Lesson: The Great Kapok Tree - Lynne Cherry: Main Idea

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Lesson Objective

Students will be able to synthesize the main idea of a fiction text by analyzing the main ideas by pages.

Lesson Plan

 

Objective:  Students will be able to synthesize the main idea of a fiction text by analyzing the main ideas by pages.

 

Lesson Plan

 

DO NOW:  What is the rainforest?  Make a list of words or phrases that describe the rainforest.

 

Opening:  Today we're are going to read The Great Kapok Tree, by Lynne Cherry. The Kapok tree is found in the Amazon rain forest. Before we look at the book, let's talk about rain forests. What do we already know about rain forests? Where is the Amazon rain forest and what is it like? Show where the Amazon rain forest is on a map. Ask where other rain forests might be. (In a band around the equator.)

You might want to make a chart to show what the students know.

Read the description of the rain forest in the book, on the page opposite the title page, and have students close their eyes and make pictures in their minds while you read. Ask students to draw a picture of what they think that the rain forest looks like.

Have students make a visualization illustration after reading the description (see attached file).

Vocabulary:  There are several words in this book that may be unfamiliar to early readers. Here are some of them:

·         Kapok tree-also known as a ceiba tree, a large tropical tree with large pods of silky floss used for making mattresses and life preservers

·         Pollination-how plants reproduce

·         Canopy-a kind of roof formed by treetops

·         Amazon-a river in South America; the largest in the world

·         Understory-the plants growing on the ground, under the canopy

See the page opposite the title page for help in reviewing some of the vocabulary.

Go over these words BEFORE reading.

 

Direct Instruction (I DO):

Show students how to use a Who/What/Why chart as a way of summarizing some of the important parts of a book. Show a chart such as this:

 

Who?

What?

Why?

 

 

 

Read the first page, then say:

I want to retell the main idea of this page. I am going to reread it asking myself, "What is the most important information?" What kind of questions can I ask myself? I can ask myself who did or said what and why.

To answer who, I know there were two men so I write two men under Who. To answer what, I read and see that they entered the rain forest. So, I write entered the rain forest and one pointed to the Kapok tree under What. To answer why, I have to think and make a connection between the words, illustration and what I know. The words don't tell me why, but the illustration does. The man has an ax, I bet he is going to chop down the tree. So, I write chop down the tree under Why. I will use the information on the chart to tell the main idea; two men entered the rain forest, and they were going to chop down the Kapok tree.

Who?

What?

Why?

two men entered the rain forest

one pointed to the Kapok tree

They were going to chop down the tree.

Read the next page, then say: Again I ask myself, "What is the main idea of this page?" Remember that the main idea can answer the questions who did or said what and why.

Fill in the chart talking about your thought process, the headings, and where to write what.

Who?

What?

Why?

the smaller man started chopping down the tree

then fell asleep

because he was hot

Explain that the main idea of the page is that the smaller man started chopping down the tree, but fell asleep because he was hot.

Before reading on, we need to make this a bit more challenging.  Great readers are able to provide evidence for their thinking.  We have to start asking, “What in the book (text, pictures, etc) is helping us to come to this conclusion?”  We have to show how we come to this conclusion with our words.

Read the next page, and continue filling in the chart with student input. Ask, "Who is saying something on the page? What did he say? Why?"

Who?

What?

Why?

How do I know?

the boa constrictor

said not to chop the tree down

because the tree was a tree where he and his ancestors lived, a tree of miracles

 

Model answering, “What in the book is helping me to come up with this main idea?”  Point out the words or illustration that is giving the main idea to us as readers.

Explain that the main idea of this page is that a boa constrictor said not to chop down the tree because it was where he and his ancestors lived.

 

Guided Practice (WE DO):

Pass out smaller versions of the three-column chart, then read the next page. Have students fill in the chart with either words or illustrations. Have them answer the same questions, "Who is saying what and why? And How do I know?”

Who?

What?

Why?

How do I know?

a troupe of monkeys

said not to chop the tree down

after you chop this one down, you will chop others and ruin the rain forest

 

 

 

Independent Practice (YOU DO):

Have the students try filling in the chart themselves, one for each page. Continue until you reach the page with the child from the Yanomamo tribe.

Read the next two pages (when the man woke up and looked around at all the wonders of the rain forest) with the students. Have them fill in the chart on their own. As they are working monitor their progress. When they are done, have them share their charts with a partner finishing the sentence, "The main idea of this page is…"

Once your students have mastered using the chart to tell the main idea of the different parts of the story, have them use the chart to identify the main idea of the whole story.

Explain that they are using the same steps, but only looking at the page main ideas

Students should look at the main ideas they have identified for each page of the story and think about the main idea for the whole story. Walk around and monitor their work.

Closing:  What did we learn today?  What reading strategy?  What knowledge did we gain from this book? 

Have a short discussion using these questions.

Lesson Resources

Lesson 82   Lesson Plan
1,028
Lesson 82 Visualization   Activity
643
The Great Kapok Tree
4515

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