For some reason, students always struggle when teachers ask them to incorporate sources.  It is a process that takes practice to do seamlessly, but when done well, it can boost your credibility in any argument.  The thing that is so puzzling about our struggle to incorporate summaries, paraphrases and direct quotations, though, is that we use these techniques all the time in our everyday life. Whether you are relaying to your parents a conversation you had at school or telling a friend about a great movie you saw, you summarize, paraphrase, and direct quote “sources” all day long. 

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Let’s use the movie example:


When someone asks you about the movie you saw last weekend, you will usually give them a brief, two sentence or so, synopsis, hitting the big parts (the main ideas) and avoiding any spoilers (unless you are a terrible friend).  In essence, you SUMMARIZE the movie for them.


If someone asks you about your favorite scene - and let’s say you really, really love it - you will go line by line recounting it, making sure to not miss any of the good parts. You don’t remember it word for word, but you get the gist. You are pretty much PARAPHRASING it for them.


But let’s say your friend wants to know the best line from the movie. You can’t give the line without the context of what was happening or who said it because that would be confusing. So when you relay your favorite line from the film, you would tell your friend who said it and what was happening when it was said. You are giving them a DIRECT QUOTE with introductory material for context.


See? You do this all the time! 


So we are going to take that hypothetical scenario and bring it to life, using your favorite scene from a movie or TV show of your choice. Here are your tasks:


  1. Choose a scene from a movie or TV show (school appropriate) that is between :30 and 1 minute long. 
  2. Find a clip that you can share with the class and save the link.
  3. Watch it a few times.  You need to get a feel for the “text” if you will.
  4. Summary: Take stills from the video that represents each main idea from the scene (the easiest way may be to take a screenshot). Take the main ideas from the scene and put them into words in one cohesive unit.
  5. Paraphrase: Take the scene and put it in your own words.  Include the actions as well as the dialogue. Remember, paraphrases should be EVERYTHING just in your own words. 
  6. Direct Quote: Choose the best/your favorite line from the scene.  Get it down word for word.  Then integrate an introductory element - maybe context and speaker, maybe movie/show name and context and speaker - something that allows the audience to fully understand where the quote comes from.
  7. Combine all of these things and be prepared to share.  You can put them in Google Slides, you can put all of it in Google Docs, just make sure that your points are clear, and all needed information is present.
  8. Share with the class.