High Five #5 - VIPs Sum It Up

High Five #5 - VIPs Sum It Up
Literacy Tips
Tips for middle school educators on
various topics such as grammar,
writing, reading, spelling, vocabulary,
cooperative learning and more.
Contact: Amy Goodman
Middle School Literacy Support
907-267-0221
[email protected]
www.asdk12.org/MiddleLink/LA/
Tip #74: VIPs and Sum It Up! (High Five Strategy #5)
I can't believe we are nearing the end of the
Middle School High Five. Thank you so
much for giving your students a lot of practice
using Read Around the Text, KIM, twocolumn notes, and reciprocal teaching.
During these last two weeks before spring
break, we will be focusing on the after reading
strategy called Sum It Up. We will use VIPs
as a vehicle to get to this final step.
Background Information
Summarizing is a comprehension skill we
taught students during reciprocal teaching,
and they will rely on this skill once again as we
ask them to write effective summaries from
what they have read. You have probably
already observed firsthand how hard it is for
some students to pull out the main idea of a
paragraph, and students must have a good
understanding of these main ideas in order to
write a logical summary. So what can we do
to help them with this?
VIPs in Action
VIPs (Very Important Points) is a tactile way
to go about pulling out main ideas. Model
VIPs using the overhead projector with a
piece of text that you personally find
somewhat challenging. Make your thinkaloud as authentic as possible so students
really see what you do as you try to
comprehend. Take a large-sized sticky note
and fringe it into 6 separate pieces. Read
Anchorage School District
aloud the first paragraph of your
demonstration passage thinking out loud
about what you are reading. When you feel
you have discovered a main idea, use a sticky
note strip and place it by the main idea in the
text. Keep reading and try to find more main
ideas. Because the sticky note is moveable,
take time to demonstrate changing your mind.
This is so much easier than students
permanently highlighting text.
Point out that proficient readers track down
the important information and evaluate its
importance. When you are done
"highlighting" six main ideas, take a moment
to record a few words onto each sticky note
strip. Then challenge the class to help you
narrow it down to only three main ideas.
Which three sticky note strips do they think
you should remove and why? Again this
exercise forces students to evaluate the
importance of the information they are
reading. Gradually release the responsibility
to students and have them try VIPs as small
groups and finally as independent practice.
Source: Make It Real by Linda Hoyt (2002)
Prewriting
Now that students have a tool to help them
pinpoint main ideas, they are ready to
organize and write an effective summary.
What do most of our students do when they
write a summary? They begin this way:
Literacy Tips
;
This article/book was about...
(Turn this phrase into an oversized
circle with a red slash through it indicating not
to do this.)
We can strengthen their writing by
providing them a formula for their
topic sentence. Getting started is always a
challenge for writers; a formula leads students
straight into success. Distribute the A + B +
C blackline master. Discuss the A section.
Go over the various ways to identify what has
been read and talk about the reason why
including a complete title and author is good
practice.
A
To help students avoid depending on
the verb "to be," show them how to
select verbs from the word bank of strong
verbs. Asterisks are used to identify the verbs
commonly used. From past experience, I can
forewarn you that students will enjoy playing
with language and choose verbs they really
don't understand completely. They want to
sound sophisticated and mature in their
writing and do so by picking out the "big
words." Help them understand the shades of
meaning associated with some of the more
difficult verbs such as entices, illustrates, and
proposes.
B
Part C of the formula takes a bit more
thought on the part of the students.
They need to think of the overall big idea and
attach it to the end of their topic sentence.
Students should reflect back on the three
pieces of sticky note fringe to help them come
up with this big idea. An example of a
completed topic sentence might look
something like this:
C
The Middle School High Five by Amy
Goodman provides teachers with
strategies to improve comprehension.
Anchorage School District
Sum It Up!
Now that students have a topic sentence,
juices should be flowing. Have them revisit
the sticky note fringe pieces that they selected
as main ideas of the passage. Encourage them
to order them in various ways on their desks
by actually moving them around. Have them
decide on an order that sounds good when
read aloud. As you circulate, ask students why
they decided on a particular order - order of
importance, chronological order,
comparison/contrast, etc. Then students
should begin adding on to their topic sentence
using a paragraph format. After stating each
main point, students should add on an explain
sentence for elaboration. When students
come to the end of the summary, they should
avoid using any kind of closing sentence. Too
often closing sentences lead to opinions, and
summary writing should be based on facts
only. For example, I would not want to end
my summary paragraph of the Middle School
High Five by saying:
Truly, the Middle School High Five changed my
students reading behaviors 100% and should be
used across the United States.
Source: Step Up to Writing by Maureen Auman
(2002)
Thanks so much for participating in the 2005
Middle School High Five. Should we do this
again in 2006 with five new strategies? A staff
survey of the High Five will soon be posted
on MLP, and I hope that you will find a few
minutes to complete it.
WRITING EFFECTIVE SUMMARIES
A. Identify!
B. Select a Verb!
You can identify what you are summarizing in
a variety of ways. The following are okay,
better, and best ways to identify what it is you
are summarizing.
OK:
The book
The film
The article
BETTER: Painless Public Speaking
Forrest Gump
“Going Under the Light”
BEST:
Painless Public Speaking by
Sharon Bower
The movie, Forrest Gump
“Going Under the Light” from
Newsweek, October 2, 1995
acknowledges
adds
advises
answers
asks
asserts
assures
blames
captures
clarifies
classifies
compares*
confirms
confronts
confuses
contrasts
considers
critiques
demonstrates
defends
defines*
denounces
depicts
describes*
discourages
encourages
endorses
entertains
entices
evaluates
explains*
explores
expresses
features
furnishes
gives
identifies
illustrates
invites
judges
lists*
misjudges
names
offends
praises
predicts
presents*
proposes
provides
recommends
shows*
simplifies
solves
suggests
supports
teaches
tells*
traces
C. Finish Your Thought!
The final part of the topic sentence is easy if
you just ask yourself:
•What is the big idea?
•What is the big concept?
•What is the main idea of the item that I am
summarizing?
Keep in mind that this is just your topic sentence and that you will be adding all of the
facts in the body of your summary paragraph.
Step Up to Writing by Maureen Auman
http://www.sopriswest.com
*Verbs commonly chosen.
A + B + C = TOPIC SENTENCE
Painless Public Speaking by Sharon Bower provides a number of practical hints for people who are afraid
of speaking in front of a group.
BODY: Create a fact outline. Then add those facts to your paragraph in sentence form.
HELPFUL HINTS: Use transitions only if they help. Summaries do not need a formal conclusion. If you force a conclusion, it might sound
awkward. Also formal conclusions include opinions - you do not want an opinion in a summary.
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