Learning to summarise with Igglepiggle and Makka Pakka.

No, I haven’t lost my mind.

For those of you who have never heard of it, ‘In the Night Garden‘ is a TV show produced by Ragdoll (the people behind Teletubbies) and aimed at very small children. Unlike most children’s TV shows it is designed around bedtime routines, everyone goes to sleep at the end and it is shown on the digital TV Channel CBBeebies around 6.30 every night. As well as some weird and wonderful characters many aspects of the show are design specifically for that age group, with lots of repetition both within and between shows.

The bit I’m interested in though is the end, where before everyone goes to bed, the story from that episode is retold, in short form as a cartoon. The same idea can be found in the books, one of which I was reading to Curig earlier on when an idea struck me.

As students get older they seem to struggle with the ability to summarise effectively. I suspect this is a combination of the growing length of the passages they are being asked to read coupled with a growing pressure from the exam system to get everything down in case it’s important.

I spent a lot of time early on in the year with my sixth formers looking at the skills around summarising, but next year I’m going to use this instead…

  1. Invite everyone in and settle them down, probably to the ITNG theme.
  2. Read them one of the stories, up to the point where the whole thing is summarised on a double page.
  3. Give them a photocopy of that double page summery, with the words removed.
  4. Ask students to provide a summary of the story on that sheet
  5. We can then compare summaries, look at whose included what, and why
  6. We then move on to some extracts from articles and text books, and students work through, summarising those and comparing notes. I suspect they will start off in groups and move to more individual work as the lesson continues.


I announced this idea on Twitter before I actually wrote the post. I’d like to thank HGJohn and _MrG for their ideas!

Twitter Comments

Photo Credit: ScattyNoBrain

2 thoughts on “Learning to summarise with Igglepiggle and Makka Pakka.

    1. Lol. I’d forgotten about your views of ITNG Mr B. I await with interest your essays on Teletubbies, Fireman Sam and SuperTed!

      And you’re right, it should have been summarise. Typo now fixed!

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