Analogies can boost engagement and understanding for many common tasks. One of my favorite analogies for summarizing is Boil It Down.
- Ask students if they have ever watched a parent or friend boil down a sauce or gravy on the stove. Discuss how the sauce simmers, steam rises reducing the liquid, and the sauce becomes thicker, more intense – leaving the essence of flavor.
- Once students make this connection, compare boiling it down to summarizing – how we get rid of the excess and retain the essence.
- Post or draw a saucepan picture on the board.
- Ask a student to summarize the lesson (or book, video, etc.) and write their entire statement on the board in the pot.
- Then provide each student with paper circles and ask them to write a word on the circle that is not necessary – that could evaporate.
- Post the circles above the pan, crossing them out in the pan.
- Continue until the words left in the pan represent the most important parts or the essence of the lesson. This becomes your summary statement.