Main Idea and Supporting Details Structure

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SWBAT read with a partner to identify main idea and supporting details in a short passage by highlighting the main and underlining the supporting details.

Big Idea

Partners collaborate as they determine the main idea and supporting details of an informational article.

My Lens

Today I will have the student's read in a 4th/5th grade informational text that I chose to scaffold identifying the main idea and supporting details.  My goal is to give explicit instruction in identifying main idea and supporting details in a leveled text so that when they are reading in their own books they can transfer and apply what they have learned from the level text.

Before the mini-lesson, I started with a feelings circle and asked students to share their feelings by stating a main idea and then supporting it with supporting details.  As you can see in the video clip I ask other students to clarify, and add on to each other's ideas to build communication skills between students.  These are classroom discussion norms and partner norms I am continuing to scaffold during all activities.


15 minutes

"Great, thank you for bringing up your pencil for later when you practice the strategy.  Today students, you will learn how to identify the main idea of a paragraph.  I am going to show you an informational article titled and we will read the paragraph together.  Then we will stop and think, "What is the paragraph about?  Which sentence tell us?"  This can be tricky because most of the time the supporting details are super interesting and you might think a detail is the main idea.  Remember the main idea sentence is a big concrete idea.  I noticed that the main idea sentence states what the paragraph is all about.

Let's look at this article on The Weird and Wonderful Octopus.  First, I'll read the first paragraph to you."  Read.

"Let me read it again, now your job is to be deciding which sentence is the main idea. Ok turn and talk with your partner about which is the main idea."  Listen in.

Ask several people to share their partners idea of which sentence is the main idea and why they chose it. This is a way for you to monitor if the students are determining the main idea sentence of the paragraph.  If a student shares a sentence that is not the main idea sentence, ask the class if their are any other ideas.  Then call on students who have identified a different sentence as the main idea sentence.  Restate their idea and ask for a show of hands for who also thinks this sentence is the main idea.  Then ask for a volunteer to defend their thinking and explain why that is the main idea.

Continue on in this way until you have read all the paragraphs.  End by reading just the main ideas and underlining them as you read them.  This will set students up for orally summarizing the article.

"Today to give you practice with identifying the main ideas in paragraphs you may choose from two articles: one on rocks titled  or "The Day of the Dead".  You and your partner must choose the same article because you will read it and underline the main idea together.  Remember two heads are better than one when you stay focused and serious.  P.S. I want to give you a hint.  Sometimes authors either start or end their paragraph with the main idea.  But not always- as we saw in the article.  If you are not sure check out the first or last sentence- that is where it is most of the time- but again not always.  Remember there is only one main idea in each paragraph".

Show "Rock Secrets" and "Day of the Dead" using the doc cam.  Let students decide which one they want to read.  Pass them out on the rug.  Ok students, you will start up here on the rug.  Please write your name at the top.  Then in a quiet voice start reading together. When you and your partner have agreed on the main idea in the first paragraph and have underlined it raise your hand and an adult will check it and send you back to your desk to continue reading and identifying the main idea each paragraph.  If you finish please read in your book baggies.

Independent Reading

40 minutes

 Today l will lead a strategy group (15 mins) for students who needed more support with main idea and supporting details. I have a pocket chart of strategy groups that I use to organize my thinking about who I will pull for small group work each day.

I will meet with four students on the rug and intro the book The Life Cycle of Sea Horses.  I will say something like: "This is a book that tells lots of information about the life cycle of sea horses.  A life cycle is the stages in an animal's life and what happens in each stage.  In this book you will learn lots of interesting information about the life cycle of sea horses, you'll learn to use text features to support your comprehension, and today you'll be noticing how the author writes using main idea sentences and detail sentences. First, before you dive into reading it is important to become familiar with the book and its sections. Start by flipping through this book and notice how the author uses text features on each page."  

As students are flipping, I'll watch them to see how they are interacting with the book.  Then I will say something like, "As your flipping and notice something super interesting we have time today for you to share with each other."  I have kids share because that is what they naturally want to do.  If Chandler, for example, is looking on page 15 at something I direct the other students to turn to page 15, too.  Then I have Chandler share what was interesting to him- or what he learned. I encourage each student to share something. I usually make time for this flipping and sharing because it builds excitement and interest in the book. Also, in a way it honors the students and what they find fascinating.  Every student can participate and is successful in this pre-reading activity.  

After students share, I will redirect students to help me read the table of contents.  Next, I directed them to read the first two pages in the book with the task of determining the main idea of each paragraph. After determining the main idea, they will jot it on their post-it and then to jot supporting details with a bullet point to the right of the post-it.  After we discussed the main ideas of the two pages, I had the students engage in the application of what they have been learning in word work with closed and open syllables.  (See video clip.)

Later circulate throughout the classroom monitoring students' progress.  Confer with particular students.

Stop in time for students to return to their seats to fill out their reading logs.

Partner Share

5 minutes

Stop in time for students to share their thinking with other partnerships.  Collect papers.

Make sure students have time to complete their reading logs.