I open by asking students how many of them would like to pick crops in the fields when they get older? (I get a few who raise their hands here) I then follow this up with the question "What if you only got paid $4.00 per hour and your friend who is selling the crops you pick at the fruit stand is getting paid $8.00 per hour - would you still want the job? Would this be fair of your employer?
I introduce the lesson objective by explaining to students that today they are going to read about Cesar Chavez, a migrant farm worker, who also agreed that this was not a fair way to treat workers who picked grapes and other crops in the fields. You will get the opportunity to read a short biography on his life and then identify the main ideas and supporting details that summarize what he did to help these workers get paid higher wages. I project the Cesar Chavez picture on the board and explain that he believed in nonviolent protest which means that he wanted working conditions to improve for the farm workers but he did not want to have anyone hurt by his protests.
I ask what do you think he did to convince business owners to treat their workers better?
I have students pass out copies of the Cesar Chavez Biography and then introduce the Cesar Chavez summary notes - student worksheet to students and model using the first paragraph to identify the main idea in red and the supporting details in blue. We discuss what the main idea, or most important idea is, and what other details in the passage support the main idea with additional information. Students got a little over anxious with this lesson and gave me all the details in the paragraph so we had to review what necessary and unnecessary information is.
Due to this misunderstanding of the identification of the details, I reviewed another paragraph with them and ask what other ways can we take notes on a text we read. I have students share an earlier strategy for using Post-it notes identified with main idea and details that he uses. Another student shares that she prefers to write out her notes on paper instead. I share that each student can use the note taking strategy that fits their learning style and that they will be assessed at the end of the lesson on how effective their notes were to their writing of their final summaries.
I have students then partner with their peer and complete the rest of the biography with notes.
When groups are done they return to their desks and respond to the questions at the end of their summary. This gives them an opportunity to assimilate the information they just read and to make a stronger personal connection with it.
In that my objective was for students to identify the main ideas and details, I have all students take out their red pens and adjust their responses to make sure they have the details from the Cesar Chavez summary note sheet. (I want students to feel successful with their note taking because its such an important part of their ability to write effective summaries and respond to text. I also want them to learn how to write shorter, more to-the-point notes rather than longer sentences that give too much copied information).
I tell students that they will now get the opportunity to rewrite their notes into a short summary of the article. I share that a good summary interests the readers with a great opener and then shares all the important details from the text you read with the readers. A good summary keeps this interest by using word choices that flow from one idea to the next in a sequential order. I share that these are called transitional words - or words that connect ideas and paragraphs. I have students take out their transitional words for paragraphs worksheet.
I project a Narrative Informational Opener from a previous students writing. I ask students what is effective about this example. I then have students share other ideas.
Now they are ready to begin their writing - I'm using this to evaluate their ability to write effective summaries so I share that this is a post assessment score for them.
The writing of their summaries is a quicker process because they already reviewed and wrote their notes and are so familiar with the text. Yeah! I love it when they can apply their learning in effective ways.
Not much time left for review, but we do have a short moment to share their responses to the questions at the end of their summary worksheet.
I close by asking "How does summary notes help us become better writers?" I take responses and am happy that they get it that the rereading and note taking helps them to better understand the article and to remember the details to write about it.
I am looking for the effectiveness of their note taking strategies when I collect their papers.
Here is a video of some strategies students use to remember the main ideas and details in the article.