Common Core Connection
This lesson focuses on RI1.2, because the students are going to use supporting details to determine the main idea. It also touches on RI1.1, because the students are asked, "What is the main idea." I also use questioning to help the students determine important details and eventually determine the main idea. In addition, the students present their work, and practice speaking a great deal. So, this involves SL1.1.
This lesson allows students to work in collaborative groups (Peanut Butter Jelly Partner) to read a passage, write the main idea, and write two details that support the main idea. Students begin working on the lounge or carpet area by discussing with their partner what we might be learning about based on the image projected on the board. First graders seem to need a transition (Transitions) every twenty minutes so we move to the desks for the guided practice, to the center tables for the partner work, and the class will reflect and close back at the lounge.
Heterogeneous groups seem to work best for me so I try to keep all of the groups mixed during these whole group lessons. Mixed ability groups allow higher students to engage in evaluation and to have to explain their reasoning based on the understanding of their peers. This kind of grouping also allows students to learn to work together and learn from each other.
Excitement fills the air as the students laugh when they see the image of the huge dog and the little Chihuahua. First graders are eager to share their stories about their dogs and I allow two students to share aloud. This activate the students thinking about dogs and gets the class engaged. They have now bought in to the lesson and are ready to hear what I have to say. So, I explain that we are going to determine the main idea of an informational text. We will work on the one about Chihuahuas together, and then they will work with their partner to do one on their own.
As students transition to the desks they chant, "I can identify the main idea and supporting details." They say it three times because it keeps the energy up, focuses the class, and allows them to understand the goal.
Now that my class is seated in the desks they echo read the text with me. This means I read each sentence and the students read it aloud after me. It is a nice way to scaffold instruction so everyone can read the text. Then the students talk to their peanut butter jelly partner about what the main idea might be. The peanut butter jelly partner is a partner I assign and they are of different ability. I ask questions like: What was the text about? What is the author trying to tell you? I ask the students to reread the title, first sentence, and last sentence and talk about what the main idea might be. I remind the class that the main idea is the big idea. Then my students agree or disagree and I write it on the board.
As I try to promote collaboration and get my students talking to each other I ask them to discuss two details that will support the main idea. After a few minutes I ask two volunteers to share their responses. Then students agree or disagree using thumbs up and thumbs down. I ask several students to explain why they agree to engage them in a little higher order thinking. Then I write the selected responses on the board (Board Work). I remind the class that the details have to support or relate to the main idea and they have to be in the text.
Students read a Read Works Passage called Should Dogs Work. In pairs students(Collaboration) work to come up with a main idea and two details. They actually are beginning to write a paragraph, but I do not tell them this. I just tell the class to write the main idea, then write two details from the text after the main idea. So, they write three sentences on a piece of paper.
The students do not number their paper, but this is what they are going to create.
1. Main idea
2. Supporting Detail
3. Supporting Detail
Some questions I ask the groups are: What is the text about? Once I get that answer I ask: What do they do? Then you have the main idea. If you put it into your own words. The main idea is just the big idea. It is not specific.
If my students struggle I reread the text to them. Then I ask them to reread the title, first sentence, and last sentence. I think this helps students find the main idea on their own (Student Work).
This is when we move back to the lounge to get up close and see what they wrote and evaluate it. Evaluation is a higher order thinking activity and for first graders I find they need me to model what is appropriate to say to a peer as feedback. I give the class some examples. I think the details do or do not support the main idea. I always add my two cents to the peer feedback and we learn from each other.
By allowing two or three students to present their work the class gets to see examples of exemplar work and learn what needs to be done to make some work better. Students also get to practice their speaking and listening skills as they speak. I am very proactive in explaining how to speak loud and clear because I find some students speak very softly when in front of a group.
Students work on their communication skill as they tell their partner one thing they learned today. I listen and share what I heard. After that the students build upon what I said and add their own response. This is how I create discourse among my students.
Last, I restate the lesson goal. My students echo, tell a friend, and then say it with me. This repetition builds memory and makes learning personal.