Tips, Titles and Tools for Teachers

Instructional Resources and Book Recommendations

Happy Holidays! I hope you all enjoyed your Thanksgiving break!

Thank you to the teachers at Atwood for such positive and productive instructional team days before vacation! I'm looking forward to the grade level days at WES this week and next Monday! I hope you find these days helpful to your planning and instruction.

I will be back in my normal routine in classrooms next Tuesday. If you need anything, please feel free to e-mail me anytime!

Happy Reading,


Retelling Vs Summarizing

During grade level team meetings at both schools, the topic of retelling and summarizing has been mentioned. Teachers in grades K-2 spend a great deal of time working with students on sequencing events and retelling a story. Eventually, students begin to make the transition from retelling to summarizing.

So, what's the difference?

Retelling: Tell the story again using the author's words. Include as many details as possible!

Summarizing: Tell only the most important events from the story in your own words. Keep in mind the big idea of the story!

Both retelling and summarizing ask students to use details from the text and to keep the events in the correct order.

I highly recommend this excellent poster to share with your students that explains the difference between retelling and summarizing!

You can use this poster in a mini lesson or as an anchor chart. In the upper grades, we've noticed on the QRI and the DRA that students need to understand the difference between a retelling and a summary so they know how many details to share.

A Summarizing Strategy for All Grades

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Valerie taught me this awesome strategy a few years ago for supporting students in writing a summary! If you Google "Somebody Wanted But So Then Finally", you will find tons of excellent graphic organizers and anchor charts. This strategy works well with any story (with a problem and solution)! In the book Reading Nonfiction, Kylene Beers and Bob Probst recommend using it with nonfiction texts, too.

Here's a blogpost from a second grade teachers introducing the strategy:

On Teachers Pay Teachers:

A Great Graphic Organizer for summarizing with "Somebody Wanted But So Then Finally"

If your students need support summarizing, you will find this strategy very helpful! In the primary grades, it would be great to use it connected to a read aloud or short text. Students in the upper grades who are struggling with the difference between a retelling and a summary will find this strategy very helpful!

Bumblebee Book Award

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Here is a link to awesome resources for using Blizzard with students! On this page, you will find text dependent questions, suggested activities and companion books that can be used with Blizzard! Amy is planning to read aloud Blizzard to your students in the library as one of the Bumblebee Award books, but this resource can help you extend her read aloud!

Blizzard is based on Rocco's childhood experience of the Blizzard of 1978. In the story, a boy becomes a hero when he manages to walk to the local grocery story to get supplies for his neighbors after they've been snowed in for days. I love the message of this book that all it takes is one brave, young individual to help a village!

Black Bear Book Award ~ Graphic Novels

Shelly Moody

Instructional Coach, Grades K-5

Atwood Primary School

Williams Elementary School