Activity: ABC Summary
Literacy Skill Focus: Summarizing, Writing Across the Curriculum
Materials: Paper, pen/pencil

Example Topic: World War I

ABC Summaries can be used in any subject area. For difficult letters such a Q, X, and Z, you can bend the rules a little bit for your students. Their ABC Summaries can be in order (like the example below) or not.

Alliances, nationalism, and militarism each played a part in causing World War I.
But the spark that started the war happened when a Serbian nationalist shot and killed the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand.
Consequently, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia in 1914.
Declaration of war caused each country’s allies to join the conflict.
Even though Italy was part of the Triple Alliance, it began the war as a neutral country.
France, Great Britain, Russia, and other countries made up the Allied Powers.
Germany, Austria-Hungary, Turkey, Bulgaria, and other countries made up the Central Powers.
However, Italy remained neutral until 1915 then joined the Allied Powers.
In spite of the fact that Germany thought the war would be quick and easy to win, neither side was having much luck advancing against the other.
Just as 1915 began, the sides dug trenches separated by a thin strip of land called “no-man’s land.”
Kept in these trenches with rats, flooding, and death all around them proved grueling for the soldiers.
Lord Kitchener, the British field marshal, said of trench warfare, “I don’t know what is to be done; this isn’t war.”
Most battles began with heavy artillery fire then one side storming the other’s trenches.
New weapons such as machine guns, tanks, and poison gas made the war even more horrifying.
Over a million casualties resulted from the Battle of the Somme alone.
President Wilson declared the United States’ neutrality, but that all changed in 1917.
Quite upset by u-boat activity and the Zimmerman Note, the United States entered the war.
Requiring men ages 21-30 to register with the draft board, the Selective Service Act brought fresh soldiers to the Allies’ army.
Suddenly, the Allies began dominating the war with the help of the U.S. and forced the Central Powers to agree to an armistice.
The Treaty of Versailles was signed in 1919 and included harsh provisions for Germany.
Understanding that the treaty’s provisions may cause Germany to later retaliate, President Wilson opposed some of the more harsh demands.
Victory was bittersweet for the Allies.
When the war was over, about 37 million were left killed and wounded.
EXpecting future conflicts, the League of Nations was formed to try and prevent war.
Years after the war proved difficult for many.
Zeal replaced despair as the roaring 20s began, the automobile was introduced, and we entered the “Jazz Age.”