Analyzing Key Ideas and Details - Day 1 Honeybees

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SWBAT analyze and record the key ideas and details in an informational text using the structure of the text to help them.

Big Idea

You mean there's a certain structure to a piece of writing?

Teacher Background Knowledge and Preparation

     I really only have about 30 minutes each day to teach writing.  I'm not talking about my whole English Language Arts block, I'm just talking strictly about writing.  I've devised several units on expository writing that are shorter lessons (about 30 minutes) that are spread out over the course of about a week because I'm sure there are many of you out there that experience the same time crunches I do.  

     I developed this lesson so that it covers both reading and writing skills.  I did this intentionally because I wanted my students to see how reading and writing are so strongly related.  As a teacher, if you explicitly teach this connection your students reading and writing skills become stronger.   

     For today's lesson you will need your Smartboard lesson and a student packet for each of your students.  I also have my students take out two different colors of highlighters.  We highlight the main idea of each section in one color and the details in another color.

Introducing the Objective and Guided Practice

10 minutes

      I wanted the students to understand the purpose behind what we were doing so I simply stated, "Today our objective is to see how an author structures a story so we can understand what the author is telling us and use that information to write a good story of our own.  Today we are going to look at the author's introductory sentences and then look at the different parts of our story.  For each part we are going to record the key idea and the details."

     I wanted to make sure my students understood what to do. We started with the introductory sentences on the Smartboard lesson. We looked at how an author writes their introductory sentences so the audience will want to keep reading and so that the audience will understand the key idea the author wants to convey. Then we went to the first part of the story. Since we've already had several lessons on main idea and details I quickly connected this concept to how the author often structures a paragraph with a topic sentence about the main idea and then supporting details. I said, "Remember, the main idea of the section is what the section is mostly about.  The details help support the main idea. "  Since I know that it is easier for young students to find the details I modeled how to start with the 2nd sentence.  We highlighted that with our highlighter and then recorded that for the first detail on our graphic organizer.  When we came to the last sentence I said, "Remember the main idea can be the first sentence of the last sentence.  Let's see if the first or the last sentence is our main idea. "  I gave students some time to discuss with their table mates which sentence they thought was the detail sentence and which one was the main idea.  After our discussion we recorded these on the graphic organizer on the student packet.

Independent Practice

20 minutes

     I purposely set this activity up so that students might struggle a bit in order to challenge them and meet the rigorous requirements of the CCSS standards.  I wrote the 2nd part of the story making sure the details came first and the main idea was the last sentence in the paragraph.  I didn't want students to see a formulaic structure and just aimlessly start recording things on their graphic organizer.  I made sure the students understood what to do and then set them to work.

     I had to scaffold this activity because I have some students who really struggle with reading and writing.  I want to offer my support so they could access this grade level text.  I brought my strugglers back to the reading table and we all read the 2nd section together.  We read this section twice to build fluency.  We then went to the 2nd sentence and started talking about whether that was a detail or not.  I continued offering support to these students but they still had to do the work. 

     While my strugglers were writing, I moved around to other parts of the room.  If students wrote a detail as a main idea, instead of telling them they were wrong, I would ask them questions such as, "What is this part of the story about?  How do you know? What details support the main idea?"  I wanted my students to realize their mistake and correct it and not see me as the "be all, end all of knowledge".  I am really working on being more of a facilitator of learning instead of the main act I guess you could say. 



2 minutes

     Since this lesson was going to take several days, I wanted to quickly sum up the lesson and get them excited for tomorrow's lesson.   I said, "Today we looked at the structure of an informational text and saw how this structure helped us understand the key ideas and details in a text.  We are going to take take what we learned today and start structuring our own piece of writing tomorrow."