Prior to the shift in common core, supporting details were taught much like this image. Supporting details were opinions, facts, or examples of the main idea. Scholars were not asked to describe how that detail supported the main idea. Therefore, my scholars are great at finding supporting details, but they're not so great at describing that relationship.
The diagram in the resources section shows a bit more about how details support main ideas by explaining, developing or proving the main idea. I try to simplify these ideas a bit for my fifth graders while still getting to the heart of the issue: How do details support main ideas?
Show scholars the same picture that we discussed yesterday. Today, scholars answer the question: How do the details support the main ideas? I'm looking for the following response: "The details support the text because they tell you more about what you might find in that section of Wal-Mart. For example, one main idea is that they sell entertainment items at Wal-Mart. The supporting details tell you the exact types of entertainment you would expect to find at Wal-Mart. Therefore, the details support by describing the main idea in more detail."
If scholars have a tough time with this, you can scaffold using the following questions:
"One of the main ideas is that Wal-Mart sells entertainment items. A detail that relates to that idea is X-boxes. How does the X-box relate to the idea Wal-Mart sells entertainment items?"
I give scholars 3 minutes to think, 30 seconds to share. Then, I call 2 friends from my cup and 1 volunteer. Again, I do this so that scholars are accountable to doing the work with partners, so that I do not constantly call the same scholars to share and to give scholars who want to share the opportunity to do so.
When I taught this skill last week, I realized that scholars could identify supporting details, but they could not say how those details related to the main idea. As we explored this together, I realized that it was helpful to the scholars to classify supporting detail by the type of information it provided (as related to the main idea).
Most supporting details tell one of the following: who, what, where, when, why or how of the main idea. Scholars first classify what the supporting detail tells, then they are able to more successfully describe that relationship.
I tell scholars, "Today, we are going to continue to describe how details support the main idea. From last week, we learned the supporting detail may tell the who, what, where, when, how or why of the main idea. Today, we're going to practice using that information to describe the relationship."
I ask scholars to copy the following into their notebooks. We don't take notes often in my class, but I always emphasize that we are all different learners. For our kinesthetic and visual learners, note taking is VERY important! I give them 3 minutes to copy the notes below. (This is a slide on my SMART board). If you prefer, you could print this notes document out and have students glue it into their notebooks. This works well as an accommodation for students with scribe.
*Details support main ideas by telling us one of the following:
___ What the main idea is specifically about
___ Why the main idea happened/is important
___ Who the main idea is about or people who are important to the main idea
___ When the main idea happened/dates important to the main idea
___ How the main idea relates to other details
___ Where the main idea takes place or locations that are important to the main idea
I give scholars a graphic organizer inside of a sheet protector. I model using this graphic organizer by giving them a simple main idea outside of the context of a text. I do this so that they practice the process and concept and don't get hung up by the text.
The topic is 5th grade classes. They write this in the appropriate box. Main idea #1 is University of Florida scholars are an amazing class. They write this in the appropriate box. I model where/how to write using my copy and my visualizer so that all scholars can see and follow along with me.
Supporting detail #1 is 100% of scholars got a 70% or higher on our first test. I model how to ask myself, "Does this detail tell me the who, what, when, where, why or how of University of Florida scholars are an amazing class?" I break it down, "Does it tell me who is in the amazing class? No. Does it tell me what? No. Does it tell me when they were an amazing class? No. Does it tell me why they are an amazing class? Yes! So, the way this detail supports the main idea is that it tells us why the University of Florida scholars are an amazing class." I model how to check that box off when using the graphic organizer.
We practice with 2 more examples. This time, they work with a partner.
Now, we turn our focus to the text. With a partner, scholars have 5 minutes re-read pages 211-215 of Mae Jemison: Space Scientist. For efficiency and ease, they read with the person sitting next to them. I have assigned seats so that they heterogenously grouped so that all scholars have access to the text.
Using their new graphic organizers, they write the topic (Mae Jemison) and the first main idea of the text (Mae Jemison's childhood) in the appropriate boxes. Since this is the first time we are doing this with a new graphic organizer, I give them the main ideas and supporting details. Then, we write supporting detail #1 on the next line: "Mae had an older brother, Charles and an older sister Ada." We practice asking ourselves, "Does this tell us who, what, where, when, why or how of the main idea?" This supporting detail clearly tells us more about the WHO of her childhood.
I model writing my answer. "The supporting detail describes who the important people were in Mae Jemison's childhood. In the text it says, "Mae had an older brother, Charles and an older sister Ada." That tells us that Charles and Ada were a part of Mae's childhood. That's how the supporting detail relates to the main idea." My answer has A - Answer, S- Support, L-link and R-re-state.
Scholars practice describing how 2 supporting details relate to the main idea. They do so with a partner. They record answers on dry erase boards. They have 3 minutes for each response. When finished they hold dry erase boards up. I award partnerships with mini-marshmallows when all components (ASLR) are complete. My ELL teacher and I circulate to provide support and on-the-spot feedback. This is so helpful because scholars receive immediate feedback and they can quickly adjust and write correct answers. I anticipate that students will have a bit of trouble distinguishing between the how and why details. I try to scaffold a bit and give them a concrete example like, "Does this say how as in how to ride a bike or why as in why you would ride a bike?"
During this time scholars rotate through 2 stations. I do less stations on a day like today because there is a heavier emphasis on teacher modeling and partner practice.
In general, scholars look forward to this time because they are a bit more independent, they are able to get up and move around the room and because my ELL co-teacher is in the classroom and they interact with a new face :)
I start the time by reviewing our checklist items for the week and explicitly state what should be completed by the end of the day. This holds scholars accountable to their work thereby making them more productive. Then, the ELL teacher and I share the materials that our groups will need to be successful (i.e. a pencil and your book baggies). Then, I give scholars 20 seconds to get to the place in the room where they will be for the first rotation. The first scholars who are there with all materials they need receive additions on their paychecks or positive PAWS.
During the rotations for this lesson, my small group objective today is to describe how details support main ideas with books that are on each group's highest instructional level. Scholars read a portion of the same text (different for each group depending on reading level, but the same text is read in each group). Then we discuss the how the supporting details support the main idea.
After the first rotation, I do a rhythmic clap to get everyone's attention. Scholars place hands on head and eyes on me so I know they are listening. Then they point to where they go next. I give them 20 seconds to get there. Again, scholars who are at the next station in under 20 seconds with everything they need receive a positive PAW or a paycheck addition. We practice rotations at the beginning of the year so scholars know if they are back at my table, they walk on the right side of the room, if they are with the ELL teacher, they walk on the left side of the room and if they are at their desks, they walk in the middle of the room. This way we avoid any collisions.
At the end of our rotation time I give scholars 20 seconds to get back to their desks and take out materials needed for the closing part of our lesson. Timing transitions helps to make us more productive and communicates the importance of our learning time.