Let’s warm up with the polar bears and summarize. Warming up to summarizing is easy with Polar Bear Past Bedtime. I am in coastal Virginia and we don’t do snow often, but as the weather gods would have it we got 9 inches of snow dumped on us Wednesday night. Needless to say, we’ve been out of school since then.
Even though today is Saturday, I don’t have much hope for going to school Monday. The weather should be freezing until Monday afternoon and we don’t have access to the proper equipment to plow secondary or neighborhood roads. Ironically, it should be in the fifties from Tuesday on. We often try and tell students what snow is all about, but this year they’ll get to experience it.
One of my favorite books for the winter is Polar Bear Past Bedtime, #12 in the Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne. Summarizing can be easier when they get regular practice. As a matter of fact, we always read Magic Tree House books, but there are rules.
Magic Tree House Rules
In my opinion, Magic Tree House books are the best series to read to students. Students get to travel the world, learn about cultures old and new, and dig deep into the Jack and Annie characters. All in the last 10 minutes of the school day. As a matter of fact, they have to be packed up and ready to go before I can start reading. (This tends to get them to pack up quickly.)
- Each book takes 12 days. One day at the beginning for introduction and vocabulary, one dayper chapter, then one day for a book wrap-up and extension activity.
- Read the first four Magic Tree House books IN ORDER. This sets up the characters and the series.
- By then, it’s November. Read #27 Thanksgiving on Thursday. It’s perfect for the season and get ready for squeals when Jack and Annie have to use their toes digging for clams and find eels.
- Then go back to the correct sequence. Until we hit the middle of winter. Make sure Polar Bears Past Bedtime in the winter.
Of course, I have a procedure for reading these chapter books.
- Before you start reading each day, review the day before quickly and review the predictions for the chapter at hand.
- Read the chapter using interactive read aloud techniques, checking for understanding, but allowing for excitement.
- At the end of the chapter each day, ask for a summary. Using the SWBSA, technique we practice making summaries daily. At first, I give the key words and they fill in the summary. Eventually, they do it on their own with a SWBSA visual or bookmark.
- Then, read the title fo the chapter for tomorrow. Students should give you a prediction about tomorrow’s chapter using the title as a hint. They must use the phrasing, “I predict…because…”
For today’s blog, let’s focus on the summary comprehension strategy.
My favorite was of the teaching summary to K-1 readers is SWBSA. The Somebody, Wanted, But, So, And is an easy format for making a summary.
I don’t have kindergartners write the summary. They can say so much more than they can write at this point.
It can get exciting when students tell you two different summaries from the same chapter, depending on the “Somebody” at the beginning of the summary.
Let’s look at Chapter 4. The title is “Snow House,’ so students had predicted Jack and Annie would see an igloo because an igloo is a snow house. After reading the chapter a student might say:
“Jack and Annie wanted to learn about igloos and polar bears but Annie had to help the seal hunter feed the dogs so she went outside and Jack stayed inside and he heard the dogs growl.”Kindergarten student
Another summary technique is a summary mountain. This fun with especially with “Polar Bear Past Bedtime.”
This technique can discuss story elements: introduction, problem, climax, solution, and conclusion. Thankfully, this can be married with SWBSA, but the A changes to T (then).
If you google summarizing techniques you’ll see SWBSA, SWBST, SWBSAT and many other variations.
Look at Chapter 4 again, using the summary mountain, students might say:
“Jack and Annie went into the igloo with the seal hunter and learned about the importance of polar animals to the native people. Annie went outside to help feed the dogs while Jack stayed inside looking at the masks. All of the sudden, Jack heard the dog’s growl. He ran to the door of the igloo with the masks still in his hand.”
summarize FREE resource
I hope you enjoy the summary ideas, but I especially hope you enjoy sharing Magic Tree House books with your students.
If you would like a FREEBIE for Polar Bears Past Bedtime, check out the form below. You’ll get 9 pages of resources.
I also have a Polar Bear Past Bedtime full-set on TPT. It contains vocabulary words
Predict-o-Gram Polar Bears Before Bedtime, ABCs of Polar Bears Before Bedtime, ABC Order using Vocabulary Cards, Syllables using Vocabulary Cards, 3 Writing Papers, 1 Vocabulary Gradient Poster, 1 card, Compound Word Puzzles, -ub Word Family Cards (2 different formats), Master Librarian Collection Book, and a Master Librarian Card. The 37 page set is $4.00.
This activity and more can be found in the Polar Bears Past Bedtime Companion set.
This is also included in my GROWING BIG BUNDLE of 22 Magic Tree House Books.
The Reading Comprehension BIG BUNDLE includes sets for summarizing.