Sunday, December 15, 2013

Main Idea lesson Plans and Freebies!

 Teaching students to identify the main idea and supporting details in a story can be very difficult. In the past, this was always a weak area for my students. Not this year! After taking our school benchmark assessments my students scored really high on finding the main idea and details. If finding the main idea has been a struggle for your students, maybe some of these activities below will help your kiddos understand. Below is an outline of a few of my lessons.

Day 1- I used a power point that I had borrowed from a friend to teach students that a good paragraph consists of one main idea. It includes a topic sentence that states this big idea. Then the author supports this big idea with three major details. These three major details are then followed up by a minor detail. Finally the paragraph ends with a closure sentence or a transition sentence to the next paragraph. We took Cornel Notes from the Power Point.

Day 2- We talked about stated and implied main ideas. I showed another power point and students added to their Cornell notes. Then, we used a set of main idea task cards I had purchased from TPT. These cards have both stated and implied main ideas. My students really enjoyed working in groups and discussing what they thought the main idea and details were.

Day 3- One day it finally dawned on me that my students could not identify the main idea of a paragraph or story because they did not understand the organization and structure of paragraphs. Since reading and writing are reciprocal, I decided to start teaching my students about the organization of paragraphs. I created a graphic organizer that broke the paragraph into 8 sentences. After modeling how each paragraph has a topic sentence, several major details and then minor details to support the major details it finally clicked. * graphic organizer freebie at the bottom of the page.

Day 4- Then, we looked at nonfiction text on Reading A-Z and used the same graphic organizer to analyze each paragraph within the story. I projected the story on the Smart Board and then had the students transfer the sentences from the story onto the graphic organizer.

Day 5- I put students in pairs and told them to think about a nonfiction topic that they knew a lot about. Then, I gave them 8 sentence strips. They were to use one strip for each part of the graphic organizer. Finally, we taped the 8 sentence strips together to make our paragraph.

Day 6- During Writer's Workshop, I had students use the graphic organizer to create an introductory paragraph for their paper. All of the students were going to write about a field trip that we had just went on the week before. I told them that the intro paragraph should discuss the moment they got off the bus and what they saw and their initial thoughts. The paragraphs were amazing. We spent the next week and a half during Writer's Workshop using the same approach for each paragraph of their paper.

Review- This week we are going to continue the unit by playing my Christmas I Have, Who Has Main Idea game.

Click the picture below for a freebie of my graphic organizer



  1. HI Stephie,
    Make sure you take care of the Lead teacher:)

  2. Love your layout of your week teaching!!

  3. I love it, and I think it will help a lot of students specially my special students. Thank you for sharing this wonderful idea.