Simplifying Complex Ideas with Keynote

Summarizing large bodies of text is one of the ways that we assess students' literacy skills, critical thinking skills, and communication skills. As students from different language backgrounds and learning modalities are present in the classroom, how might we create a more inclusive assessment that allows our students to demonstrate their skills?

Harvard University’s Project Zero coined this mode of assessing as Visible Thinking. Essentially, we are providing students with opportunities to show us what is on their minds. Visible Thinking routines provide students with frameworks to contextualize their own thinking. Some routines teachers already know and love are: Think-Pair-Share, See-Think-Wonder, and Sentence-Phrase-Word

Combining the principles of Blackout Poetry and Sentence-Phrase Word, where students

  • Choose a word that captured their attention or struck them as powerful
  • Select a phrase that moved, engaged or provoked them
  • Choose a sentence that was meaningful to them, that they felt captures a core idea of the text

I ask my students to deconstruct an article and recreate it into something that is personable and meaningful to them. Rather than creating a presentation full of slides with bullet points of paraphrased sentences from the article, I asked my students to recreate a “poem” - the result was something that was uniquely their own.

Borrowing Shapes and the Animation from Keynote, The summaries students create not only showcase their understanding but also their own individuality. Understanding that text is written through a perspective, Blackout Poetry allows students to understand how context is created through removing or emphasizing words or phrases, and how meaning can be changed by simple rearrangement of words.

This new form of summary is one of the ways that I use to ask my students to summarize text. In the age where information is readily available (and so are numerous text summaries), asking our students to create products that are uniquely their own while also interacting with new information is a novel way to assess them.

For those who would benefit in having additional opportunity to express themselves, whether through writing or through oral presentation. I have created a graphic organizer for students to attach images and written responses as learning evidence. In addition to that, students are also given the opportunity to screen record their animated Blackout Poetry with a voiceover for the additional layer of understanding. 



Tagged in: Keynote

All Comments

Posted on October 05, 2022

This reminds me a lot of "found poem" exercises. I love how you pair visuals with their selections to tie meaning across media. Thanks for sharing!

Posted on October 05, 2022

This is a wonderful way for students to show what they know - a perfect inclusionary alternative to standard assessments. Thank you!

Posted on October 18, 2022

What a great alternative way to assess students' literacy skills. Thank you for sharing!

Posted on October 20, 2022

Thanks for sharing this valuable resource! I love how students are using their creative and critical thinking to demonstrate their understanding of what they've read. So great!

Posted on February 27, 2023

This is great Isabella! I love using the thinking routines. Be sure to check out Samantha Harrison’s post about the character analysis of the Outsiders. She uses several routines in different ways in a Pages journal. It’s amazing!

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