Friday, January 25, 2013

What's the main idea?

This week in ELA, our focus has been main idea and supporting details. To begin the lesson on Tuesday, I made an anchor chart while the students made mini anchor charts for their notebooks. Perfect? Not so much! I've given up my hopes for eye-catching anchor charts.. I figure as long as it does its job, I'll be satisified with student achievement. What a teachery thing to say, huh?!

For our text, we used a piece from National Geographic Explorer, May 2012 edition. We read "Caves," which the students found interesting. Finding nonfiction texts that fit the skill being taught while still holding the attention of my students can sometimes be a challenge, so yay! Success!

While reading, we used a graphic organizer found on the FCRR website. It was a very basic organizer, beginning with the topic, main idea, then details to support the idea. My students worked with me, then with a partner, and finally individually.

 For stations this week, I created task cards for my students to practice finding the main idea. Some of the cards are nonfiction, while some are fictional, and as usual, feature characters such as my dogs and kids. My students always seem to smile when reading about Molly and Buddy! There were 24 cards total that my students practiced with over the course of 3 days. Some students used the multiple choice answer board, while some used the short answer board. Both sets of students did great! (You can view this in my TpT store by clicking on the picture!)

In small group, we used those same task cards and made a game of it for my struggling students. They each had a game piece and tried to beat me to the ending star. When it was my turn I modeled my thinking outloud, explaining how I determined the main idea, and soon the students caught on. "Well... it can't be 'c' because that's not what the passage is mostly about..." Love it!

Happy Friday to you all! --Mandy

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