Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning


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


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Students focus on the main ideas of a text through collaboration in this summarization strategy.



Students generate and agree on the main ideas of a text. Then they narrow those down to the single most important idea. Independently, they provide a written explanation and discuss their reasoning with the rest of the class.


  1. Students read a text, working independently, in groups, or as a class.

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

  3. Students pair up to share their ideas and agree on the two most important ideas from their lists.

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

  5. Students then free-write independently about the most important idea for 3–5 minutes. The goal is for them to explain what they know well enough that someone who has never heard the idea could understand it.

  6. 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.