Monday, February 11, 2013

The Most Important Thing! And a FREEBIE

Ahh...the main idea. Sounds simple right? THE main idea. 

Unfortunately, that's not always the case.

We have spent the last week working on main idea & supporting key details, and while I THINK this should be a fairly easy concept, my kiddies always seem to struggle a bit with it. I asked some upper grade teachers for their input & I was told they STILL struggle in their classes.

So, I trudged on...trying to get them to understand it's the MOST important thing about a book.

We even started our little unit with The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown.
Have y'all read this before?
Written in the late 40's, it's still one of my favorites (I say "still" like I was around then, but you know...). The kids like it, too...

Each page is about ONE subject, and tells you the MOST important thing.

I ran copies of a few pages (to follow copyright rules, of course) & paired the kids up to read and determine the main idea...

Then, they worked together to complete a lightbulb graphic organizer. Having the text in this book explicitly lay out the "most important" thing was helpful...and I think it gave the kids a basic understanding of main idea.

 We later read A Chair for My Mother by Vera B.Williams.

Such a sweet story & it's FULL of details, so the kids had an easier time pulling out the key details from the text.  Extending our lightbulb graphic organizer, we made these...
I hate when I can't get a picture to turn...argghhh!

Anyway, in the spirit of Valentine's Day, today we read Jennifer Jones Won't Leave Me Alone by Freida Wishinsky.  

My kids LOVE this book & it's simple enough to easily pick out the main idea, but cute enough to keep everyone interested :)

We discussed the main idea, of course, & then we made these :)
The big heart holds the main idea ...

& the children had to identify four key/supporting details, which they wrote on the little pink hearts for the hands and feet...

Of course, all the kids shout "ewwwww" when she gives him kisses, but that makes it all the more fun to read aloud!

You just crinkle up the feet & hands..

Give the kids a sharpie (yes...a SHARPIE...can you hear the kids' excitement???)...

& Voila!

 They had a blast doing it & it was a great activity for such a rainy, nasty day. :)

Then, to add to the fun, we added a little music to our day... 
Kidz Bop Pandora!! 
This is our FAVORITE brain break & the kids L.O.V.E it....

And, as long as you like the music they play, it's the best management tool I have found in a while.

The deal is I play the music as long as they work quietly...
They can dance & sing, but no running, jumping, or talking over the music.

When it gets too loud, I turn it off (or pause it)...and they get right back to work. 

Thank you, Kidz Bop! :)

We have also been using these Main Idea task cards
Awful picture, but there are individual little stories that have multiple choice answers on each card. I can't, for the life of me, find the original source of these, but click the picture for a link where you can grab them.

I've also created a recording sheet to use with these. 
My firsties really had fun with this. There are 28 cards with a,b,c choices. We went around the room in pairs & completed each task card. The kids just recorded their multiple choice answer next to the correct number. Fun times! :) You can pick up the FREEBIE <HERE>!

If anyone knows of the original source for these cards, please let me know so I can give credit where credit is due.

So, that's it, folks. I think my firsties FINALLY get main idea...or at least I hope so. Fingers crossed :)

So, tell me, what Brain Break or management tool do YOU use to help with noise while working??? I'm always up for new tips and ideas!

Have a happy Monday & thanks for stopping by!! :)


  1. What a great spin to go about teaching main idea. My firsties struggle with it too. I LOVE your Valentine's craftivity...too cute!

    For the Love of First Grade

  2. Kelly,

    Your blog is so stinkin cute! I am so sorry I missed your giveaway! I am following you here, and everything else I can click on. I just need to get my stuff together;)

    Have a great day!


  3. That Jennifer Jones book sounds perfect for my class. I'm going to have to look it up and see if it's at the library!


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