ABC Summaries (Post-Reading)

ABCsThe rationale for ABC Summaries is the same as any other creative 'take it apart and put it back together' assignment. These are surprising challenging to do well, especially if you hold to the insistence that while the sentences are alphabetized, they should read naturally enough that a person hearing them read aloud or seeing them writtten in paragraph form would not immediately notice the work was anything but a really good summary of the assigned content.

I'm a big fan of requiring a rough draft of this assignment before moving to a larger, semi-decorated final version to be posted around the room, in the hallway, etc. These make good parent and admin mojo because while they can be aesthetically interesting, even a brief perusal makes it clear we are all about the content, baby. Plus, other adults don't usually read all the way through the last third or so when they tend to get pretty weird.

One teacher I work with varies this by randomly assigning the first letter used, or tying it to the students middle name, etc.  If my first sentence must begin with 'H,' for example, I work through to 'Z', move right into 'A', and finish with my 26th sentence starting with 'G'. I haven't done it this way as it seems like too much work and it's too confusing for some of the principals I'm trying to impress :-)

Finally, I always clarify with students that they may NOT use random proper names or explitives to begin sentences:

Cindy knows that the Five Civilized Tribes were forced to move to Indian Territory in the 1830s. David says this trek became known as the Trail of Tears. Ethan's book shows that thousands died along the way.


Crap, said freemen in the South who still had restricted rights. Darn it, this is America! Eek they'd shout as groups like the KKK used fear and terror to oppress them. Friggin' quit it said the North, or we'll send more troops!

Boo on both of those.