Be a Super Summarizer

Contributor: Suzanne Riordan. Lesson ID: 13931

Discussions have more impact when we recall the key points and understand the speakers' outlook. Learn how to recap speakers' main ideas and analyze their perspectives. And learn some study tips too!


Verbal Communication, Writing

English / Language Arts
learning style
Auditory, Visual
personality style
Beaver, Golden Retriever
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8)
Lesson Type
Skill Sharpener

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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  • Have you ever had a closet that was so chock-full of stuff that you couldn't find what you were looking for?


Unless we sort things out and put them in different boxes, bins, or shelves, it's hard to know what we have and don't have!

Just like our closets, our brains can easily get overwhelmed with information unless we can sort it all out.

Classroom discussions are great ways to learn from teachers and classmates. Studies have found that people understand topics much better when discussing ideas and learning from each other.

  • But how can you remember what everyone said and sort out all that new information?

Two skills that will help you are summarizing and understanding perspectives.

Review, Recap, or Summarize

A review, recap, or summary of a discussion is an abridged retelling of the whole discussion.

Here's how to summarize.

  1. Pick out the main ideas.
  • What were the most important points the speakers shared?
  1. Identify the key details.
  • What were the more important facts?

Note that you don't need to recall every detail, just the more important ones!

Try summarizing a student's speech.

Yana Savitsky has some ideas on studying better. She learned a new study method and wants to share it with others.

Watch this video and take some notes on her method. Try to write down the main idea and three or four key details.

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Think about these questions and formulate your answers before clicking to see the suggested answer!

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Understand Different Perspectives

  • What if you completely disagree with someone in a discussion?
  • How can you accept and process that information?

That's where understanding perspective comes in.

Even if you agree with someone on ideas, understanding their perspective can deepen your understanding. That's because each person has different experiences and unique ways of thinking.

As you watch the next video, take notes on the factors that influence a person's perspective and pay close attention to the beginning of the video — note each person's reaction to the dog!

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Now, list seven factors influencing a person's perspective.

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Knowing how to summarize, pick out key ideas, and understand different perspectives, you'll be prepared to sort out the knowledge you gain from class discussions!

Move on to the Got It? section now to review and practice these skills.

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