Lesson: Main idea: Persuade vs. Inform

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Lesson Objective

SWBAT determine whether a passage is meant to persuade or inform, based on its main idea.

Lesson Plan

 Lesson Objective:

SWBAT determine whether a passage is meant to persuade or inform based on that passage's main idea.

Essential Questions:

• What is the difference between topic and main idea?
• What sort of main idea would a persuasive passage have?


Allow students to fill out the first two questions on their notes sheet; this should be a review of previously gained information.

Materials Needed:

Notes sheets
Example passages (p. 3 of document)

Lesson Plan: I Do

Walk through notes on front. Dissect first paragraph on the back, using the points from the notes sheet to justify your decisions.

Lesson Plan: We Do Together

Take another paragraph (2, if you have the time) to dissect with students' aid. Gradual release of responsibility--by the last paragraph, the students should be making the decisions, and justifying them, for themselves.

Pass out two example passages. Have students break up into groups and complete the graphic organizers under each to come up with a conclusion (persuade or inform).

Lesson Plan: You Do

Students come back to desks, get out a sheet of looseleaf paper, must respond to a question projected by the overhead: What is an easy way to tell whether a passage is meant to persuade or inform?

Assessment of Objective Met
(Closure, Exit Ticket, Collected Classwork, etc)

Classwork collected (measures the objective mastery), exit slip (measures metacognition and awareness of the rules taught in class).

1. What went well?

2. What would you change?

3. What needs explanation?

The graphic organizer devised really leaves very little room for error, so even a kid whose comprehension is fairly low can still go through the steps to get the correct answer. The only really tricky part is getting the main idea nailed down, which (I think) is a persistent issue for most ELA teachers--you should teach this after your kids are as good at main idea as you can get them.

 The step-by-step nature of the method I've devised is sort of a failsafe, but it's unrealistic--kids wouldn't use it in a casual interaction with a text. Introducing them to the concept in a more holistic, and less narrow-minded, way might have its advantages.

 The third page of the notes document is intended as a group-work sheet, but it follows the exact same logical progression as the notes, so you can use it as an extension if your class needs more direct instruction. Alternatively, you could use a bit of discussion in between each passage to ensure critical thinking.

Lesson Resources

Lesson Main ideas teacher  
Lesson Main ideas  


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