Searching for the Main Idea

35 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


SWBAT identify the main idea of passages

Big Idea

Given a variety of text, can the students identify main idea?

Advanced Organizer

7 minutes

To bridge the learning from yesterday and to help prepare us for the day, I will have the students work with their shoulder partner to write out the steps to identifying main idea.  I want them to do as much of this from memory as possible, so I will not allow them to use their spirals.  This is a good way for them to wake their brains up as well as a good assessment piece for me. 

I will have them write their steps on a white board and then lay it on their desk.  Once everyone is done and they think they have all the steps, I will have the groups circulate through the room, checking out what other students wrote.  This will help them recall information they may have forgotten.  I'll have them rotate for about three minutes then return to their seats and make any revisions to their steps. 

Finally, I'll ask the students to report out and we will review the steps as I write them onto the board. 

Guided/Independent Practice

25 minutes

Sticking with our theme of survival, yesterday we learned what it would be like to live at the bottom of the world.  The students read an article about living in Antarctica and what life would be like.  We read the article, identified main idea and the supporting details.  Today, taking that knowledge from yesterday, I want the students to do the same with a video.  Can they view a video and determine the main idea, as easily as they did with text? 

I will have the students watch the video once, just to view it.  Upon viewing it a second time, I want the students to identify the main idea and some supporting details.  The video is related to the article and discusses life in Antarctica.  I chose to use a video on the same topic because the students have some background knowledge and it fit in well with our learning from the previous lesson. 

Once the students have had time to identify the main idea, I will ask the students to share their thoughts.  As a class, we will agree on the main idea and I will write it on the board.  Next, I will ask them to recall supporting details.  If the main idea is "Antarctica is a new and unique travel destination" how does the narrator support that statement?  I'll ask students to create a list of supporting details with their group, then again, share out and record the details onto the board.  Main Idea-Videos

Independent Practice

25 minutes

Now that we have really spent some time modeling and working with text, it's time to throw the kiddos into the pool! I really think the best way for them to master this concept is practice! They need to practice with as much text as they can. 

To do this, I am going to pass out the first set of main idea passages.  The students will read through the passage with their shoulder partner first.  Then, they will read through it again, this time following the steps to determine the main idea. 

1.  Identify the topic

2.  Locate the topic sentence

3.  Find the main idea

As the students finish each passage, I will have them bring it up to me to correct.  If they get it right, they will move on to the next passage, if they get it wrong, they will continue working with that passage.  This will allow me to really assess which of my students are getting it and which students are still struggling with the concept. 

I'll have the students work through six problems with their shoulder partner.  Once they have gotten all six correct, they will be done.  We will work on this for about 25 minutes. 

If students finish early, I will make them experts to go around and help other students.  They enjoy working with each other and it really helps to build that team environment I strive to create in my room. 

Literature Group

25 minutes

I will have the students move into their literature groups and discuss the questions from the previous night's work.  They will go over the Hatchet Questions comprehension questions for chapters 13 and 14 of Hatchet.  I will have them do this by conducting a Round Robin. I will collect the work when they are done discussing. 

Next, we will review the events in chapter 14 and then read chapter 15 and 16.  As we read, I will have the students focus our reading on how the main character, Brian, is changing. 

They can take annotations on post-it notes and keep their thoughts in their book until we are able to discuss. 


7 minutes

To tie everything together and to help the students process their learning, I will ask the students to complete a Closure Slip.  When working with main idea, it always seems as if it is easier for the students to identify the main idea in nonfiction than it is to do with fiction.  Since we are reading Hatchet, I thought it would be great to have them practice this concept with the text. 

I will ask the students on the closure slip to identify the main idea of this chapter and provide two supporting details.  I am expecting them to struggle, but want to see if they can get close.