Getting the Gist

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SWBAT underline and explain their main idea choice or gist of a famous figure in history.

Big Idea

To help students become better at identifying the gist of a passage, paragraph, or article they need to practice finding pieces that help them. This lesson focuses them on the gist of a famous person to practice this skill.

Modeling a Highlighter

5 minutes

While working on CLOSE reading with my class, I noticed that some of them really struggled with annotating the underlining for main points of important information. I was looking at articles that had almost every word underlined. When I asked them about this, the consensus was that all of it was important. Of course it is :-).

I modeled two examples of the same text. One text is underlined the way they have been underlining and the other I modeled only underlining specific parts of each paragraph. While I modeled the specific parts, I made sure to "show"  my thinking. I wanted the class to see how I chose that part as the part I wanted to underline. 

We then shared what they saw me do and what was different between the two papers. I ask, How did I choose what to underline? To get them thinking and to make everyone a part of the lesson, I have them answer this question in a "Think, Pair, Share." We then share what they discussed briefly. 

Underlining and Sharing

15 minutes

To practice finding the most important points I found a very old worksheet from a Teacher's Mailbox. The paper is about 10 mini biographies on various famous people of history. In each box we practice underlining only one or two key ideas about each person. You could do this with various texts. The text would be about four sentences long, and easy to quickly read. I have a student read the biography, and I model how I would find the key detail and underline only it.

With the other sections, I have students read and then give them about a minute after the reading to underline one or two key words. I have them underline "in secret" and then when we all are ready we then share. I turned this into a game to make it more engaging. After the reading, I would say "Underline and Cover!" Students would quickly underline their words, and then cover to show that they are ready. I then choose a student to share, and we decide whether or not we agree with it being the "gist." We continue this process throughout the worksheet. 

Mini Bio Creation

15 minutes

The last part of the lesson is a writing piece that is similar to the mini biographies we just used. They will use these biographies as their model. Each student will have to choose one of the two options: write a mini biography about themselves as a historical figure doing something famous in the future that has never been done before, or they can choose a different historical figure and write their biography. 

The biographies should be short and sweet. They should include the main details of the person and only the most key of details.