EDU 6526 Summarizing and Note Taking

For week 4 of EDU 6526, we focused on chapter 6, Summarizing and Note Taking, of Classroom Instruction that Works.  Frequently, these are skills that teachers expect their students to be able to do.  Research has shown that students need to be taught explicitly, to ensure that students are able to pull out the important information that is contained within text and lessons.  Utilizing the companion text, A Handook for Classroom Instruction That Works, assisted me in self-assessing my teaching practice in these areas.

The process of self-assessment in this area of instruction helped me to identify this as an area that I need to improve upon.  I would score my-self 3 out of 5 for the note taking section.  Through-out my student teaching, I was very good at providing my learners with teacher-prepared notes and modeling for students how to use these effectively.  However, I generally found that I needed to be more explicit in explaining my expectations for note taking and the purpose behind notes. I always tried to incorporate questions in my lesson planning that would, if not in a student’s memory, require them to go back through their notes and try and find the answer.  At first, students looked at me with blank faces when I asked them to do this.  I had to model doing this for them, but after a little while, it became more routine and entertaining with students trying to find the answers in their notes.  This allowed me to access students’ prior learning, highlight important facts, link previous material to current, and stress the importance of writing legibly with proper titles to assist students in finding important information.

In reflecting on my teaching practice in summarizing, I would rate myself a 2 out of 5.  I would often start out each lesson by asking a student to summarize the previous days learning or remind the class of what we have been working on.  I also liked to provide an activity at the end of a learning segment that would allow students to summarize their learning.  However, I never explicitly taught my students how to do this.  I could be more effective in my teaching by utilizing the six different styles of summary frames: “narrative, topic-restriction-illustration, definition, argumentation, problem-solution, and conversation” (Dean, Hubbell, Pitler, & Stone, p83).  I also like the texts idea of creating posters around these different themes to serve as reminders for students.  It would be nice to be able to re-use these summarizing techniques without having to reteach them each time.  I think these frames could also be modified to fit the particular group of students that I find myself working with next year.

A classmate of mine also highlighted the use of reciprocal teaching to allow students to work on summarizing.  Utilizing the reciprocal teaching strategy asks students to work together to summarize, question, clarify, and make predictions (Dean, Hubbell, Pitler, & Stone, p88).  I particularly like this strategy because it can be done through cooperative learning groups.  By creating lessons focused on summarizing skills, making classroom posters for the different styles, and repeatedly having my students work on these skills, my learners will improve in their abilities to summarize important information in their classes, and sift through the immense amount of knowledge available through our technology World.

Dean, C. B., Hubble, E. R., Pitler, H. and Stone, B.  (20012). Classroom Instruction That Works.

2nd edition. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Pitler, H. & Stone, B. (2012) A Handbook for Classroom Instruction that Works. 2nd edition.  Alexandria,

VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

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