Lesson: Main Idea

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Lesson Objective

Scholars will be able to identify the main idea and supporting details of a fiction or non-fiction passage.

Lesson Plan

Lesson Plan:  Ronni Stefano

4th Grade Reading

January 17  Tuesday


Objective/SWBAT:  Scholars will be able to identify the main idea and supporting details of a fiction or non-fiction passage.

Do Now:  Read paragraph.  Answer “Who?” “Did What?

Direct Instruction (I DO):

Five-Finger Strategy – After reading we need to ask ourselves five questions to help us come up with the main idea and summarize what we have read:

1.    Who? – who is the passage talking about

2.    Did What? – what is going on

3.    When? – when did it take place

4.    Where?  - where is this taking place

5.    Why

Read biography passage “John Kennedy” and model the 5-finger strategy for the class.

1.   Who? –

2.   Did What? –

3.   When? –

4.   Where? –

5.   Why? –

As I’m sure you noticed, while I was reading you heard a lot of information about John Kennedy and details that should be recorded).  But what we are really looking for are the basics of what we just read.

·     Who?  Did What? When?  Where? and Why? –

When looking for the main idea, we are looking for what the passage/chapter/section is MOSTLY about.

Let’s practice a bit more with this Five-Finger Strategy…

Guided Practice (WE DO): Split students into pairs and assign them two short biographies on E.B White and Mother Theresa.    Scholars will come up with the main idea for their section. Students will then share their main ideas and teacher records them. 

 Independent Practice (YOU DO):Using a variety of articles from The Weekly Reader , have scholars co-pick an article and use the Five-Finger Strategy for themselves.
Exit Ticket:  How does the Five-Finger Strategy help you become a better reader?

**Make an anchor chart to display the Five-Finger Strategy in the classroom**





Lesson Plan:  Ronni Stefano 

4th Grade Reading

Wednesday January 18


Objective:  Students will be able to describe the author's purpose based on evidence in the text.


Do Now (5-7 minutes):  Think of a time you witnessed a magic trick; in real life or in a movie or TV show.  How did it make you feel?  What did you think?  Where you skeptical?  Explain the trick and your reaction(s).

Opening (5 minutes): 

· Allow students to share their answers to the DO NOW.

Share discussion about this.

Today we are going to learn the purpose for why authors write non-fiction text.  And the answer to this question is Authors always have a purpose for writing what they do.  Why would an author want to write about this?  What is his purpose in doing so?

Direct Instruction (I DO): 

Before I even start reading, I have to ask myself some questions to help me to start thinking about why the author would be writing this:

· Did the author try to make me laugh?  

· Did the author want to tell me a story?

· Did the author try to amuse me?

· Did the author give me facts?

· Did the author try to teach me something?

Knowing the authors purpose is going to:

  • prepare your mind for the type of information you are reading
  • make the article easier to summarize
  • make it easier for you to discriminate between the article's main idea and important details

Read several short paragraphs and decide the author’s purpose for each paragraph.


There are also different types of non-fiction texts. 

  • Almanac
  • Autobiography
  • Biography
  • Blueprint
  • Book report
  • Diagram
  • Diary
  • Dictionary
  • Documentaries
  • Encyclopedia
  • Essay
  • History
  • Journal
  • Newspaper
  • Letter
  • Literary Review
  • Natural history
  • Photograph
  • Science book
  • Scientific paper
  • Statute
  • Textbook

Why do author’s  write non-fiction text?

Guided Practice (WE DO):    

Use a mixture of non-fiction and fiction texts for students to choose from:

Have student choose from the selections and go through the checklist with their chosen book.

Students will be in pairs and completing three checklists.

Stress before letting students move to Independent Practice that there will always be a question on state tests about author’s purpose.  With non-fiction, you can already knock out one answer; TO ENTERTAIN, because non-fiction will always be written to inform or persuade.

Come back and have a discussion about author’s purpose and the book that were chosen from the pile…why were they fiction/non-fiction, and why?! 


Independent Practice (YOU DO):

 Students choose from a selection of grade level magazine/newspaper articles and use the checklist to figure out the author’s purpose.  Answer the questions about the author’s purpose. 



Exit ticket:  Why do author’s write fiction?  Non-fiction?




Lesson Plans:  Ronni Stefano  4th Grade Reading

Thursday  January 19

Scholars are in the library working on library skills, literature groups, paired reading.




Lesson Plans:  Ronni Stefano  4th Grade Reading

Friday  January 20

Objective:   Students will identify and use key vocabulary from the text using context clues.


Do Now:  Scholars define unfamiliar word from context clues in the sentence.

Opening:  What happens when you come to a word we don’t know the meaning of when we are reading??  Do you skip it?  Do you just read through it and hope it doesn’t matter?  Do you stop and use the dictionary?  Do you ask the teacher for help?  These strategies can lead to a lot of confusion or extra time away from your reading.

Throughout the text, you are going to be word detectives. There is a way for word detectives to find the meaning of new words by themselves:  Authors sometimes give clues called context clues. Context clues are hints that help readers discover the meaning of unfamiliar words.


Direct Instruction (I DO):

Different Kinds of Context Clues

Explain that context clues are words that come before or after the new word and that there are several different kinds of context clues.

We are going to use the acronym; SALED to help us remember the different types of context clues:

Synonym–Sometimes an unknown word is defined by the use of a synonym.

Synonyms usually appear with commas, dashes, or parentheses are used.

·     Example:  The wardrobe, or closet, opened the door to a brand new world.

Antonym–Sometimes an unknown word is defined by the use of an antonym.

Antonym clues will often use Signal Words e.g., however, not, but, in contrast

·     Example: He signaled a looey, not a right turn.

Logic–Your own knowledge about the content and text structure may provide clues to the meaning.

Logic clues can lead to a logical guess as to the meaning of an unknown word.

·     Example: He petted the canine, and then made her sit up and beg for a bone.

Example–When part of a list of examples or if the unknown word itself provides an example, either provides good clues to meaning. Example clues will often use transition words e.g., such as, for example, like

·     Example: Adventurous, rowdy, and crazy pioneers all found their way out West.

Definition – the author puts the definition right into the sentence.

·     Example:  There are many theories; scientific ideas, about what made the Ice Ages happen.

We can use these clues to help us decipher various words while we are reading

I will make sure to have these clues displayed in the room in order for you to reference these throughout our reading time (see attached file).


Guided Practice (WE DO):

Write these sentences on the dry erase board, underlining the unfamiliar words. Do not write the answers in parentheses.

·     The joey, which is a baby kangaroo, peeked out of his mother's pocket. (definition)

·     The beach was covered with debris like paper and cans, and the children picked up all the trash. (synonym)

·     The ancient dress looked like new after she washed it. (antonym)

·     Every day he brought a delectable, delicious, wonderful, yummy lunch to school. (example)

·     My mother used to pull across the bay to catch flounder. Pull is a word that is sometimes used to mean row. (explanation) 


Independent  Practice:  As they read and come across a word that they do not know, follow the steps modeled in GP.  Using the Mystery Word sheet they will use context clues to come up with their own definition.

Exit Ticket:  Context clues comprehension paragraphs.


Lesson Resources

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