Summarizing Literary Texts (with a Freebie!)

We've been up to our ears these past few weeks with traditional literature (and LOVING it!), and this week we have been working on summarizing and writing a summary of literary texts. I'm a huge fan of my anchor chart:
I think the triangle is what I like most. I love how my students can visually see the differences in size and sentences when telling the topic, main idea, summary, and retelling the story.

I'm sure most of you have seen the "Somebody, Wanted, But, So, Then" organizer for summarizing. I also included "Finally," which I can't claim as an original thought. I'm pretty sure I saw it on Pinterest last year. What I like about including "Finally" is that it gives you the option to add a final detail to wrap it all up. I snapped the above pic before I was done making the anchor chart. I added parentheses around the word "Finally" to show that it's an option, but you don't always need it.

Example: we practiced summarizing with Stone Soup and Town House Country Mouse. With Stone Soup, we needed the "Finally," but with Town Mouse Country Mouse, we didn't.

Here's the graphic organizer I used:
Click the pic to get a copy :)
What I like most about it is the lines at the bottom to write the summary. The first day, we read Stone Soup, filled in the "Somebody, Wanted, But, So, Then, (Finally)" together and orally "wrote" our summary. The second day, I read Town Mouse, Country Mouse to the bunnies and they filled in the top portion with a partner. I was going to have them write the summary with their partner, but they gave me that "Whaaaaaa?????" look, so we wrote it together and the bunnies copied it down.  At first I was a little discouraged that my students couldn't take the info in the graphic organizer and write a 2-3 sentence summary, but then I realized we've never done this before, and I need to give them a break! I like that we wrote it together, so my students could see what a quality summary looks like. (Sorry I didn't snap a pic, and I'm too brain fried this Friday to try to remember what it was!)

My plan for next week is to do the same thing we did today (I read aloud, students fill out the Somebody, Wanted, But, So, Then, (Finally), and we write the summary together). Then on Tuesday I'll read again and the bunnies will complete the whole page with a partner. I have the book Snow Queen (the inspiration for the movie Frozen, which happens to be Traditional Lit!) on order at the public library, so hopefully it will be in by Tuesday! Then I will use this graphic organizer as homework for my guided reading groups.

These kiddos will be summarizing SUPER STARS by the end of the year, I'm sure of it!!


Organizing my Making Words Supplies

I'm going to be honest. Organization is NOT the name of my game... I will NOT be sharing pictures of my pristine teacher work space. Mostly because it doesn't exist. However, I do know where everything is, even though it looks like a tornado whipped across my classroom.

One of my tier 2 interventions is an extra Making Words session for six of my bunnies. Yes, SIX! I was using my magnet letters, but six bunnies diving into one box to get their letters was not a pretty sight. It was frustrating to see how long it was taking them to get their letters (totally not their fault). The last straw was when we ran out of letters. We made a "w" with two "v"s, an "h" with an "l" and "n." The bunnies were so sweet and flexible when they had to use the make-shift letters, but I couldn't let this keep happening.

I went to Walmart and bought seven coupon organizers for $1.97 each.
I did find some at the Dollar Store and some super cute ones in the Dollar Spot at Target, but they only had six pockets, and I wanted more pockets. These non-cute Walmart ones had 12 pockets.

I had parent helpers do all the rest. First they copied seven sets of 1-inch by 1-inch letters onto blue and red construction paper. I did two of each consonant (except there are three r's, s's, and t's) and three of each vowel. The letters were laminated and cut out. Then they labeled the organizers and sorted the letters.

Each letter has a number on the back so that if it gets separated from its home, we know which organizer to put it belongs to.

And here's the finished product!

We had a little chat about NOT turning the organizers upside down so all the letters fall out. I would estimate that getting out supplies took half the time. And they were SUPER excited about it! This set up took up so much less space than the magnets and the magnet boards. I'm so happy with how this turned out! 

Now where to store the letters when we're not using them? Luckily for me, I have an extra (or twelve) baskets that holds them perfectly!

I only have 5-7 minutes a day for my Making Words intervention, and I know this new organizational system will make this time go so much smoother!

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