Lesson: Chrysanthemum - Kevin Henkes: Main Idea
Objective: Students will be able to identify and state the main idea in a fiction story.
DO NOW: List some different ways to help us understand a fictional story better.
Direct Instruction (I DO):
Write the following sentences on chart paper, and read them aloud to your class:
- Chrysanthemum loved the way that her name looked on an envelope.
- Chrysanthemum loved the way her name sounded when her mother woke her up.
- Chrysanthemum loved the way her name sounded and looked.
Explain that often, the main idea in a story is one that is repeated several times. As you read the story or hear it told, you keep seeing or hearing the main idea over and over, again and again. All of the sentences on the board tell the main idea of the story, but in different ways. I want you to be thinking about the main idea of the first part of the story while I read it.
Read until Chrysanthemum starts school. Then read the sentences you've written on the chart paper. Tell students that you are going to look back in the story and ask yourself the question, "What is the main idea?" only looking for the most important information.
"The story begins with Chrysanthemum's birth. Her parents think that she is perfect, and that the name Chrysanthemum is perfect for her. That her parents think she is perfect and that the name Chrysanthemum is perfect seem important.
"That she loves her name when she is older seems important. That Chrysanthemum loves the way that her name sounds is important. That she loves the sound of it when her mother wakes her is important. That she loves the way that her name looks is important. That she loves the way that it looks on an envelope is important."
Write on the board or chart paper, while you are thinking aloud:
Important points in this part of the story:
- Her parents think she is perfect.
- The name Chrysanthemum is perfect.
- She love how it sounds.
- She loves how it looks.
Main Idea: Chrysanthemum loves her name.
"The main idea is that Chrysanthemum loves her name. I am going to circle the main idea so that I will remember later."
Guided Practice (WE DO):
Write the following on chart paper:
- All of the students in Chrysanthemum's class have short names.
- The students tease Chrysanthemum about her name and she feels horrible.
- Victoria picks on Chrysanthemum about her name.
Read the above statements to students. Read until Chrysanthemum arrives home from her first day of school. Look back with the students to answer the question, "What is the main idea of this part of the story?"
Using student-generated responses, help them to choose the main idea statement. Provide feedback in the form of guided questions. For example:
- What do you think is most important on this page?
- Are there any words that are repeated? Repeated words give clues to the main idea.
- What do you think the author wanted to say in this part of the story?
- Is that what you would tell someone if they asked you what was most important about this part of the story?
Circle the main idea statement: "The students tease Chrysanthemum about her name, and she feels horrible." Ask students to explain their thought processes, and why they chose this statement.
Read until Chrysanthemum walks slowly to school, writing her name in the dirt. Look back at this part of the story to find the main idea, talking about each page. Ask students, "What do you think was most important on this page?"
Have students write on a post-it, 1) the main idea, 2) a statements that is not the main idea but a detain instead. Have students bring put their notes and put it on the chart paper.
Draw a T-Chart on another chart paper page and go through the students’ responses.
Discuss the various statements as to whether they are the main idea or just a detail.
Ask students to explain their thought processes. Provide feedback in the form of guided questions.
Independent Practice (YOU DO):
Read until the flowers seemed to say, "Chrysanthemum." Have students look back to find the main idea. They can use sticky notes to mark the main idea or they can write it on a piece if paper. Have students think about what happened on each page and ask themselves, "What is the most important idea?"
After reading, students will generate a list of statements like the ones above. Three details, and the main idea.
Have students work with a partner to talk about their answer. Ask them to explain their thinking to their partner, especially if they each chose a different statement. Walk around the room to monitor progress. Provide feedback as needed in the form of guiding questions. Give students a chance to change their answers after discussing with a partner.
Have the following written on chart paper:
- All of the other students stop teasing Chrysanthemum because Mrs. Twinkle thinks Chrysanthemum is an absolutely perfect name. Then Chrysanthemum knows her name is perfect.
- All of the students think Mrs. Twinkle is wonderful. She is named after a flower.
- Mrs. Twinkle thinks that the name Chrysanthemum is absolutely perfect.
Ask students to write down the number of the above statement that most clearly expresses the main idea. Have students turn and talk with a partner about the answer. Ask them to explain their thinking to their partner, especially if they each chose a different statement. Walk around the room to monitor progress.
Have students synthesize the main idea of the entire book, using the main idea statements from each part of the book to help them. Review the main idea statements from each part of the story, then read the final three choices below aloud to students.
- Chrysanthemum is a funny name.
- It's wrong to tease people about their names.
- Everybody's name is absolutely perfect—for them.
Have students state the main idea of the book and explain why their choice is the best for the main idea of the story.
Closing: Group should come back together to talk about what they found in their own books and their experiences with the strategy.
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