Mad Scientist Jeffers!

Class began the normal way today. The welcome activity asked students to identify the four main parts of speech in the sentence below.

On the towering cliff, the sharp rocks cruelly cut into my feet.

After reading, the students discussed this sentence, and we went over the answer as a class. I asked for quick feedback from the students on how they are feeling about this, and most hands were between a three and a four, so we will probably review once or twice more before having a checkpoint over this material.

While today isn’t normally a CNN10 day for Notebook Thinking, a few things changed this for today. First of all, we have MAP testing on Thursday, so students wouldn’t have an opportunity to watch then, and also, today marks 16 years since the attack on the World Trade Centers, and CNN10 always does something to commemorate that historic moment. If you’d like to watch today’s episode, you can by clicking here.

After writing time, students met Mad Scientist Jeffers! This was part of an activity where students discovered the seven basic components or rules for writing a strong summary.

Summary Apocalypse – handout

By looking at a variety of clues – short articles, good summaries, and bad summaries – students were tasked with figuring out those seven things or face the end of humanity as we know it! The seven things we are looking for in a good summary are as follows:

  1. The title and author are stated in the beginning
  2. The central idea of the article is stated in the beginning
  3. Includes main ideas
  4. Excludes supporting details
  5. Rewritten in a student’s own words (no quotes!)
  6. Objective (no opinion)
  7. Logically organized

After students had their hand at saving the world, I asked students there questions: How many of you have ever wondered why summary is important? How many of you have every thought that this will not matter in your life at all? Most of the hands in the class went up (as I expected); however, being able to summarize well is important for every single career path out there, so I showed students this website where professionals from a bunch of different careers have recorded videos explaining why summarization is important in their jobs. We watched one of the videos, and the students will have time to explore more tomorrow.


  1. Read for 25 minutes.
  2. YOUR LETTERS ARE DUE TOMORROW. If you can, please print at home.