Sunday, February 12, 2012

Literacy Lesson: Idea Principal

Los estudiantes determinarán la idea principal de un texto. 

Anytime I wrote those words as the objective of my lesson plan, I couldn't help but shudder. Main idea always seems so hard to teach to primary students. We are supposed to help them focus on what is important and not what is interesting. Yet, if you have ever spent any time trying to teach anything to a seven or eight-year-old, you know that interesting always wins out!

Several years ago, I was asked to model a reading lesson for a brand new teacher. As the bilingual facilitator for my district, modeling lessons was a major part of my job and I was getting more and more comfortable at walking into a room of unknown students and teaching a lesson. However, all of my confidence flew out the window when I read the reading goal for that week in second grade. I had to teach about main idea to a group of students with whom I had no shared background knowledge. It was time to get creative!

While I usually like to anchor my reading lessons in a book, I decided to anchor this specific skill in something a little more concrete. I decided to spend some time identifying the main idea of photographs before we made the transition to text. I selected some photos from clipart that contained both interesting and important elements. Using a photo from a baseball game, the students and I made a list about what we thought was interesting about the picture. Then we discussed the following standard "Get the Gist" questions.

We went back to our list of interesting things and determined that interesting things are not always included in the main idea. I passed out a new picture to small groups of students and had them work through the Registro de lo esencial handout one question at a time. I kept them on the rug near me while they worked with their groups so that I could easily listen in to their conversations. Some groups needed a little more guidance than others but I could hear a growing understanding from all of the groups.

You can download the pictures and handout I used for free here. What is your favorite way to teach main idea? Here are some photos I captured from a dual-language second grade teacher's classroom in Mesquite.  I though it was a creative use of those Scholastic magazines!

1 comment:

  1. Great ideas for teaching main idea/details! That is def. always a tough one for them to wrap their little heads around! Thanks for the suggestions!

    The Second Grade Superkids


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