Lesson: Main Idea

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Lesson Objective

Students will be able to state the main idea after completing a story/chapter map of “The Secret Zoo”

Lesson Plan

Objective:  Students will be able to state the main idea after completing a story/chapter map of “The Secret Zoo”

Lesson Plan

Standard/Code/Name: Main Idea 

Do Now:  How is the City of Species a “union of humans and animals, city and nature” (p. 162)?  Do you know of any real places like the City of Species?  Explain. 

Opening:  When thinking about main idea, there are a lot of things that go into it.  We aren’t just going to focus on the main idea, but instead focus on everything that goes into it.  Main idea is complicated and includes characters, setting, and the plot.  We are really going to look in depth at the main idea by exploring these three aspects of a story. 

Direct Instruction (I DO): 

CHARACTERS: All stories have characters that the author presents in the story.  These are the easiest elements for students to locate.  We have already started and continue to do this with our Character Wheel.

As we read today we are going to be encountering a couple new characters.

Model documenting the new character (Mr. Darby) in Chapter 37: 

CHARACTERS:  Characters may be people, animals, or objects that the writer uses to tell the story.  As you read, write the names of the characters found in the story/chapter.

Character's name

Tell something that the author has written about this character.





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SETTING:  Writers, to add interest, always let readers know where and when the story takes place (for example, what period of history, or seasons of the year).  Sometimes the writer gives so many details it seems to paint a picture you can see in your imagination.  These details are called the "setting" of the story.

SETTING:  Writers always let the reader know where and when the story/chapter is written.  Look for clues that the writer gives about the setting.

HOW the setting influences the chapter

How the author tells you WHERE this chapter took place.

Other places in this chapter - did it all happen in the same place?







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In “The Secret Zoo” we have encountered many different settings and you have done a couple different visualization exercises in DO NOW’s and Homework.

Explain how the setting influences the story/chapter.

Model using this chart with Chapter 38.

PLOT:  Every story has ongoing events, plus actions by characters.  A writer usually starts a story by introducing characters and problems that they face.  The sequence of main actions by characters, as they respond to and solve problems, is called the plot. 

PLOT:  Every story has action.  A writer usually starts a story by telling you about the characters and problems they face.  The list of actions they take to deal with their problems is the plot. 

1.  Write down the first problem that a character faced when this story began. ____________________________________________

2.  How is the character fixing this problem? ____________________________________________

3.  Does the character have a new problems along the way??? ____________________________________________

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MAIN IDEA:  A main idea may be a big situation facing the characters (such as a war, or a journey to discover new land), and how they reacted. Or, a main idea can be a lesson learned in reading the story.  Sometimes a single sentence tells the story's main lesson.  Examples: In the story of David and Goliath, the main idea is that God gave amazing strength to a young man when he put all his trust in the living God.  In the story of the Three Little Pigs, the lesson is that those who prepare carefully will be safe through all kinds of dangers.  Another way to tell the lesson is this -- when a person only plays and wastes time, someday he will be very sorry for not preparing wisely for the future.

MAIN IDEA:  What is the MAIN idea of the story/chapter you have just read?  Can you find three facts that prove this idea is important?  ____________________________________________





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Explain how important it is for students to be able to provide evidence to support why they say what they say.

Model providing evidence for you main idea.

Guided Practice (WE DO):

Have students get into groups of 2-3 and got through the processes modeled above (see attached file).

Independent Practice (YOU DO):  Read Chapter 39 and write a main idea for this chapter.   

Closing:  Main idea helps us as good readers to be able to better understand what is happening in the story/chapter that we are reading.  Now, you have many different strategies to help you come up with the Main Idea.  Use these to help your understanding when you are doing your own reading.

Homework:  Students will read Chapters 40-42 and complete homework questions (see attached file).

Lesson Resources

Lesson 44 HOMEWORK   Homework
Lesson 44   Lesson Plan
Lesson 44 MAIN IDEA   Classwork


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