The Little Red Hen

8 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


SWBAT identify the central message by identifying and analyzing supporting details.

Big Idea

Teach valuable life skills as students engage in a lesson about the central message. Keep students singing about the big idea all year!


10 minutes

Common Core Connection

This lesson directly relates to RL1.2 which is about using supporting details to determine the central message. In this lesson I refer to the central message as the "big idea," because I found a cool song to go with the skill. This seems to help bridge the confusing gap between supporting details and the central message.  The students have also already worked on coming up with details that support a non-text theme (see my cupcakes lesson), so they have a strong foundation to engage in this more sophisticated work in today's lesson.

Lesson Overview 

The students will get a chance to analyze The Little Red Hen, from You Read to me and I'll Read to You by Mary Ann Hoberman, to find the key details and determine a central message. Then they will get to work with a partner on finding details and a central message in their own books. 

There are two management strategies that help me keep my class on task and engaged throughout this lesson: I use collaborative partners (peanut butter jelly partner) and we transition often.

Introductory Activity

I sit the students beside their collaborative partner in the lounge area.  I tell them that we are going to use details from this text to support a big idea.  Then I make them say, "I can use details from the text to support the "big idea" central message."

We watch this clip to get excited for the lesson:




Guided Practice

20 minutes

I read the text, Little Red Hen by Mary Ann Hoberman, to the class and stop at certain points to get them to generate details.  First the talk to their partner and then I call on somebody to share their detail.  I write it on the board.  After we get four details up I then ask them to talk to their partner about the big idea.  Last I select one learner to share their idea (discussion).  We use thumbs up or thumbs down to agree or disagree.  If somebody does disagree I often ask them to expain themselves.

The stopping points:

Page 1- What kind of hen is she? What words tell you that?

Page 2- What did her friends do?

Page 10- What happened? What do you predict she will do?

Page 12- What did she do?

Page 13- What happened?  Is there a word you could use to describe her friends?

Page 19- What is she doing and how is she doing it?

Last page - What happened?

So, What is the central message? (If you want to receive things you should work.)

Group Work

10 minutes

The students go to their desk and work with partner to find details in an independent reading book. Then they write a sentence to tell what the central message/big idea is. If they are stumped, they can just write the theme. They write their details and sentence on a slip of paper that's folded into 4 sections.

I walk around and monitor.  I listen for discussion and I ask them to explain why they made the choices they did in what to record.  I want them to justify their decisions.  This lets me know if they understand or are just guessing.  I use a clip board and class list to mark off their names. Those who need more work on the skill will get additional lessons during Response to Intervention.

Class Reflection

10 minutes

I remind them that the central message is the big idea.  I tell them that we have pulled details out of The Little Red Hen and created a main idea.  Then I remind them that they were able to do this in their own book, too.  I explain that we are gathering meaning as we read.  I remind them that when we read we must make movies in our mind.

I like to allow them to present and practice their listening and speaking skills at the end of every lesson. They learn so much from each other and really enjoy presenting.  Prior to this I revisit all the rules of speaking and listening.

Then I have student volunteers share their details and central messages.


10 minutes

Last, I remind them that we will continue to look for meaning in sentences and stories that we read.  I chant, "The main idea is the big idea." They echo.