Main Idea Collaboration

We have been working on Main Idea and Supporting Details for a couple of weeks now. We are teaching numerous skills while spiraling back to this one. The students have a difficult time with Main Idea because we are adding in Significant and Insignificant Details. So even though the students have learned Main Idea and Details for a few years now…they are having a difficult time telling the difference between significant and insignificant details.

Today, we devoted most of our reading block to one activity but by golly, I think they have it!

First, I modeled a passage with the students. I showed them how we read the passage then evaluate the information in the passage to find our main idea and different details. You will notice in the picture below how I underlined on the passage in different colors. While I was doing this on the projector, I was talking about the difference between supporting, significant and insignificant details. We also discussed how we can come up with a title for the passage based on just the information we are given.

Next, we had the students get into groups of 3 or 4 (six groups total!) Each group was given a piece of chart paper and the components for making the anchor chart. All of these components are included in my Main Idea Collaboration set.

Each group was given a passage that they had to read then evaluate for the main idea and details.

Once the students had read and evaluated the passage, they could begin plugging in their information.

I had my “answer keys” in my hand for each passage. As I was walking around, I would ask questions to the students. My questions either challenged them more or helped them go in the correct direction. It really depended on the group and if they were struggling.

I was so extremely proud of how the students were able to differentiate between significant and insignificant. The conversations were all about significant being important for the author to include so the reader had a better understanding of the text. This separates significant from supporting details. Mainly because supporting details only support the main idea. Then, the students came to the conclusion that insignificant ultimately meant that if the author took this part out, the passage would still maintain the same meaning and purpose. *mind blown* I teach some great kids.

After everyone was finished, we took turns sharing out our findings. It was very interesting to see how the groups differed but still found the “right” answers.

Basically, if you have ever had one of those lessons where you feel like, “man, that worked!” that was exactly how I felt today!

I do believe that modeling was a crucial part in the success of this lesson. I showed the students exactly what they needed to do except I used a different passage. In the end, I think that is what they used to build their charts. Regardless of what they used though, they mastered the concept!

Needless to say, I am one happy teacher! Let me know if you use this in your classroom! I would love to hear how it goes with your kids!

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