I’m teaching this lesson because I want to scaffold the idea of identifying main idea and supporting details. I’m starting with an explanation and using very short stories with simple language. I’m using the ‘arrow’ visual on the organizer because I think kids need something visual to see how to identify main idea.
I’m giving them very short paragraphs so they can practice choosing a main idea. We then build on those skills with longer paragraphs and the students inferring the main idea. Choosing a main idea from a multiple choice list is a common test item and I was tempted to have students practice this skill only in the paragraphs. However, with the Standards, that requirement will change to students choosing a main idea and showing ‘why’ they chose that idea. The skill of identifying main idea and verifying it with supporting details (RL.2.2) is foundational for good reading and a skill that students need to develop.
Underlined words below are lesson vocabulary words that are emphasized and written on sentence strips for my Reading & Writing word wall. I pull off the words off the wall for each lesson, helping students understand this key 'reading and writing' vocabulary can be generalized across texts and topics. The focus on acquiring and using these words is part of a shift in the Common Core Standards towards building students’ academic vocabulary. My words are color coded ‘pink’ for literature/’blue’ for reading strategies/’orange’ for informational text/'yellow' for writing/’green’ for all other words)
Bring students to a common starting point
Use teachers, students in the class, foods and things the kids know about. They love these riddles and it gets them engaged in the lesson.
Explain the strategy
Model how to use the strategy
Follow up to activity
As students examine these multi paragraph texts, they are asked to identify the main topic and supporting details. (RL.2.2) The Common Core Standards wants them to be 'close readers' who are able to analyze the text as they read. Can they identify what the text is about (main idea)? What supports that main idea (details)? How can they show this is the main idea? This ability to return to text allows the students deepen their comprehension.
Extend their learning
Scaffolding and Special Education: This lesson could be easily scaffolded up or down, depending on student ability.
The riddles were fun for all of my kids and I called on some struggling students for the easier answers. As we went through the powerpoint, the visual really helped the kids and I was glad there were easier and harder examples. You can again call on students of varying ability levels to answer the harder and easier questions.
The worksheet was harder for my struggling students, so I worked with them while the rest of the class worked independently. Here's an example of me reading with a student.
For students with more ability, I would challenge them to have more detail in their answers and use higher level vocabulary, especially when they make their own riddles.