I am struggling teaching my special education students on how to summarize. They really struggle with how to distinguish between main idea, detail, and drawing conclusions. I have started with much lower reading selections that I got from readworks.com. (See the link below) But still a bit stuck on where to go to next. Suggestions welcomed.
As a former special educator, it’s great to see that you are helping scaffold your instruction by picking out pieces that match their reading levels. I also like how you’ve included multiple choice questions as a means of giving your students options to think about. In terms of other suggestions, you could consider using Speakpipe to record yourself reading the passage out loud and then embed it in Formative so that your students can listen to the passage before/while/after reading it.
You could also consider uploading the reading passages to the background of Show Your Work questions (as images) and asks students to underline details or parts of the reading passages that help them identify the main idea.
If you have premium, you could use the Audio question type and have your students say their responses instead of writing them. Giving them this alternative way of expressing their thinking is a good way to differentiate learning. Lastly, taking a page out of @apadilla 's book, you could also use the Categorize question type to have your students to match pre-created “cards” of sentences with categories labeled “main idea”, “details”, and “drawing conclusions”! Check out his example of a scaffolded formative, here.
Also, I encourage other @ELA_Educators to share chime in on this discussion and share ways they’ve have helped teach main idea, details, and drawing conclusions in the past!
Have you tried Activelylearn.org ? Right now it is by far my favorite reading website for teaching them to actively read and comprehend.
@msashlylcot Thanks - I will look into it.
What grade level are you teaching?I teach SpEd students too; my 10th graders also struggle with main ideas and inferences. Readworks.com looks like a great resource–thank you for sharing it.
I like your Formative a lot, especially your “clarify” prompt. Have you thought about using short answer as well as multiple choice questions? That helps me check if my students can produce the right thinking without prompting. Perhaps that might be your next step.
When I teach a skill that I know the kids struggle with, I often use Pixar short films as our first few texts. I know it sounds crazy, but the short films actually make great teaching tools: they are funny, well-crafted, and…er…short. Because the films are engaging and easy for students to grasp, we can focus on the new skill (summarizing a text with supporting details) without worrying about other stuff that might get in the way (like reluctance to read or comprehension difficulties). I might start by showing a short film and asking the kids to summarize it with me while I model how the thinking works. Then I would ask them to summarize a different film individually or in small groups. We would move to a written text only after they had gotten the hang of summarizing a film. That way, reading doesn’t come back into the mix until they are comfortable with the new cognitive skill.
I don’t know how old your students are, but my tenth graders love using Pixar films for schoolwork. It messes with their sense that English skills are only for boring books.
It’s pretty simple to build a Formative around a short film. Find a short that you like on youtube (there are lots!) and add the video, then build your questions. If you have premium, as @david pointed out, you could try using “categorize” to get the students to drag and sort main ideas and supporting details. Would an example be useful? I would love to build one with you (or for you). Just let me know!
I’m excited to meet another teacher who works with SpEd students! Thanks for posting.
@clairesedoyle Thanks for the suggestions. I feel very “lost” in the world of SPED. We are in the middle of state testing this week, but I would love to schedule time after May 1st to “meet” with you to build a formative. I don’t have the premium yet - I am waiting to have my school buy it for next school year. Thanks for the tips.
I will look forward to making something with you, Rachel! Thanks! We could use google hangouts if you like. This will be fun.
I felt lost and overwhelmed when I first started teaching SpEd students, too. Based on the Formative you shared, though, you are doing excellent work. I have a feeling your students are lucky to have you!