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Summarizing for Learning. Kristina Perez November 13, 2012. Summarizing for Learning. Who? Three sections of high school algebra II students. What? The goal of the action research is to improve students’ ability to summarize material from their notes. .

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summarizing for learning

Summarizing for Learning

Kristina Perez

November 13, 2012

summarizing for learning1

Summarizing for Learning

Who? Three sections of high school algebra II students.

What? The goal of the action research is to improve students’ ability to summarize material from their notes.

why is teaching our students to summarize important
Why is teaching our students to summarize important?
  • The primacy-recency effect says that we remember best what we experience first in a lesson and we remember second best what we experience last.

Summarization in Any Subject, Wormeli R., 2005


What Influences Students’ Need for Remediation in College? Evidence from California, Howell J.

From: The Journal of Higher Education , Volume 82, Number 3, May/June 2011pp. 292-318 | 10.1353/jhe.2011.0014


Only 23% of the students who take the EAP in English and 58% of the math participants are deemed "ready for college”.1

  • Marzano, Pickering and Pollack found an achievement gain of 34% from summarizing and note-taking instruction, only identifying similarities and differences showed a larger positive impact.2
  • 2011 results
  • Classroom Instruction That Works, Marzano, Pickering, Pollock
m arzano pickering and pollack
Marzano, Pickering and Pollack

Summary Frames:

  • The Narrative Frame
  • The Topic-Restriction-Illustration Frame
  • The Definition Frame
  • The Argumentation Frame
  • The Problem Solution Frame
  • The Conversation Frame

Rule-Based Strategy

  • Deletetrivial and redundant material
  • Substitute superordinate terms for lists (e.g., “flowers” for “daisies, tulips and roses”
  • Select a topic sentence or invent one, if it is missing.
m arzano pickering and pollack1
Marzano, Pickering and Pollack
  • Verbatim note-taking is least effective.

Trying to record all of what is heard or read uses too much memory to leave room for synthesizing.

  • Notes should be considered a work in progress.

Teachers should encourage students to continually add to the notes and revise them as their understanding of content deepens and sharpens.

m arzano pickering and pollack2
Marzano, Pickering and Pollack
  • Notes should be used as study guides for tests.

If students have systematically elaborated on their notes, they can provide a powerful form of review.

  • Less is NOT more.

There is a strong correlation between the amount of information taken in notes and students’ achievement on examinations.




Period #

Title of Notes

Essential Question: (You can create this from the


Include the Essence:

Learning Goals

Outline Vocabulary



Include the details, definitions, illustrations, notes, examples


Include only the most important information, answer the essential question.

learning how to learn cornell notes as an example donohoo j 2010

Learning How to Learn: Cornell Notes as an Example Donohoo J. 2010

Explicitly teach format

Regularly allow students time to reflect on their notes in class.

Gradual Release of responsibility including think-aloud

Sentence frames for students who are struggling

summarization in any subject wormeli r 2005
Summarization in Any Subject Wormeli R., 2005
  • Leaving the summarization for the end of a period does not result in as much mastery as smaller summaries throughout class.
  • You must be willing to stop your lesson early and summarize, even if you haven’t taught your final point.

Give a pre-instruction survey and assessment.

  • Develop a rules-based summary system and create a classroom poster.
  • Make a poster of Cornell Notes format for reference.
  • Explicitly teach the Cornell Notes format.

Think-aloud during notes to highlight key information.

  • Discuss rubric requirements before students complete the final summary.
  • Provide sentence frames to help students find the essential information.
  • Grade summaries using rubric.


- Minimum 3 sentences

- Answer the essential question:

How can I add, subtract, and multiply complex numbers?

I can add complex numbers by ____________________________. I can subtract complex numbers by _________________________

________________. I can multiply complex numbers by ________ __________________________________. The process of adding, subtracting, and multiplying complex numbers is similar to ______________________________________________________.


Many of my students do not hold on to their notes as long as they should or use them for studying as much as they should.

  • Rubrics and sentence frames seem to help students create better summaries.
  • Many of my students try to write everything down without gauging which information is most important.
future action

I should develop an enticement for my students to hold on to their notes.

  • I need to review the meaning of the term “quadratic”.
  • Continue to familiarize my students with the DARB method and rubric.
  • Allow students to peer review each others’ summaries.
Future Action
future action1

Administer and analyze the follow-up survey.

  • Try Summary Frames.
  • I need to continue to help students process information as they are taking notes and interact more with their notes.
Future Action