The teachers in our school district are tasked with teaching Main Idea and Supporting Details to our K-2 population. Here are a few ideas for teaching main idea, but also for independent practice AFTER you have taught Main Idea.
So, I saw a poster on Pinterest…Pizza is the main idea, the ingredients are the supporting details. SOOOO…that’s my picture. Now, let’s talk main idea activities.
main idea Anchor Chart
Always start with an anchor chart! Students need to be grounded in specifics and anchor charts give them a place to remind themselves about the specifics.
The anchor chart examples on header are both student made and pre-made. Anytime, students can help with the anchor chart, value is added. I suggest the pre-made anchor chart for reading folders or an anchor chart flip chart.
Creating anchor charts WITH students and teaching students HOW to use them is one of the best classroom management suggestions I have. If they are confused and know where to look for clarity, their hand may not pop up as quickly.
Topic, Main Idea and Supporting Details Sort
For Whole Group instruction, show the students a picture. Ask them to tell you one word to describe the picture – that’s the topic. Now, ask them to tell you a sentence with the topic – that’s the main idea.
Finally, ask them to tell you more things that can help support the main idea – these are the details. Using the pizza idea, I made several pictures with 4 words.
Students will sort the words for topic and supporting details. Students can be directed to cut the words off the bottom of the sheet and sorting the words. Once they have the topic, they can write or tell the main idea sentence. Kindergarten can even do this whole group and using beginning sound cues.
Making this an independent activity AND upping the rigor, students should sort the words and add more supporting details to the list. The third activity includes writing about the sort. Students will use the sort to write a main idea sentence and supporting details.
Main iDea Center Wheels
Finally, turning the tables on main idea is a wonderful way to get students to firm their understanding of main ideas. These wheels provide 4 supporting details.
Students need to use the details to determine the main idea. There are 12 wheels in the set and a recording paper. Students can use this in independent learning centers or as a whole class activity.
Placing the wheels around the classroom, students can move from wheel to wheel, writing the main idea as they move. For easy planning, 4 wheels can be in a center, with a recording form for those 4 wheels.
Each week for 3 weeks, different wheels can be added to the center. This is an example of teaching a process and changing the product.
Main Idea Partner Work
Students can be provided a main idea basket and several apples. Students will choose the apples that reinforce the main idea.
This partner activity can provide great discussion when explaining why the picture supports the main idea. Once the partners have created the apple basket, they can use the pictures to help write or tell a story.
This can also be moved into an independent center, once students are comfortable with main idea. There are several baskets and apple choices, so each center can be different. This is also a lovely seasonal display.
main idea Interactive Notebooks Using Pictures or Texts
Give the students an interactive flap, by putting the main idea sentence on the top. Using pictures, students glue the provided flaps and add supporting details.
This can use used as a planning tool for students writing supporting details with the provided main idea. Likewise, using short texts, students will highlight the main idea and supporting detail sentences.
Once the main idea and supporting details are highlighted, students can glue in the provided flaps. They can write a supporting detail under each flap.
Having the students dissect a passage, will help them firm up their understanding of main idea and supporting details.
If you would like a Main Idea Sample, check out the form below for a 10 page set.
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