Graphic organizer and checklist: Strategies to improve summarization skills
Research question(s). How will teaching the use of a graphic organizer and a checklist help struggling fourth and fifth grade students improve their structure and content of summary writing after reading a news article? (1) Will using Step Up to Writing strategies that are organized into one graphic organizer help the structure of students' summaries to include a topic sentence, details, and a conclusion? (2) Will using a checklist, which include the questions: who, what, where, when, why, and how, improve students' ability to recognize whether their summaries include the most important information from the news article reading? (3) Will using Step Up to Writing strategies that are organized into one graphic organizer help students' ability to figure out a logical progression of ideas in their news article summaries?
Research activities. Context: The study took place in combination class of fourth and fifth grade students at a public school in the Bay Area. The intervention was especially focused on five students. Two of the students were fourth grade students and three of the students were fifth grade students who were all struggling with summarization. Although I had English language learners in my class, these five students who were not English language learners were having the most trouble with summarizing articles. Methods and Data: The whole-class intervention lasted six weeks, but three of the weeks were an interruption due to the Winter Break. Each day varied between 45 minutes to an hour and a half depending on students' needs. The students were expected to use a graphic organizer created using Step Up to Writing strategies and a checklist in order to help students with their article summaries. The data sets used were the grading of summaries based on a rubric done as a pre- and a post-intervention assessment, attitudinal data found through a survey also done as a pre- and a post-assessment, and in-the-midst notes written daily. Results: Comparisons of baseline data to outcome data suggested that using a graphic organizer and a checklist improved students' ability to write an article summary. My target students improved their average score from a 4.8 to a 9.5. The class average improved from 6.8 to 9.8 out of a total of 12 points. The graphic organizer was able to assist students in organizing their ideas in a logical progression, help students create a topic sentence, conclusion sentence, and indicate where details are expected in a paragraph. The checklist helped students pull out the most important information of the article to include in their summary. Together, these two strategies led to drastic improvement in writing.
Grade Level. 4 and 5
Data collection methods. Survey-attitude, Observation-Student engagement/behavior tallies, Student work, Writing samples, Writing assessment.
Curriculum Areas. English Language Arts, Writing
Instructional Approaches. Graphic Organizer/concept maps and Writing-Summary
0727: Curriculum development