IV. Instruction and Modeling – What is the teacher doing?
A.What are you going to teach and how? (Will you provide relevant information, model thought processes, establish guides or graphic organizers, etcetera?)
B.How will you differentiate instruction? (small groups, guided math, guided reading, guided writing, literature circles, etc)
C..How long will each activity take?
D. Consider Blooms Taxonomy/Ask good questions (Knowledge, Understanding, Application, Analysis, Synthesis, Evaluation)
E. Consider Newmann’s Rigor
Day 1: Introduction and Model
Think about the last book you read. What was it mostly about? Write your answer in one sentence. (I recommend using a book you read as a class as an example. We just read Because of Winn Dixie and our sentence might be: “Because of Winn Dixie is a fictional story about a girl named Opal who is trying to make friends in her new town.” (Many books have a one sentence summary on the copyright page. You could have a whole separate lesson on using and writing these one line main idea summaries.) Have a few students share their examples with the class and provide constructive criticism.
Now it is important to remember that the main idea is different from the topic. The topic of a text is the subject. You can usually state the topic using just a word or two. Imagine where you would find that book in the library. Books are sorted by topic. For example, you might find a shelf of 20 books all on the topic of the Civil War. Each of these books shares the same topic, but they each have a different main idea.
The main idea is the main point the author wants to make. For example, one Civil War book could have the main idea that Lincoln was a hero of the Civil War while another book about the Civil war could have the main idea that Lee was a leader for the Confederate states during the Civil War. Two different main ideas, one topic.
Let’s read this non-fiction passage and then see if we can find the topic and the main idea. (distribute copies of “Obama in Afghanistan, Time for Kids). Have students read silently and then read together (I usually just call on volunteers or read it myself if there is a lot of tricky vocabulary.)
Discuss: Now what do you think the topic is? If you were going to search for this article on the internet, what search terms would you use? (possible topics: Obama, Afghanistan, Obama in Afghanistan).
Okay, we know the topic now. What is the author telling us in this article? What is the most important point? Talk to your neighbor and see if you can summarize the main idea in just one sentence. You can highlight key words and phrases in the article if that helps.
Have students share ideas and as a class, choose one sentence that best summarizes the main idea of the article. (e.g. President Obama visited Afghanistan to talk about the war.)
You may want to stop now and work to have the students outline the article as follows:
I. Main Idea
àA. Supporting detail
àB. Supporting detail
àC. Supporting detail
Outlining in this way will strengthen the reading/writing connection as students work the writing process in reverse.