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SWBAT match supporting details to a central message or sentence.

Big Idea

This is a very exciting lesson. Students peel the onion back to make connections between details and the central message.


10 minutes

Common Core Connection

I have been teaching RL1.2, which is all about determining the central message and supporting details. My students are really struggling determining what are the important details that go with the central message. So, this lesson is designed to get the students to connect details to a specific central message.

Introductory Activity

The students watch about 90 seconds from the beginning of each clip. Then each person tells their partner the story of Cinderella. This is when I assess who knows the story (in case I have to help some students who aren't familiar with it).  Next, I ask the students to tell their partner what the central message is in Cinderella. I am assessing their knowledge of the lesson skill with (hopefully) familiar material at this point.


Guided Practice

15 minutes

My strategy here is to compare the detail in a story to layer in an onion.

I bring in a real onion, and I peel it to get students excited while explaining that the layers are like the details in a story, but the big idea/central message is the whole onion (onion video).  Then I take each piece of the onion and tape it to the board.  I also remind them of the previous stories we have read and I give them one example of the details and central message. The Little Red Hen had the central message, 'If you want things you must work.' A detail is that the dog did not help."

The students talk to their partners about several important details in Cinderella. Several students share out and I add the details to the board by comparing them to the layers in an onion. We write a general statement about what happens in the story on the board (board work). The general statement is just a way to help students see the connection between the details and a general statement.

Partner Work

10 minutes

We go back to the lounge area from their desks. I want to have students get some practice understnding just the relationship between the details and the central message, so we practice using non-text topics.

I give them each a central message or "big idea."  I ask each person to match three details that support the central message.  I give them the sentence already cut out and they match the details to the central message.

Example 1: Big Idea/Central Message - Dogs are fun pets.


  • They play with balls.
  • They eat treats.
  • Dogs do tricks.

Example 2: Big Idea/Central Message - You shouldn't tell lies.


  • Your nose will grow with each lie.
  • People will dislike you.
  • You will be sad.

Check out the matching template (matching details). The bold words are the central message and the details are not bold. 

I give the students their central message and about five minutes to match the supporting details.  After five minutes they can share with a peers.  Then they have five more minutes to work. Peer sharing allows them to generate more ideas.  I am walking around helping them come up with ideas and giving them support the whole time.

Class Reflection

5 minutes

We are joined on the lounge area.  They practice their listening and speaking skills by sharing their work. I say, "Criss cross apple sauce pockets on the floor hands in your laps talking no more. Eyes are looking at the speaker, and you are thinking about what they are saying."

I select three students to share their work.  The rest of the class will give thumbs up or down to agree or disagree.  This allows me to assess who understands and who does not.  I can also add extra explanations in if I need to.


5 minutes

I remind them that we are studying the big idea.  I say, "The main idea is the big idea." Then they echo and tell a friend.  Then they repeat it with me.  This repitition builds their knowledge of the new information.  It also reminds them of the big goal for the lesson. I explain that we will continue to work with main idea in fiction and non-fiction text.  I tell them that we will increase the complexity of the text as we study deeper into main idea.

They beg to do this rap every time I mention main idea. So, we do it all the time.