Determining Importance

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SWBAT determine the main idea of a text; recount the key details and how they support the main idea of a text.

Big Idea

Students will distinguish between important details and non-important details.


15 minutes

In a previous lesson we worked with finding the main idea and supporting details by changing the title into a question. This lesson was an extension of that lesson to give students more practice with the concept. We began by using a T-Chart. On the board, I had a short passage with a title and a T-Chart to model. I asked students to make the title a question that we could answer through our reading. I recorded the question on the left side of the chart. For the modeling, I created hot pink arrows for students to highlight key words that could possibly be clues to our question. I simply used sticky note sheets that I cut into the shape of arrows. As I read, I asked students to look for words that were in the title that could help us answer our question. As students spotted a word or phrase, they raised their hands and I called on students to come up and point out the word with the arrow. We recorded these in the middle of the T-Chart. When we were finished, I asked the class to help me answer the question so we could determine the main idea of the passage. We recorded the answer on the left side of the chart.

Group Practice

15 minutes

Next, I had children work in groups to practice doing the same thing. I gave students a short passage written on a chart to use in their group and a T-Chart for the group. I usually look for short passages on the internet or just take them straight form a story in our basil that isn't going to be used as an anchor text. I would choose a passage relevant to something students are learning about. Each student was given an arrow and responsible for finding one word or phrase from the title that would help them answer the question. I use sticky notes and cut them in the shape of an arrow. Students can also use the smaller sticky note arrows found at office supply stores. As students read the passage together and highlighted their information with the arrow, students filled in their T-Chart. Students then had to use their information to answer the title question. Once each group was done, they shared their passage.

Independent Practice

15 minutes

Now that students had the opportunity to practice this strategy with their group, I wanted them to try it on their own. Armed with the little sticky arrows that are used to stick on important documents to direct you where to sign, a T-Chart and a passage of their own, students completed the activity on their own. I worked with individual students during this time who needed further guidance and encouraged others that needed a little nudging. Students were asked to answer their question and state the main idea when they were done.

Wrap Up/Closing

10 minutes

I called on some students to share and then ended the lesson with a discussion on how looking for words in the title helps find the main idea and support it with details. I looked for students to be able to express this to me as a result of going through this activity.