Tuesday, March 17, 2015

What's the Big Idea? Main Idea in Informational Text

Hey Friends!
    Happy St. Patrick's Day! We had a great time with some snacks and leprechaun mischief today. The kids have got Spring Fever BAD, and with it being 83 degree today, I can't really blame them.  13 days til spring break, though...not that I'm counting :)

  So, we've been working super hard on Main Idea. My firsties always have the hardest time with this concept, and this year has been no different. Recently, we did this great cooperative learning activity focused on main idea and supporting details, and it was a huge success.

   We use Reading Street at my school, so we've been studying dinosaurs in conjunction with our story Mr. Bones. Since the kids have been in LOVE with this story & all things dinosaurs, I wanted a way to incorporate our main idea focus into our unit.  We started with an anchor chart to review main idea and details.
We've been using highlighters A LOT in my class in order to find text evidence. Since the kids love using them, and they get so excited about it, I decided this would be another great opportunity to get them out!

First, I modeled reading the passage and thinking & questioning aloud. As a group, we identified the main idea & supporting details for our anchor chart.  It went really smoothy, so we moved on!

Next, I split the kids into groups of 3 - with varying reading levels - and gave them their own dinosaur passage.

 In our Teacher's Edition, there is an informational read-aloud passage on fossils. It was right on my kids' level, so I recorded each paragraph onto a sheet of short chart paper. *Note: a couple of the paragraphs were shortened to fit the space* 

 Each group also got 4-5 different colored highlighters & they had to read, question, discuss, and identify the main idea in yellow....and the supporting details in the other colors...one color per detail.
 Some kids went a wee bit crazy with the highlighters! We might need to revisit that...hmmmm....
 This group highlighted "fossils" throughout the whole passage because they said "This is the topic!".
Okay, great...I'll take that!

 You like how I made that "tOOth" mistake into tEEth?  Yeah, I didn't want to rewrite it. Call me lazy. But, don't you hate it when that happens?!
They did SUCH a great job with this assignment! It was fun listening and watching them talk it out, and learn how to work together....not an easy task when you're in first grade!

The next day, we used these graphic organizer's from Ashley Sanderson's What's It All About pack on TpT. The kids were given a passage from the day before, and they had to read and then record the main idea and supporting details. 
 Clipboards and chance to sit anywhere on the carpet?  Yes, please! That's always a winner!

I just love how this activity turned out. I should mention I had an unannounced observation during this lesson, too & my principal really enjoyed listening and watching the kids figure it all out.  Yay! 5 down...1 to go! Again....not that I'm counting ;)
 The kids were so proud of their work. One little guy said, "This is the kind of stuff my big brother does!". He was the first to suggest we hang them in the hallway...so we did! :) 

Such an easy & low-prep way to really engage the kids in main idea. Often times, it's just books or reading passages & my kids get so bored. They had a blast with this & I hope you found some good ideas, too!

As always, thanks for stopping by!

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