Friday, April 25, 2014

Finding the Main Idea and Details: Through Close Reads

My students have become pros at close reading! So proud of them!

This lesson was a big kids were engaged throughout the whole process. Currently, we are focusing on informational text and our theme for this unit is innovation. We've been discussing innovations in regards to technology, transportation, communication & media, medicine, and engineering. I pulled an article from Achieve 3000 (my school site has a subscription to this program) that related to last weeks topic of communication & media. A little side note: Achieve 3000 is a great site packed with nonfiction text/articles which are differentiated to the student's reading level.

I started the lesson off with discussing the learning objective... to get the gist and determine the main idea in the Achieve 3000 article about an innovative idea that helps people communicate.

There are many different ways to annotate while close reading and depending upon what the focus of the lesson is, I have changed it up a bit. For this lesson, I used and charted the following close read strategies:

  1. Read the entire text, without stopping to get the "flow."
  2. Read a second time circling important and unfamiliar words. Write the main idea for each section or paragraph along the margin of your text.

I gave my students a few minutes to read the article independently first for the flow.

The second read was devoted to circling important or unfamiliar words and writing the main idea for each section (paragraph) in the margin of their paper. For my struggling readers, I broke the article down into specific "chunks" and gave them a large index card to cover and isolate their focus on the smaller chunks. I'm fortunate to have a teacher's aide everyday (I know practically unheard of in 5th grade!) and I had her work with a few of the focus students who needed the extra support while I facilitated the lesson.

Once they finished their second read and jotted down the main idea of each section,  I gave them a few minutes to write down what they thought the main idea for the whole text was. Next, they shared their main idea with their table partner and gave evidence in the article that helped them come up with the main idea. We came back as a whole group and a few students shared their thoughts. Together we came up and charted the main idea of the text.

Now it was time to get them walking around and discussing! I had them strategically placed in groups...I drew a colored line on the top of their article...this made it super easy for them to get into their groups. I pulled and charted details from the article (some were important details that connected to the main idea and other details weren't as important to the main idea). They did a "gallery walk" using post it notes to explain/make a case on whether or not the detail was important and connected to the main idea of the article. As I walked around I heard a lot of great discussions! Especially if there was a was great to hear them making their case.

Once they made it to all the posters, we debriefed on what details were important and how the details connected to the main idea.

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