We are SO close to being done with our nonfiction unit, and I'm looking forward to jumping back in to novel studies. My students are slowly growing to love (okay, maybe like is still a better word) informational text, and that was truly one of my main goals in all of this.
Last week, we did a brief review of the difference between summarizing, paraphrasing, and quoting texts. I should have done this a long time ago! I often see it taught in the context of research, but when I started seeing summaries that used direct quotes or lines from the text, I knew it was time. It's also a huge skill for 5th graders to be able to paraphrase well, so I decided it was worth taking the time to do. Oh, and the fact that standardized testing is coming in less than month was excellent incentive as well.
First, I used an idea that I got from Teaching in Room 6 about summarizing nonfiction texts with comic strips. I LOVED this idea, and you should really read her original post. She does a great job of explaining it, and her kids actually used the Comic Creator software to make really neat and authentic-looking comics!
I began by having my students select a book from our library focusing on an event in history. They had to really focus in on one event that only spanned the course of about a day. So, if they chose a major war, they had to pick one battle.
Then, they wrote summaries of their events. Next, I had them transfer their summaries into comics. They had to use text and dialogue to tell the story and include all of the information their summary had (without just rewriting, of course).