Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning


K20 Center | Published: September 16th, 2020 by K20 Center


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In this summarization strategy, students focus on the main ideas of a text through collaboration.



Students discuss and determine the main ideas of a text and then decide on the single most important idea. Independently, they provide a written explanation and discuss their reasoning with the rest of the class.


  1. Have students read a text independently, in groups, or as a class.

  2. Individually, have students determine the four most important ideas of the text.

  3. Then, have students pair up to share their ideas and decide on the two most important ideas from their lists.

  4. Pairs are then assigned to groups of four. Each group must then agree on the single most important idea.

  5. Then, have students individually free-write about the most important idea for 3–5 minutes. The goal is for them to explain their idea well enough so that someone who has never heard the idea could understand it.

  6. Have students return to their groups and participate in a class discussion of the big idea.

Silver, H. F., Dewing, R. T., & Perini, M. J. (2012). The core six: Essential strategies for achieving excellence with the Common Core. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.