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

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