Summarizing is a reading skill that my students struggle with every year and one I spend a huge amount of time teaching. Readers need summarizing because it improves their memory for what was read and improves comprehension and understanding of what is read. When students can grasp the most important part of the text and put it in their own words this helps them understand the importance of what they read. Getting them to narrow down the main idea and support it with the key details is often a challenge.

I'm excited to be part of this September Product Swap and to test out a great product!

THANK YOU Rachel from The Tattooed Teacher, for creating this set of organizers, Sweet Summarizing, that I can use with my students along the road to learning this vital reading strategy!

I love using graphic organizers because they can be used over and over with a variety of text and at a variety of levels. They are perfect for differentiating during reading time. So, now take a peek at how I used this awesome set in my 3rd grade classroom over the last week.

Since I use the CAFE menu in my classroom, I was able to connect this lesson very easily. I first taught the strategy "use main idea and supporting details to determine importance". They need to understand this first before beginning a summary and there are some terms they need to understand, so I whipped up this anchor chart:

Using the gradual release model, I modeled (I DO) was using text we had already read. I went through each term. Then as a whole group (WE DO), we practiced with another piece we had previously read. For the YOU DO part, they used a short piece of text from their Reader's Think Book (see post HERE about how I use these for homework) to practice with a partner. We came back as a group and discussed what they came up with. This took lots of modeling and discussing over several days.

Now it was time to move on to discussing summarizing. I added Rachel's summarizing poster to the anchor chart I created and I gave each student the Summary Tool Kit to use a reference sheet. These will stay in their reader's notebooks all year. As you can see, we'll refer to this for fiction and other nonfiction pieces. This day we were focusing on biography.

As a whole group, we completed this fun foldable created specifically for a biography which is also kept in the notebook.

The next organizer is one of my favorites and the kids were super excited about it, too. The ABC Summary. After much talk and reading about Johnny Appleseed over the last week or so, it was time to put that knowledge to practice.  I love this organizer because it forced the students to think about the most important words they could think of that tell about Johnny Appleseed.
I will later use this organizer for students to collect words about a given topic and then use those words as notes to write a research paper. It will eliminate the problem of plagiarism because they have to use the ABC Summary to report on a specific subject. I just LOVE this one!! I can imagine many uses, again throughout the whole year!

This Learning Frame is the last organizer that I will use my kiddos in this lesson. We haven't finished them yet because, as you know, this strategy takes time and we just weren't able to complete these yet. I will use these as a formative assessment tool. Initially, they will use the frame and later in the year, I  will take the frame away and have them write on their own.

I will use all of these over and over again as the year continues along with the other organizers in this pack!! I can not say enough about it!
Please visit Rachel's blog.
Don't forget to head on over to her TpT store, too!

Be sure to check out these other fabulous products in this share and swap! Unfortunately, I can not get the link to work so you can see the other products! PLEASE head over to the Tattooed Teacher for the link! THANKS!




I'm so sorry I'm a few days late! Busy weekend and then I was under the weather yesterday. I wanted to share some of the fun activities we did last week, so here I am...Friday on Monday!

We celebrated International Peace Day with week of activities. Among these was recess time with sidewalk chalk. We left some peace graffiti on the basketball court at the public park that is adjacent to the school. The kids had a blast (and love sidewalk chalk!) and they did a beautiful job! People in the community won't be able to miss these messages! We had some fun taking pictures, too!

We have 10 classes of special needs students at our school. I think it's SO important for typical students to interact with students in these classes. It teaches them acceptance, patience, kindness, responsibility, leadership, and eliminates bullying. I choose these students as our book buddies and today was our first meeting. A little girl in my class has a brother in one of the classes and she shared his needs. She said, "He's blind, can't talk, and can't walk, but he can hear better than most people. He's my brother." It was so sweet! ♥ My kids were thrilled to work with these special students. We just spent time playing for the first day. Next week my kids will be assigned to specific students and they will actually work with them for 30 minutes once per week in a program called Silver Pals. I'm so proud that my kids will be leaders and role models!

