Main Idea All About Ant and Bats

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SWBAT locate the main idea and supporting details in an informational text.

Big Idea

Get the class all excited about the main idea by reading about ants and bats.


5 minutes

Common Core Connection and Introduction

The standard that this lesson focuses on is RI.1.2 and it states that the students need to retell and identify the main topic in an informational text. So, I actually focus finding the main idea and supporting details, because I want to deepen the complexity of the lesson. This lesson allows students to work in small groups (Peanut Butter Jelly Partner) and do guided practice to learn how to determine the main idea.  I like to use graphic organizers to help my students organize their ideas.  I think this helps the learner generate the main idea they have created a graphic organizer.

Students begin the lesson on the lounge, move to their desks for guided practice, then to the center tables, and last to the lounge (Transition).  The groups are mixed ability to support peer collaboration and to allow students to help each other.

I selected two text that are highly complex, because they will be in ability groups for support and I will be echo reading the text prior to their work.  I feel that my students need exposure to advanced text. In the guided practice we read All About Ants, and in the partner work we read All About Bats.


I like to project the lesson image on the Promethean Board and explain that we are going to read a passage about ants today.  Then we will use a graphic organizer to locate the main idea.  I tell the students this so they know what to expect.  I also share that students will create their own graphic organizer for another text with a small group.

I state the lesson goal, I can identify the main idea from an informational text. I ask my students to restate the goal, tell a friend, and then say it with me.  I feel that this strategy helps my students understand the lesson goal.

Guided Practice

20 minutes

First we echo read the text, All About Ants. I draw a graphic organizer (Board Work) that I got from the Florida Center for Reading Research on the board. Then, I share that we are going to write the main idea in the first train, which is the one on the top left. The other three are for details. 

So, I remind the class that they need to look in the first sentence and the title to help them determine the main idea. I read both aloud as the students circle them. This is how we begin to evidence the text. Next, the students talk to their partner about what the main idea might be, and I listen. If I see a struggling group, they just look at each other, I begin asking questions. "What is the big idea? How can you put the title and first sentence together?"

Students discuss possible supporting details with their peanut butter jelly partner. Then, several volunteers share their ideas with the entire class.  The students also have to justify their response, by sharing where they found the answer in the text. Then the entire class highlights the evidence. I also model highlighting since I have to text projected on the Smart Board, because students struggle with finding the text. I also encourage partners to help each other to speed us up.

After we have our three details and main idea on the graphic organizer, the class gives thumbs up, thumbs down, or hang ten. Hang ten means I would say the same thing as the speaker. This is a fun way to get everyone engaged in the lesson. 


Partner Work

20 minutes

I echo read the text, All About Bats, with the students to clear up any questions and vocabulary. Then they reread and fill in the graphic organizer (C.029.SS).  Students (Collaboration) are seated at the center tables and I have all of their materials ready.  

During their group work time I walk around and ask questions.  I listen to see where I need me to intervene and add support. Some of my questions (Questioning 1Questioning 2) are:

What is the big idea?

What details seem important?

What details must be there for the text to really share the main idea?

What detail cannot be left out?

I also listen to see if we need to celebrate any one going above and beyond.  Students who are going above and beyond can move their clip to blue.  This means I write up a positive office referral and the Principal gives them a certificate in front of the whole school during morning meeting.  

Student Reflection

5 minutes

Students practice their speaking and listening skills as they present their work to the class. This is also a nice time to evaluate student work for me. I model academic feedback and try to get my students to give their peers feedback.  I only allow two or three students to present because of the time limit, but if students want to present during recess or snack I allow them to do so.


5 minutes

I read students a short passage and ask them to write the main idea on the sticky note.  They place the sticky note on the Tweet Board (Tweet Board). I read several of the responses as they are placed up. I do allow students to just put a happy face on the note if they do not have any idea.  This is how I differentiate.  

Students are informed that we are going to continue to read informational text and locate the main idea.  I ask the students to repeat the lesson goal: I can determine the main idea in an informational text.