different ways to state ideas. 
     
  • Assessment: After going through the PPT as a class, students must paraphrase a sentence given to them. When they hand it in, they get their library card. They may also choose to complete one of the extra-credit options below.

    4 = 3-level work plus extra credit

    3 = sentence flows nicely, does not reuse any of the phrasing from original

    2 = most words have been replaced, but there may be some from original and/or tortured syntax

    1 = entire phrases remain or new sentence does not reflect original sentiment correctly

     
  • Follow-up: Email the students links to two sites that can help them increase their vocabulary: freerice.com, which will donate to the World Food Programme for each correct answer; and vocabulary.com, where you can create an account and play on behalf of Oak Lawn in a national contest.

Infographic

Lesson 2 - Summarizing Plots 1

  • Introduction: Ask the students to explain the difference between retelling (paraphrasing) and summarizing (retelling is longer and includes more details, etc.).
     
  • Group discussion: They should all have covered Cinderella in second grade; ask for volunteers to retell the story as you type their version onscreen (I posted it to the blog). 

    Let them know that many different versions exist of fairy tales; for example, the original Cinderella had the stepsisters cutting off parts of their feet to fit in the shoes, and after the wedding, birds pecked their eyes out. (If you have Adam Gidwitz’ A Tale Dark and Grimm, make sure to booktalk it!)


    Then introduce the Somebody / Wanted / But / So / Then framework for summarizing a plot. Walk through some of the potential “somebodies” – Cinderella, her stepmother, the prince – and how the “wants” change. You can also type these summaries up. Point out that they are much shorter than the retelling - but just as valid.

    Discuss why summarizing is an important skill to have when doing research (presents the main idea without extraneous details, helps avoid plagiarism, etc.).

    Bring up some Netflix summaries of movies based on books (e.g., Matilda, Because of Winn-Dixie) and show how this kind of super-summarizing is actually somebody’s job! Explain that next week, you are going to read a story that they will summarize as an assignment.

          


  • Assessment: Students who contributed to the discussion receive participation points.

Lesson 3 - Summarizing Plots 2

  • Review: Ask the students to explain the difference between retelling and summarizing.  Then ask them to give the words that SWBST stand for and write them on chart paper.
     
  • Readaloud: Read Rumpelstiltskin by Paul O. Zelinsky to the students. Before having the students start their summaries, review the list of potential “somebodies” – the girl, the king, Rumpelstiltskin.
     
  • Individual work: Using the template below, students summarize the story.
     

  • Assessment:

    plus = exceptionally well-written summary

    check = all elements within framework included and make sense

    minus = summary element missing or nonsensical​


  • Extra Credit: Check with classroom teachers to see what whole-class novels they’ve covered. Have an additional summarizing paper available with those titles for the kids to choose from. 
     
  • Follow-up: Later in the year, I do a lesson on primary v. secondary sources and read Jon Sciezka’s The True Story of the Three Little Pigs to the students to demonstrate the “three sides to every story" adage.

 

Standards Addressed

AASL:  1.1.6 - Read, view, and listen for information presented in any format in order to make inferences and gather meaning; 2.1.2 Organize knowledge so that it is useful; 3.1.3 - Use writing and speaking skills to communicate new understandings effectively; ​4.1.3 - Respond to literature and creative expressions of ideas in various formats and genres

Common Core: SL.5.2 - Summarize a written text read aloud; RL.5.2 Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text; RL.5.6Describe how a narrator’s or speaker’s point of view influences how events are described.