It’s All in the Details day 3

Class began the usual way. Students wrote down the seven components of a good summary for their WA, but instead of moving into NBT next, we discussed emergency procedures for fire, tornado, and intruder.

Afterwards, students received there Letter assignments back from me. The had the opportunity to look at their scores and read my feedback. If they were happy with their scores, students turned the papers back in to me. If they wanted to revise, students could keep their papers, and their revisions are due ON OR BEFORE THURSDAY OF NEXT WEEK. If a student kept their paper to revise but doesn’t turn something in to me by this time, the assignment will be marked as missing in the gradebook.

After going over this information, students had some time to work with their partners to come up with synonyms and antonyms for their weekly words, and then they spent some time quizzing each other on the vocabulary we have had so far.

Next, students worked on the summary work they started earlier this week. Students looked at the feedback I left for them on their central idea work, and they made necessary revisions based on those comments before resubmitting work. After that, they read an article and completed a google form that “tested” their ability to choose the correct main ideas for a summary.

Class ended with CNN10 and NBT.


  1. Read for 25 minutes.

It’s all in the Details

Class today and tomorrow will follow the same format, so this will keep you updated with what is going on through Wednesday.

Finishing our first round of book talks is taking a large chunk out of class over these two days. Please note that usually this isn’t the case because we generally have more time to get everyone in. This first midterm of the year is the exception.

After book talks, students have three tasks to complete over these two days:

  1. Complete the summary from Monday.
  2. Complete the “It’s all in the Details” lesson. The handout for this is below, and you can find the presentation/activities you need in google classroom under STEP 1. Students can complete this with a partner or independently.

It’s All in the Details – Handout for Google Presentation

  1. Once the “It’s all in the Details” practice is complete, go to google classroom and complete the google form there. This should be done independently.

Homework for 9/19:

  1. Read for 25 minutes.

Homework for 9/20:

  1. Read for 25 minutes.
  2. Complete the pink sheet (Step 1) you were working on today in class.

Writing a Knockout Summary

Class began the usual way. For today’s WA, students wrote down the seven components of a good summary (or as many as they could remember), and then we went over them as well as book talks and homework after reading time.

We moved into Notebook Thinking, and the prompt for today is below:


After writing, I introduced students to our new words this week, giving them examples and using them in sentences as the students wrote them into their words section:

Disdain – noun – a feeling that someone or something is bad, worthless, or low

Malleable – adjective – capable of being shaped or formed by pressing, hammering, or another forceful action

Ominous – adjective – Being a sign of trouble, danger, or disaster; threatening

Quell – verb – to cause a feeling to become less intense; calm or settle

This lead us to the main section of class. Students picked up the handout below and an article to go with it. I reminded students that summarization will be super applicable to their lives inside and outside of school; for example, in social studies, students have to complete current event assignments where they have to find and summarize an article.

Writing a KNOCKOUT Summary

Students now know what the seven parts of a good summary are, and they have practice with determining the central idea of a text, so now it is time to put these skills together.

We went over TIP #1, and then students read the article, jotting down ideas they had for the central idea and then talking with a neighbor about it.

I demonstrated how I come up with a central idea by first making a list of topics I kept coming across in a reading and how I can use those topics to create a central idea.


Then we moved on to TIP #2. This is about dividing up the article based on where the topic changes in the article. We went over how this does not include the hook! Your summary should not include a main idea from the attention grabber of a piece of writing.

I showed students how I sectioned up the article. For each section, students worked on identifying a main idea.

After you identify a main idea for each of the sections, it is time to put it all together in a summary. I started mine and gave students the example. I would still have to add my last three sentences – the main ideas from the last three sections.


By following these steps, students can be sure to write a knockout summary every time!

They did not have time to finish in class today, so they will have time for that tomorrow.


  1. Read for 25 minutes.
  2. Central idea work – see google classroom!

Poo, sleep, and CENTRAL IDEA

*Students MAP tested the last two days.

Class began the usual way. Students completed a parts of speech activity for the WA, and we went over that after reading time. Next came NBT, and since its Friday, students had four prompts today:

—Write about a time someone was kind to you.

—Do you get scared easily? Write about an experience (possibly haunted house, scary movie, Halloween, etc.) where you were scared.

—If you could invent anything, what would you invent? What would it be able to do? For how much would you sell it?

—You’re walking home from a friend’s house when you realize you are being followed. What happens next?

Yesterday, students were given the homework to review the seven components of a good summary, and today they were “tested” to see how much they remembered. Most students at least improved their “score” from the day before, but there is still some work to do. Students need to know these seven things, so they should review them over the weekend if they struggled today as we will go over them again on Monday.

After reviewing, we shifted into our main lesson of the day on CENTRAL IDEA. The following article from Upfront magazine was displayed for them, and I read it aloud:

England’s ‘Number 2’ Museum

Great Britain has a new museum dedicated to something that isn’t usually discussed in polite company. The National Poo Museum, which opened in March at the Isle of Wight Zoo, features 20 kinds of stool, taken from elk to lions to human babies from all over the world. It even has fossilized poo, known as coprolites, dating back 140 million years….The purpose of the “poo-seum” is to educate people about poop-related issues, from the role it plays in the digestive system to problems like the lack of sanitation in developing countries…

After reading, I reminded students that a central idea is a statement that captures the main point or points of an informational text, so that means when we come up with the central idea for a piece, we should be able to look back at it and see that EVERYTHING in the article relates back to this idea. A good way to do this and make sure you don’t get too specific is to read something and then put it out of sight. Then, write down in one sentence what the article was generally about. The central idea for the above excerpt is below:

People can learn a lot about poop at the National Poo Museum.

After finding text evidence to back this idea up (which shouldn’t be hard since everything should relate back to it), students visited google classroom where they found their work for today. MAKE SURE TO COMPLETE STEP 1 BEFORE COMPLETING THE ASSIGNMENT ON STEP 2.

Step 1: Use the presentation uploaded to google classroom to complete the pink handout which is attached below.

Components of Summary – Central Idea

Step 2: Once you are done with step 2, complete the assignment on google classroom. This is DUE on or before MONDAY NIGHT.

We ended class with W.O.W.


  1. Read for 60 minutes.
  2. Complete central idea work (step 1, 2) before MONDAY at 11:59 PM.

Why does summarization matter?

Quick update!

  • Class began the usual way with a Welcome Activity reviewing RACER.
  • The prompt for today’s Notebook Thinking is below.


  • During NBT, the people who volunteered to give Book Talks planned and/or practiced their presentation.
  • Book talks!
  • Students turned in their letters, and I read them a funny excerpt from the memoir Hyperbole and a Half.
  • After joining the google classroom for language arts, students explored this website to see why summarization will matter in their lives.
  • Students shared their thoughts, observations, and surprises with their neighbors.


  1. Read for 25 minutes.
  2. MAP testing is tomorrow!

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.