What is Important to Know?

22 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


Students will be able to distinguish between important and less important information in different contexts.

Big Idea

Students work together to decide what is important to know!

Advanced Organizer

7 minutes

When introducing the genre of non-fiction, most 6th graders have had some experience with the characteristics.  In this lesson, I want to push them beyond the elements of non-fiction and get right into working with non-fiction text.  

To begin and to engage the students, I will refresh them on the importance of using the elements; such as titles, to communicate the topic of the piece.  

First, I will begin by giving the students the six headings pulled from different articles or pieces. I will display each heading using the Power Point and ask them to think about what they think may be written in a piece with the heading.  I want the students to see how I use the heading to predict the topic.  This is an important step when reading or writing non-fiction.  

Next, I will pass out the Headlines and Passages handout and have the students work to match the heading with the passage.  Then, they need to explain why-this will help them see how author's develop headings and how the headings play an important role in letting the audience know the topic.  

I will have the students with their shoulder partners then check their answers with a group discussion.  Finally, we can share out with the class and discuss.  


25 minutes

To help the students understand the role non-fiction literature has in our lives, I want them to see how we decide what is important to know.  First, I am going to pass out a short Article and ask the students to read the article quietly to themselves.  Once they have read the article, I will ask them "What is the first thing you remember from the article you just read?"  I'll call on several different students to answer so they see the variety  in responses.  I will write the students' responses onto the board to help demonstrate the different ideas.  

Then, I will ask the students why they think people remembered different things from the article.  I want the students to understand that every person has a different idea about what is important.  Finally, I will tell the students that today we are going to talk about what information is important to know and why.  

In order to make this lesson meaningful, I really want the students very involved and working! I will first ask the students to create a list of information that is important for students to know, other than school subjects.  I want the class to come up with 5 types of information that would be important for all of us to know.  

I will have the students first brainstorm information on their own.  I want them to start their own thinking before working with a partner.  I will give the students 1 minute of "think time".  I will have them write down the information.  

Next, I'll have the students work with their group and their individual lists to create a list of five types of information they think is important to know.  

Then, I'll have each group present and report out.  As they are reporting out, I'll write out their list onto the board.  Once every group has presented, with the students, we will develop and come up our "list".  

This will really start to set the students' brains for thinking nonfiction and to recall what they know about the genre.  

Guided Practice

20 minutes

Next, I will display the Power Point and go through the slides and information with the students discussing how to determine what is important to know.  This piece is merely conversational with the students and just preparing them for our study of non-fiction.  

To take it to the next level of understanding, I want the students to create! I will have the students work with their group to determine what information would be needed to know for different professions.  I'll give each group a profession list and a chart and have them chose three professions from the list to complete the chart.  

Remind the students to work with their peers, listen to everyone's ideas before writing anything down onto the chart.  I want the students to learn how to hold a discussion and come to an agreement.  Often times, they are focused on getting the task done so fast that they will not listen to all ideas before picking one to write; they'll just write down the first idea that comes to mind.  

As the students are working in their groups, I will circulate and monitor their discussions.  I want the students to be thinking in detail about these jobs and may need to prompt them.  

Once they have worked through the chart and answered the questions, I will have the students share out their responses and discuss their answers.  


7 minutes

It is important for the students to understand why they are learning the material.  This will create a purpose for them and help them make it meaningful to them.  For today's closure, I want them to reflect on non-fiction and how they use it in their lives.  I will give each student a Closure Slip and ask them to complete it.  I can also use this for assessment and lesson development.