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Lesson Plan: Summary Versus Analysis

Rationale: Without sufficient practice, students can become confused about whether or not they are carrying out a summary or an analysis.

Objectives: In this lesson, students will practice discernment and determine the difference between the two modes. In the future, students will be ready to delve into both modes individually in order to draw on them regularly.


Lesson Outline


Definitions

General discussion on when modes are used

Look at example of a summary and an analysis, try it out with a partner

Individual work: employ the two modes of summary and analysis for the same object in one paragraph each

Partner groups: find elements in partner’s paper


Lesson primer: What is summary? What is analysis?


Summary-a brief statement or account of the main points of something

Analysis- a detailed examination of the elements or structure of something, typically as a basis for discussion or interpretation


It may be easy to settle on these definitions, but executing either summary or analysis is more difficult in practice.


Discuss with class when these modes might be used. For instance: a chemistry teacher may ask students to summarize your weekly lab activity. When students watch a movie for a course assignment, the teacher may ask students to analyze one major element, examining the pattern throughout the film. Summarizing in this latter example may be read as insufficient or inappropriate. The inability to select elements of analysis within an object may prove troublesome for written assignments which call for compendious work.


Students try it out: Example of summary vs. analysis (on Salvador Dali’s “The Persistence of Memory”)

3-4 sentences for summary and analysis



Salvador Dali "The Persistence of Memory" (1931)


Teacher directive for students:

For summary: “Write purely what you see. Don’t attach any meaning to it.”

For analysis: “What do these images mean? Why was this picture created? Why were the colors selected?”


Individual assignment: summarize and analyze a new object (Dali’s “Living Still Life”) on separate pieces of paper noting the differences between the two modes. (This portion of the lesson can also be carried out by dividing the class into “summary students” and “analysis students” or creating “contests” between students in both categories.)



Salvador Dali "Living Still Life" (1956)


Primer: Writing a Summary

Select the important details

Be concise

Repeat the ideas of the source in different phrases and sentences


Primer: Writing an Analysis

Take time to examine closely, not just see the immediate impression

Evaluate one aspect thoroughly to start (it may take you far and you’ll surprise yourself)

Don’t be afraid to bring in outside research to support your claim


Get students involved in evaluation: At this point, while the teacher could rely on the traits of a summary or analysis as an instructive or pose as a “judge,” it may be more advantageous to get students involved in the evaluation of their summaries and analyses. In partners, ask them to find the major traits in the work of their classmates.

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