Lesson: Main Idea Centers

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Lesson Objective

Students will be able to identify and explain stated and implied main idea of text

Lesson Plan

Do Now:

What is the relationship between the main idea and author's purpose?

Why are they both important to identify and explain?
Today we are going to work in centers to practice the identifying and explaining the main idea of a text.  Before we begin let's review the key things a main idea is:

always one sentence

never a question

usually the beginning or end of the first paragraph

tells what the text is about.

And how does all this relate to the author's purpose?  Why is it important to understand what the author's point is? (variety of answers)

Direct Instruction:

Teacher will explain to students that today they are reviewing what they know about main idea and practicing identifying and explaining main idea.  Teacher will announce that you will be in groups/centers to practice main idea.

Teacher should explain his/her individual rules on centers.

Each center will have a different passage.


Guided  & Independent Practice:

Activity 1/Oral Recaps
A quick way to practice identifying main ideas is to have students orally state the main point of a passage. You can read a short paragraph or excerpt from a story for this activity. After reading the passage, a student volunteer gives a verbal recap of it. The rest of the class decides if the student stated the main idea or the main focus of the passage. Others can help narrow the focus or help eliminate extra details. Working together as a group helps the students see the process of identifying the main idea.


Activity 2/Bubble Maps
Bubble maps are a simple way for middle school students to break down the main idea and supporting details of a reading passage. You can create a bubble map template or have the students draw their own. The basic bubble map has a circle in the middle where the main idea goes. Lines are drawn out from the middle circle. At the end of each line, the students write a supporting detail for the main idea. This gives the kids a visual representation of the breakdown.


Activity 3/Picture Main Ideas
Using a picture to practice the main idea is an efficient review. It also works well for middle school students struggling with the concept. A picture with several details is selected from a book or magazine. The students write down what is happening in the picture. They should write the overall point of the picture, which represents its main idea. They can then write details in the picture that provide evidence of the main idea.


Activity4/Create a Title
The title of an article or story often relates to its main idea. Having students come up with a title for a paragraph or story they hear is a good method of teaching the main idea. You'll want to keep the middle school students from seeing the cover of the book or title of the article. After reading it to them, the students write a title that fits the main idea of the passage. Sharing the title ideas gives students a chance to discuss their thought processes.


Which activity did you find the most helpful in identifying main idea?  why?

Lesson Resources

Bubble Graphic Organizer  
Picture Graphic Organizer   Classwork
Blank Lined Paper   Classwork


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