Summer Days Part 1

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SWBAT ask and answer questions to understand the main idea in paragraphs and the chapter.

Big Idea

Summer comes to the farm and the air is filled with its scent as lilacs bloom, birds sing their joyous melodies, and the children play. Summertime is for all to enjoy.


7 minutes

Context and Overview

As I read Charlotte's Web with my students I am teaching different skills. Today, I am teaching the students about main idea and supporting details. I am also involving them in a close reading of two paragraphs so that they can identify the main idea of both and so that they can see the connection with both. Today, we are working with the chapter, "Summer Days," and the paragraphs I am focusing both touch upon summer. 

I will model with one paragraph, and then students will work independently with the other.

Then, to analyze how the paragraphs connect, we will gather on the carpet for Socratic Seminar. 

On the rug

After I share the objective, I ask my students to tell me what main idea is. First, I ask them to pair share what is a main idea? I like to involve my students in academic language:

Then, I share a few out loud:

I like to ask my students questions like these because they give me an informal way to assess their knowledge and to help the focus on the learning for the lesson. This is one way I help to validate their knowledge.

I share a poster of the main idea so that my students clearly understand the objective for today's lesson.

Modeling Finding Main Idea and Supporting Details

30 minutes

I am having a close reading of a paragraph in the chapter, "Summer Days" to model how to find the main idea.

How am I carrying it out? First, I made a copy of pages 42-45 for the students. We are going to look at the first paragraph that starts the chapter, on page 42. I have my students read it once and then again.

I tell them they are going to be highlighting the main idea in a moment. How will they be able to identify the main idea? I ask them to think of the following:

  1. Ask yourself, “What is the selection mostly about?”
  2. Look at the title.
  3. Look at the pictures. (If applicable.)
  4. Sometimes the main idea is stated in the first or last sentence.
  5. Look for clue words that are used repeatedly.

I let them know that after hearing this, if they are ready to highlight the main idea, to go ahead and do this, if they need more time, then they can reread the paragraph again. I give them a few moments to do so as I walk around. I am happy to see that some have found the main idea of the paragraph.

Next, I have a discussion about what sentences they highlighted and ask them to explain why. I am curious to hear their explanation and see whether the process I share with them helped them in identifying the main idea.

In working with English Language Learners, I work on making language tasks as concrete as possible. I work to show written language in different ways and I seek to differentiate the main idea from the supporting details and that is why I planned for the next step.

I have transcribed the paragraph onto sentence strips. In this way, as students are identifying the main idea and supporting details, I will be placing the sentence strips on the blue chart. I am helping my students pay close attention to what they reading. I proceed by placing the the main idea sentence strip on the blue chart, after we build consensus. Then, I proceed to add the supporting details. I ask them to read the paragraph again and to identify the rest of the supporting details.

Another reason I wrote the paragraph on sentence strips is to demonstrate to my students how supporting details can be moved around but the main idea remains the same. This is the completed task.

Additionally, to give more support to my English Language Learners, I read the paragraph with a Summer Days powerpoint after we finish identifying the main idea and supporting details. This powerpoint has pictures to help them visualize the splendors of summer and to help my students deepen their knowledge of the story.

Brain Break

2 minutes

I don't always give my students brain breaks because a transition from the table to the carpet can help them get reenergized, but when they have been sitting for a while and will continue to do so, then I feel a brain break is appropriate.

Basically, I have them take deep breaths and have them move their arms and legs to stretch out.

Independent Practice of Locating Main Idea and Supporting Details

20 minutes

Now, I give my students the opportunity to apply what I have taught them. They will be working independently in finding the main idea and supporting details with another paragraph. This paragraph is found on pg. 43 and 44. They are are to repeat the process I thought them. I let them know that they need to read the paragraph at least two times before attempting to find the main idea. Rereading is a powerful strategy which aids comprehension.

I will walk around and provide assistance by asking them, "What is the paragraph mostly about? How can you use the title of the chapter and the illustrations to help you out?"

The students are using a template which I created to write the Main Idea and Supporting Details.

Before proceeding to write the main idea on the template, I have asked them to come to me and check with me whether they found the main idea or not. If they did not, I will guide them with the questions I asked earlier. I feel it is important to give students feedback. Learning shouldn't be a guessing game!

Here are some samples of their work:

Sample of Finding Main 4

Sample of Finding Main Idea

When all students are done, I will show them the second part of the powerpoint I used earlier. I have included photos for this paragraph too. They will read the paragraph as I move through the powerpoint for this paragraph. 

Socratic Seminar

10 minutes

So now that the students have had a chance to work independently, I am gathering them on the carpet for Socratic Seminar.

We are discussing the question, how are these paragraphs connected? I am looking for them share how these two paragraphs are about summer, nature, how life is everywhere, and the things that happen during summer.

In responding to the question they need to respond with complete sentences and include evidence from the paragraphs. Here is part of our discussion.

Both Paragraphs Talk About Plants

Both Paragraphs Talk About Summer

Before proceeding with the discussion, we review the rules for participation and discuss why we meet. The Handing-Off Chart helps my students who need support with how to engage another student in discussion.

I have attached a document that gives more detailed information on how I implement the process for Socratic Seminar in my classroom.

Today, I am closing the lesson during this time, by reviewing our objective and asking them whether we met it or not.