My kids were SUPER excited to receive letters from their new California pen pals. 

A third grade class in Fresno wrote us letters and it was our turn to respond. We brainstormed a list of ideas that might be included in the letter. The students made sure to answer their questions. I was able to slip in a little geography, too with a quick map study. We decided to include a map and mark where they live compared to where they live.

I wanted the kids to have a special place to keep their pen pal letters, so we made these paper bag portfolios. (I purchased these plain paper bags at Sam's Club a few years back...200 for $20. It was a great deal and, if they still carry them, perfect to split with a colleague. I'm sure your local grocery store would give you a class set, but they usually have writing on them.)

To make the portfolios, cut off three sides of the bag about halfway down. Leave an entire large panel on the bag. Fold that panel into the triangle to create an envelope look.

I used Velcro to close the flap and the students decorated the outside. These make cute writing portfolios, too!!

We enjoyed the book Enemy Pie (Reading Rainbow book) on Tumblebooks.

If you are not familiar with Tumblebooks, it's an online animated library. Your school would have to subscribe, but it is well worth it!

After we listened to the story, we talked about friendship and the qualities of a good friend, then created Recipes for Friendship Pie. We brainstormed recipe words like cup, tablespoon, teaspoon, dash, mix, stir, blend. I even showed them real recipes to give them guidance on how to write a recipe. It was a perfect writing activity for celebrating peace and visiting our new book buddies!

If you would like a copy of the Friendship Pie template, please click HERE.

Get some more fantastic Freebies here:

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Hope you enjoyed this glimpse into my week! Check back later this week for my review of a product from Rachel, The Tattooed Teacher.

Hop on over to Owl-ways Be Inspired to read my post about apples and Johnny Appleseed! Happy fall!!

Reader's workshop is running very smoothly so far this year, and I couldn't be happier. My students are feeling independent and they are being so responsible with their work. We have worked through and have mastered Read to Self and Work on Writing and they just love it! One little girl said, "Reading is my favorite time of the day!" My heart was so happy!

I am thrilled with how my reader's notebook forms are looking, too. I finally got around to updating and revising the ones I had been using. Based on the work in Guiding Readers and Writers (Grades 3-6): Teaching, Comprehension, Genre, and Content Literacy, I was able to create notebook forms that I think are valuable and useful and will allow my students to become thinkers in reading.

Here is my Reader's Notebook: The Essential Forms set showing some of the forms I created:

The notebooks are divided into 5 sections: Reading Resources (handouts or reference sheets they will use all year), Reading History, Reading Skills/Strategy work, Word Work, and Reading Partnerships.

I had students complete a Beginning of the Year Reading Inventory first. This form doubles as the End of Year Inventory. Students will be able to see how they changed over the year.

I love what this student wrote on his Inventory. 

During Read to Self time, they work in their notebooks keeping track of books they read, genres they read, creating a personal word wall by tuning into new/interesting words, and responding to literature.
They really do love their notebooks and book boxes! I'm so proud of how well they have picked up the routine. This week we will start conferencing and setting individual reading goals to be displayed on our CAFE board.

My kiddos are lovin' our current read aloud. It's called Fake Mustache: Or, How Jodie O'Rodeo and Her Wonder Horse (and Some Nerdy Kid) Saved the U.S. Presidential Election from a Mad Genius Criminal Mastermind. How's that for a title?? I guarantee your kids will have fun with this one! I'm really enjoying it.

This is one of the books on the Sunshine State Young Readers Award list. Check out the list HERE for more great titles for grades 3-5 and middle school.

Tom Angleberger also wrote these favorites:  The Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppett: An Origami Yoda Book, The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee: An Origami Yoda Book, and Darth Paper Strikes Back: An Origami Yoda Book. My kids love these, too!

What are your kids reading? Any suggestions for read alouds?

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