For this lesson, I stand at the door and greet each student with a brand new sharpened bat pencil. I teach this lesson on trick or treat night for our city and the students are already antsy and definitely not thinking about main idea and details. My philosophy for this day is, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em!"
This is the students' first foray into using text for main idea. They have, until this point, only used pictures. So, armed with the brand new bat pencils, I welcome my students to my class. I explain to them that they are going to use the books I've selected to create a "bat mobile". Now, the humor of this activity is lost on my little kiddos, so I have to forget about Batman and the Batmobile and give an explanation my students will really understand. I have to use examples like that thing that hangs over the baby's bed but what is mostly helpful is the model of the bat mobile I've made on my own. It helps sometimes to have a hook to get students engaged when their minds are elsewhere!!
The books I've chosen are from our school library but represent different reading levels. This allows me to assess what I truly want to assess- main idea and supporting details. I don't ever want reading level to hold my students back from the skill I"m trying to assess. Keeping this in mind, I also instruct students to use only a section of the bat book if it has multiple sections.
Once I've shown the students my mobile, they get so excited it takes a minute to calm them down and hand out the materials. I give them the rest of the time to work and while they work, I am punching holes and cutting black yarn for them to string their mobiles together.
They kiddos are noisy and excited about trick or treat, but they get their bat mobiles done for me to collect and grade.