Strategy

ABC Summary

UDL 3.1

An ABC Summary is a summative assessment where students share the responsibility of brainstorming ideas or summarizing content through a written creation of an ABC list of learning. Students use the 26 letters of the alphabet as prompts to generate words or sentences to describe a text or topic of discussion. Individual students, partnerships, or small groups can be assigned letters when crafting statements. Once all statements are recorded, a whole class share is conducted. This strategy provides students with an alternative when trying to access and recall concepts they have learned, and encourages students to use critical thinking skills when writing statements about key concepts across all subject areas.

Implementation Tips

Pre-Planning
Decide how many students will be assigned to alphabet letters before having student participate in an ABC Summary. When assigning letters randomly, prepare slips of paper (i.e., one letter per slip) that students can draw out of a hat or container or print and cut these sample [[ https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/fc/0f/4f/fc0f4f8ae5b4f130af7bca2e0dca07c5.png | alphabet cards ]].
Preparation
Prepare a large ABC Summary chart in order for students to compile individual summary statements into a cooperative reference tool. For a sample outline, click [[ http://hcps.us/ees/qualitytools/abc2.pdf | here ]].
Providing Support
Provide support for students that select more difficult letters, such as Q, X, Y, or Z by making an exception and allowing students to choose initial words that incorporate the letters instead of words that begin with the letter (e.g., eXtra patience is what Scout needs when Walter comes over to eat).
Model
Model how to use this strategy by naming a simplified topic (e.g., generating an ABC Summary of adjectives) and start filling in several words as examples. After, continue to fill in the ABC list with student participation. Explain that when using the ABC Summary strategy, students may be asked to write words, phrases or full sentences to demonstrate their understanding.
Incorporate Technology
Present a short video to students, such as a [[ http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/videos/ | National Geographic Kids video ]], as an alternative representation while monitoring comprehension. Students watch the video the first time, and take notes the second time. Then, the class uses the ABC Summary process to analyze what they learned using evidence found in media.
Group Share
Instruct students to share statements in small groups or in a whole-class format. Once all statements have been shared, further engage students in a conversation to reflect on successes and challenges while completing this task.
Modifications
Modify the ABC Summary process by allowing students to fully complete their own ABC lists (i.e., as a means to summarize an independent reading book) or post a blank ABC Summary chart in the classroom, adding supporting details to it throughout a given unit of study.

Examples

Community Building
To brainstorm a list of classroom problem solving strategies, students use an ABC Summary. The teacher explains that students must use a word beginning with the letter they receive to create their statements. After students receive letters they work independently at their seats while the teacher circulates to monitor participation and provide support. After several minutes, the class regroups to share ideas (e.g., “Be brave and ask someone to play with you if you’re playing alone.” / “Accept challenges by trying your personal best.”). The ABC Summary then “lives” in the classroom as a reference to support student confidence.
Comprehension Check
At the end of a novel-centered unit, a teacher asks students to use the ABC Summary to summarize a text. The teacher tells students that they do not have to fill out a statement for every letter of the alphabet. Instead, students are asked to choose and dedicate letters to create statements that represent ideas about characters, the setting, themes, conflicts, resolutions, and character changes. The teacher allows the task to be open-ended (e.g., some students write a minimum of 6 statements, others fill the alphabet). After, students compare and contrast their ABC Summaries with a partner to grow insights. Sample Student Response: “S is for Scout. She is the protagonist and narrator who is confused by the racism in Maycomb and by the way some people in town react when her father works hard to defend Tom Robinson.”