When I see or hear that statement, I feel proud to be an educator, because I believe teachers do make a difference. To non-educators, it refers to the instruction that teachers provide to their students, but a teacher’s days are filled with much more than that. We support and encourage children who are struggling, we strategize with students working out problems from recess, and we listen to children who had a tough weekend. Being a teacher is being an educator, a role model, and a support system.
I have tried to take the idea of “making a difference” to another level. I believe the materials I choose to use with my students can have a big impact on them. You may have seen the “Disabilities Awareness and Acceptance Unit” posted in September. In that unit, I shared an activity that challenges students to be kind after reading Wonder by R. J. Palacio.
Today I’m sharing summarizing activities that also emphasize the importance of going the extra mile to be kind to others. These activities will get students summarizing nonfiction texts as well as reflecting on charitable behavior.
"Do a Good Deed" Summarizing Activity
Last year, I shared an article with my students, “The 26 Year-Old Who Has Been Performing a Good Deed Every Day of the Year,” by Meera Dolasia. This articleis about Luke Cameron, a man who made it his mission to do a good deed every day for a year. He takes out the garbage for his neighbors or buys groceries for children in need. I loved the idea of doing something kind for someone else every day. After reading about Cameron's daily acts of kindness, I challenged myself to do something kind each and every day. I was so proud when I heard that several of my students had also taken on the challenge of doing good deeds after reading the article.
Even though I would consider inspiring my students’ kindness to be a successful lesson in and of itself, I also wanted to have an academic purpose to this lesson.
After reading “The 26 Year-Old Who Has Been Performing a Good Deed Every Day of the Year,” I showed my students how finding the Who, What, Where, When, Why (5Ws) and How (1H) of an article can help them to write a concise summary. Those elements are key when summarizing nonfiction and fiction texts. Together, we found the 5Ws and 1H of the article and noted them on the organized. Then I had students write a summary of the text and submit it for review.
Download the “Good Deeds 5W and 1H Graphic Organizer” and the article to use with your students. Not only will you be teaching your students the important skill of summarizing nonfiction, but you may inspire them to be kind, as well.
“Gotta Have Sole” Summarizing Activity
The second article I use for a nonfiction summarizing activity is “Helping Homeless Kids Put Their Best Foot Forward,” by Laura Klairmont. This article is about Nicholas Lowinger, a boy who started a charity at age 15 that collects shoes for those in need. I loved this article and so did my students! In fact, I think Nicholas Lowinger received shoe donations from most of my students within a week of us reading the article about him and his charity.
With this article and the summarizing worksheets, I review how finding the Who, What, Where, When, Why (5Ws) and How (1H) of an article can help to write a concise summary.