Step It Up with Summarizing

31 Aug


Photo Credit: London Permaculture via Compfight cc


In order to boost student comprehension and achievement, students must understand how to effectively summarize what they are researching, learning and applying. Using a variety of online resources, teachers can support students with a variety of tools to assist them in summarizing more effectively. These are by no means all inclusive, there are many strategies and tools that are both low and high tech that one can use – here are just a few ideas for you to try out.

The power of being in a GAFE environment, allows students to be able to personalize their learning experiences so that they can engage in the curriculum and demonstrate their learning at their level.

    • Readability – chrome extension, declutters websites. Great to then take the decluttered article/info and copy & paste into a Google Document while researching.
    • SpeakIt! – chrome extension, text to speech. Just highlight the text, click on the SpeakIt icon in the extension toolbar and it will read the text to the student. (Think about using headphones for this.)
    • Announcify – chrome extension, paragraph text to speech, blurs out extraneous text. This extension will pop up a separate tab and automatically start reading.
    • VoiceNote II – chrome extension, speech to text. Click on the world icon to set the language preference, then onto the mic icon and speak away! Copy&paste the text into a Google Doc. Great dictation tool. Works very well on Chromebooks without a mic and headset, however other laptops may need to use a mic+headset.
    • Google Dictionary – chrome extension.
    • Read&Write Gold/Google – chrome extension with Word Prediction, Speech Input, Text to Speech, Vocabulary List….There are so many tools in this extension. Schools/school divisions must pay for student licences. Check with TextHelp.
    • GDoc – Add-on > tag cloud generator. A great way to make a text visual. See the two resources on how you could use this in the classroom.
    • Connected Mind – chrome app, mind map. You must bullet all your information including the title in order for the mind map to work.
    • Instagrok – chrome app, research/info mind map tool. Click all the pins you would like to use, delete those that are unnecessary, share the interactive “grok” via a link or insert into a blog/website.
    • Newsela  – chrome app, differentiated news articles in a variety of topic areas. Have all students read specific articles in a variety of subject areas at their level. One of my favorites. (Goes along with TweenTribune from the Smithsonian that I have shared over the years.)

Make literature pop/stand out with:

    • Flocabulary – subject area topics learned via rap songs – very catchy for all students. These range from K-12, topics are American so Social Studies and Math may not all connect to the Alberta curriculum. Subscription based, but does offer a trial period.
    • 60 second recap – of various literature by an amazing librarian. Many middle years to high school references.
    • SparkNotes online literature summaries, mainly from grades 5-12. See some examples such as MacBeth, Bridge to Terabithia. Teachers could easily copy&paste this information or grab the link to a particular piece of literature and input this into Google Classroom/Sites for students to utilize.
    • Litcharts – online literature summaries similar to SparkNotes, nice interactive theme overview. Compare this Macbeth info with that of SparkNotes.
    • Text Compactor – an online text summarizer where students paste in copied text and choose how much (a %) to summarize. 
    • Rewordify  – text simplifier where students paste text and various words throughout will be simplified. Hover over the changed words to see the original wording.
    • Graphic Outline – use various templates/graphic organizers that are tiered and shared via a template through GDrive/GClassroom for students to use throughout the year.

Extra Resources


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