summarising a text by text-messaging

Lesson Plan 4: Summarising a text by Text-Messaging


English students will text their 140-character summaries of the homework reading to an interactive Web screen / Blog/facebook. The class will discuss which summaries are the most accurate representations of the reading. This activity can be done during class or for homework.


Students will…

●      be able to interpret a play/film/TV show/book in writing.

●      be able to summarise chapters, scenes and acts from a play or book.

●      be able to work as a group to discuss the meaning and purpose of a communication.

●      be able to use text messaging to demonstrate interpretation.


Mobile  phone (basic or smart) with the capability to take pictures and make a phone call

Computer with Web access (site accessed:Wiffiti)


1. The teacher creates a free account at

2. The teacher sets up a new interactive text-messaging screen on his or her Wiffiti account.


1.  The teacher goes over mobile safety and appropriate use before beginning this lesson.

2. Before students begin reading Romeo and Juliet, the teacher reads the opening prologue. The teacher may also want students to be looking at the words as it is being read by projecting them on an overhead.

3. The teacher asks students to think about the prologue, and to summarize it in 140 characters by using their cell phones to send a text message to the Wiffiti screen that the teacher previously set up.

4. The teacher projects the Wiffiti screen along with the information on how to text to the screen (this automatically shows up on each Wiffiti screen).

5. The students begin to send their summaries to the Wiffiti screen via their cell phones.

6. Once the summaries are all up on the screen, the teacher reads through them and asks the students to vote on which one they think best summarized the prologue.

7. The teacher then selects a piece of dialogue or a scene from Romeo and Juliet, reads it, and has the students summarize the same way as above.


●      This summary activity can occur at the beginning of every class, as a way to ask students to summarize any reading from their homework.

●      Each student can take on a particular character from the play/book and text-message based on their character’s thoughts and actions from each scene. The teacher can create a blog  where students can text in the summary of their individual character to the blog each night after reading. In addition, students can answer questions based on contemporary events sent out via text alert to them, such as “Who would your character have voted for in the last presidential election and why?” Students can text back their answers in character.

●      Students can create a text-message “novel” by transcribing each classic English line into “textspeak.”

Hints and Tips:

●      When you set up the Wiffiti board, make sure to select “rated G” for the board rating. This keeps inappropriate words from being shown on the board if the students try to text an improper word.




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