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Summary Salad


Students read a passage (any subject area), create 6 summary cards, mix cards with another pair, and sequence the best 6 cards.


  • 6 note cards per pair (or notebook paper cut into cards)
  • Reading assignment
  • Summary Salad/R-E-S-P-E-C-T discussion starters (English/Spanish)


  1. READ: Students take turns whisper-reading the assigned text with a partner.
  2. SUMMARIZE: Student pairs collaborate to create 6 separate cards that summarize the most important issues.
  3. MIX: Partners join another pair to form a square (4 students) and mix their 12 cards together like a salad.
  4. PICK SIX: The 4 students collaborate, discuss, and negotiate to pick out the 6 best cards to summarize the text, using the R-E-S-P-E-C-T (Aretha Franklin-style) discussion starters below:
    • These 2 cards seem to basically say the same thing, so which one should we keep?
    • This card is good, but do you guys think it is one of the most important ideas?
    • Are we missing an important idea that is not in our salad?
    • Do we need to write a completely new card?
    • This card is good, but should we add …?
    • This card is good, but should we delete the part about …?
    • Could we take these 2 cards and combine the ideas on one card?
  5. SEQUENCE: Students select the 6 best cards and cooperatively sequence them in an appropriate, logical order.
  6. WRITE: Individually, students write a summary using the best 6 cards.
  7. Evaluate the written summaries to inform how best to clarify/verify the information.

Classroom Management

  • Model the strategy using a “fishbowl” where 4 students role-play how to write their 6 cards, mix the 12 cards, negotiate with respect (using the R-E-S-P-E-C-T discussion starters provided), and pick out the 6 best cards to complete their final summary while the class circles around and observes.
  • Provide a copy of the R-E-S-P-E-C-T discussion starters to each group to assist students in collaborating, discussing, and negotiating.


  • Promote access to text by partnering with a supportive peer and providing auditory, summarized, or electronic text in manageable chunks.
  • Promote access to text by providing visually supported text, partnering with a supportive peer for read-alouds, and/or allowing text-to-speech support.
  • Provide response support by providing 2 important facts from the 6 cards to get started, allowing students to dictate responses to a scribe, and/or using speech-to-text or word prediction support to record responses.

Think It Up!

  • Have students think more deeply about the concept by responding to a Think It Up prompt as an exit ticket or journal entry:
    • Select two cards that represent a cause/effect relationship and identify which is the cause and which is the effect.
    • Make a connection between this summary and something you have previously learned.
  • Encourage students to use lead4ward’s Thinking Stems (English/Spanish) to frame their responses, if needed.