Edutech for Teachers

Cool Tools for the 21st Century Classroom

Spotlight on Strategies: ABC Summary


spotlight on strategiesEven though there is always a mind-boggling amount of invaluable info shared on the Discovery Education Network (DEN), one of the best resources available is the Spotlight on Strategies (S.O.S) series, a must-see DEN favorite designed to provide teachers with simple yet effective instructional practices for using digital content to support student learning.

To date, there are 70+ teacher tried and tested strategies featured on the DEN blog and now thanks to Lance Rougeux, Vice President of Learning Communities and Educational Consultants at Discovery Education and all-around DEN tech guru, I will now be featuring these techniques on my space. Two thumbs up to this guy!

So, enough of that… Let’s fast forward to the good stuff…

This week’s spotlight: ABC Summary, a digital media strategy that focuses on summarization skills related to a video clip. Check out the details below.


Summarizing requires that students distill information in a concise, synthesized form and focus on the important points presented in a text (Marzano, 2001). This strategy involves students sharing the responsibility for summarizing content. After watching a video, each student develops a summary statement beginning with a unique letter of the alphabet and then shares out to the whole group. The individual summaries can be compiled into one final product.


» Decide on how students will be assigned to alphabet letters. If using a random assignment you’ll need to prepare slips of paper, one letter per slip, that students can draw out of a hat.

» Select and preview a video. (Of course, Discovery Education videos are the bomb, but if you do not have a subscription to this amazing resource, then any video clip will do the trick.)

» Share video with students. Encourage note-taking by stopping frequently to discuss, define, or clarify information.

» Assign letters to students and explain that students will watch the selection a second time, this time with the focus being on developing a summary statement that begins with that letter.

» Replay segment.

» Provide time for students to craft A-B-C statements. Scaffold by allowing students to discuss with partners or small groups if necessary.

» Ask students to share statements in either small group or whole class format.

» Optional: Compile individual summary statements into a book, poster, etc.

Potential Applications

» Review of information gleaned from a video presented in class.

» Synthesis of multiple days of instruction with each student responsible for one letter of the alphabet.

» Group presentation format with students working in groups to research topics and then presenting a summary of their learning in the form of an A-B-C list rather than a written paper.


After watching a video on the water cycle students will craft statements to generate a “Water Cycle from A-Z” list. Sample shared below.

abc  sample

Click here to snag a PDF version of this super cool strategy.

So, there you have it—another S.O.S. trick to add to your edtech toolbox. Stay tuned for additional ways to activate learning in your classroom…

Like what you see? Then be sure to check out other ideas in this series:

» Reading Between the Lines

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Hey, edu-tech gurus!

Looking for some technology integration ideas to enhance your classroom lessons? Then be sure to check out my "Tech Tips" for the latest and greatest Web 2.0 tools, applications and web sites that can be incorporated into activities and/or projects. Although some posts may not be applicable to your content area or grade level, be sure to check back often as I will be varying ideas in order to provide resources across the K-12 curriculum.

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