Lesson: Main Idea: Revising Main Ideas
Point: Writers organize their writing to help the reader figure out the main idea. Readers use the headings think about whether the main idea is big enough to cover each section of the text. Readers revise their thinking about the main idea if they notice the main idea is too narrow.
Link: We’ve been talking a lot this week about how writers organize their writing to help the reader figure out the main idea. We have talked about how the main idea is usually in the introduction or conclusion. Writers often also organize their writing using headings. Today, I am going to show you how you can use these headings to evaluate your main idea.
Teaching: If an author is writing a long chapter or book, he or she might organize it into sections. I know that you have learned about headings in 2nd grade – headings tell what that whole part is about. You can use these headings to see whether you have the right main idea. The main idea has to be big enough that it tells what the whole chapter is about, not just one part of the chapter. So one way to test your main idea is to see whether it includes all the section in it. Let me show you how I could do this. Let’s look at the main idea for the chapter “Staying Warm.” I thought that the main idea was “Animals that stay in cold places during the winter have adapted their bodies and behaviors so that they can survive the cold.” Let me see if that main idea is big enough to cover the headings in this chapter. [Think aloud to show that it does cover all headings.] Now, let me look at another chapter. I though the main idea of “Adapting to the Seasons” was “Animals adapt to the cold by hibernating.” Let me see if that is big enough to cover the headings in this chapter. [Think aloud and notice that it isn’t big enough.] So, I need to change my main idea to make it bigger. I think I will change it to “Animals adapt to the cold by hibernating or by storing enough food to survive the winter.” Readers, did you notice how I changed the main idea because it was too narrow – it didn’t include everything the chapter was about.
Active Engagement: Now I’m going to give you a chance. Let’s look back at the chapter “Adapting to the dark.” When we looked at this chapter last week, a lot of people said the main idea was “Animals that live in the dark use echolocation.” [Write that up.] Reread the chapter and see if you agree. [Pass out copies of the chapter.] Turn and talk to your partner about it. [Get ideas from them on how to rewrite this main idea.]
Link: Readers, the headers are very helpful in deciding whether your main idea is big enough to include all the sections in the chapter or article. Today and every day when you read non-fiction, make sure your main idea is big enough to include all the sections.
Have them pass back the “Adapting to the Dark” section because you are going to use it tomorrow.
Share: [Have people share main ideas from their post-its with partners or whole group]
Materials: How Do Animals Adapt?, copies of “Adapting to the dark”
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