Island of the Blue Dolphins: Summarizing Important Information Only!

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SWBAT summarize a chapter of the novel, "Island of the Blue Dolphins" by including only necessary information.

Big Idea

Keep your summaries concise!

Cue Set

15 minutes

During the Cue Set, scholars watch a video of the Channel Islands.  The Channel Islands are the setting of the novel Island of the Blue Dolphins. Watching the video helps to build some prior knowledge for scholars regarding the setting of Island of the Blue Dolphins and it helps them to practice a reading skill.  

As scholars watch the video, they summarize what they see.  We studied summarizing at the beginning of the year and practiced summarizing extensively with non-fiction.  Therefore, this is the part of the lesson in which scholars access their prior knowledge.  I remind scholars that when we summarize we only include the most important information (information that without which scholars would not understand what the producer most wants to communicate).  

Scholars watch the video one time through and jot down their summaries.  Then, they re-watch and ask themselves the question: Did I include important information ONLY?  Scholars then have 1 minute to edit their summaries.  Here is an example of a scholar's quick summary.  Scholars have 30 seconds to share their summaries.  

Then, I pull 2 friends from my cup to share their responses and take 3 volunteers.  

Teaching Strategy

15 minutes

During the teaching strategy, we do a quick review of what summarizing is (for fiction) and why summarizing is important.  I pose the two questions to scholars: (1) What does a strong reader do when he/she summarizes and (2) Why does he/she summarize? I ask scholars to popcorn out responses (they jump up and call out the answer instead of waiting on being called upon).  The purpose of this is to quickly review what scholars know about summarizing & why summarizing is important.  Do not spend tons of time here.  

Next, I explain that we've already summarized non-fiction, but now we're going to learn how to summarize fiction.  When scholars summarize fiction, they typically include the following: 

1. Major characters 

2. How major characters respond to challenges

3. Setting 

4. Major events 

I have scholars make a 4 - sided foldable with these 4 components of a strong summary and they paste it into their notebooks so that they have this as a reference.  Here, scholars take notes during the teaching strategy.  Also, here is a sample notebook.  

Finally, we do a cloze reading of pages 1-2 of Island of the Blue Dolphins.  I pause and think-aloud about what information I might include in a summary.  I do a quick check-for-understanding and ask scholars to put their thumbs up/down if they agree with specific details that I mention.  I purposefully select incorrect details just to see if scholars are really catching on.  I model how to ask myself, "Is this information crucial to understanding what takes place? If I didn't know this, would I be able to follow-along in chapter 2?" 

Guided Practice

15 minutes

During the guided practice, scholars read (in homogenous partnerships) the remainder of chapter 1.  If they do not finish, they will have the opportunity to do so during independent practice.  Scholars practice summarizing the main events of chapter 1.  They record this information in their Summarizing Journal.  As homework, scholars will summarize each chapter of Island of the Blue Dolphins as we read.  I've found this really helps to sharpen this skill and provides me with the opportunity to give meaningful feedback throughout the course of the book.  

Here is a video of scholars engaging in Partner Practice.  

Independent Practice

45 minutes

During this time scholars rotate through 2 stations.  I start the time by reviewing our checklist items for the week and explicitly state what should be completed by the end of the day.  This holds scholars accountable to their work thereby making  them more productive.  Then, the ELL teacher and I share the materials that our groups will need to be successful (i.e. a pencil and your book baggies).  Then, I give scholars 20 seconds to get to the place in the room where they will be for the first rotation.  The first scholars who are there with all materials they need receive additions on their paychecks or positive PAWS.

During the rotations for this lesson, my small group objective today is to summarize books (or portions of books) that are on each group's highest instructional level.  Scholars read a portion of the same book (different for each group depending on reading level, but the same text is read in each group).  Then, we discuss how to summarize.  Scholars use their foldables to help them out.  I practice using Island of the Blue Dolphins and the summary journal with the lowest group.  

After the first rotation, I do a rhythmic clap to get everyone's attention.  Scholars place hands on head and eyes on me so I know they are listening.  Then they point to where they go next.  I give them 20 seconds to get there.  Again, scholars who are at the next station in under 20 seconds with everything they need receive a positive PAW or a paycheck addition.  We practice rotations at the beginning of the year so scholars know if they are back at my table, they walk on the right side of the room, if they are with the ELL teacher, they walk on the left side of the room and if they are at their desks, they walk in the middle of the room.  This way we avoid any collisions.    

At the end of our rotation time I give scholars 20 seconds to get back to their desks and take out materials needed for the closing part of our lesson.  Timing transitions helps to make us more productive and communicates the importance of our learning time.