SOS: ABC Summary

Screen Shot 2014-12-04 at 10.26.42 PMWelcome to Spotlight on Strategies Challenge!  Our S.O.S series provides help, tips, and tricks for integrating DE media into your curriculum.

ABC Summary
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Summarizing requires that students distill information in a concise, synthesized form and focus on the important points presented in a text (Marzano, 2001). This strategy involves students sharing the responsibility for summarizing content. After watching a video, each student develops a summary statement beginning with a unique letter of the alphabet and then shares out to the whole group. The individual summaries can be compiled into one final product.


  • Decide on how students will be assigned to alphabet letters. If using a random assignment you’ll need to prepare slips of paper, one letter per slip, that students can draw out of a hat.
  • Select and preview a video.
  • Share video with students. Encourage note-taking by stopping frequently to discuss, define, or clarify information.
  • Assign letters to students and explain that students will watch the selection a second time, this time with the focus being on developing a summary statement that begins with that letter.
  • Replay segment.
  • Provide time for students to craft A-B-C statements. Scaffold by allowing students to discuss with partners or small groups if necessary.
  • Ask students to share statements in either small group or whole class format.
  • Optional: Compile individual summary statements into a book, poster, etc.

Potential Applications:

  • Review of information gleaned from a video presented in class.
  • Synthesis of multiple days of instruction with each student responsible for one letter of the alphabet.
  • Group presentation format with students working in groups to research topics and then presenting a summary of their learning in the form of an A-B-C list rather than a written paper.


After watching a video on the water cycle students will craft statements to generate a “Water Cycle from A-Z” list. Sample shared below.Screen Shot 2014-12-16 at 11.21.04 AM



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