S.O.S: That Sums It Up!

Welcome to week 14 of our Spotlight on Strategies Challenge!  Our new S.O.S series to provide help, tips, and tricks for integrating DE media into your curriculum.

That Sums it Up!
PDF Version

According to Raymond Jones, on his site ReadingQuest.org, when student summarize they “strip away the extra verbiage and extraneous examples, focus on the heart of the matter, try to find the key words and phrases that, when uttered later, still manage to capture the gist of what we’ve read. They are trying to capture the main ideas and the crucial details necessary for supporting them.”  However, often when we ask students to summarize, they write down everything.  By focusing students’ attention on 5 main words or phrases from media excerpts, we are able to help them narrow down important concepts.  Through discussions with their peers, they are able to provide evidence for their decisions and compare lists.


  • Play the video segment “A Cultural Reawakening” to students. Do not have them take notes during the clip.  Instead tell them they will be provided time after the video to write.  Explain that they need to focus on the big ideas.  That they will be asked to write 5 words that best captures the important concepts of this segment.
  • Give students 1 minute to identify and write down 5 words from the video that are important to understanding the big idea.
  • Give students 3 minutes to share their list with a partner. Remind students they need to define what each word means in context of the video and state evidence for why they feel this word best represents the main idea.
  • Provide students an additional 2 minutes to combine lists to create a common list of 6-7 words.
  • Allow students 2 more minutes to write a concise, one sentence summary of the video segment
  • Have each group share their summary with the class.


  • Select a video segment or reading passage to match your current curriculum.
  • Follow instructions as listed above.

Have students post their summaries on a Web 2.0 site like VoiceThread or Wall Wisher and respond to each other’s summaries.

You can take the challenge by:

  • Implementing this strategy and letting us know how it went by posting a comment below.
  • Using this strategies in your grade level planning discussions and/or professional development and reporting your events. (Remember we consider an event anytime 3 or more educators gather together… doesn’t have to be in a computer lab… could be sitting around the lunch table)
  • Photocopying the flier and distributing it in your colleague’s boxes and/or posting it to your own BulleDEN board.

So see other strategies in this series click here.  For a link to all the PDFs in this series click here.


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  1. Alice said:

    where can I find the Cutural Reawakenings video mentioned in the That Sums it Up strategy?

  2. Pingback: DE Summer School: SOS- Sum It Up – DEN Blog Network

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