Sunday, January 31, 2016

Main Idea and Key Details

Main idea has always been a struggling for my students....actually, a struggle for our whole school. We have taken it down a notch to see if we can break it apart for better understanding.

In our class, main idea = topic + point & details.

We color code it to help. The topic is blue, point is red, and details are green.
Topic= who or what the text is about
Point= what the author is saying about the topic
Details= key details that support the topic and point

My students don't have trouble finding the topic. The issue is when it comes to the point. So, we were working on a passage and split into 5 groups. Each group was assigned a paragraph. It was their job to read the paragraph and first find the topic. Once they established the topic, they went to find the point. While looking for the point they were also looking at the key details. For the first day, they picked one detail and made a three column chart. They wrote the topic, point, and detail. Then explained it in their own words and drew a visual. It is very important for my ELL's to have visuals.

Look at their thinking in action!

As we moved forward with the next few days they continued finding the topic, point, and key details.
They learned that sometimes, the details need to come first if they point is explicitly stated. Afterwards, we then all got together and shared. Then we figured out the main idea of the whole text. It was awesome to see how much they understood. They saw the connections between the paragraphs and the main idea of the whole text was very easy to find. We did this multiple times throughout the week until it was 100% on their own and not group work.

Here are some more pictures of their work and thinking!

- Kate

Saturday, January 9, 2016

STEM Day- Weathering and Erosion

At the end of every 9 weeks, my class participates in a STEM activity that includes things we have been working on during that quarter. For the first 9 weeks, we did a Weathering and Erosion STEM activity.  The whole day was dedicated to this STEM activity. The kids had a blast and was overall a great experience. It really helped hammer in what we had been working on. 

On my TpT page, I have included the lesson plan I followed (with Marzano elements embedded) and a PowerPoint & Smart Notebook. The PowerPoint and Smart Notebook guide you through the lesson (so you aren't reading from a lesson plan the whole time) but also let's the students have access to what they need to see during the lesson. I created a Smart Notebook and a PowerPoint so everyone could use it (depending on what your school offers).  There is also an additional PowerPoint that includes information on weathering, erosion, and deposition. 

We started the experiment by brainstorming what weathering and erosion is. We watch a video on weathering and erosion and cleared up any misconceptions. As we moved forward, students had to design a way to stop erosion on a beach. They had many different materials to choose from and worked together in their groups to come up with their designs. Overall, the kids had a great time and it was a great way to end the 9 weeks. You can get the whole lesson plan and digital resources on my TpT.

*I did this with my fourth graders. However, it can be done with 2-5 if students have the basic background knowledge. I have included some slides and resources for background knowledge in the lesson plan.

Here are some pictures of my class working on the STEM activity!

First they worked on designing their ideas and then building them. After they completed the test, they were able to re-design and change up their original ideas to be more successful. 

- Kate