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Main Idea
Old 01-28-2011, 10:11 AM
 
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I am getting ready to teach main idea again next week (they didn't get it the first few times). Does anyone have any fun ways to get 5th graders to understand main idea? The problem is that they can find the main idea of simple passages, but when it comes to the more detailed versions, like our state tests, they bomb out!

Thanks!


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Short passages
Old 01-28-2011, 10:24 AM
 
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I start with very short reading passages, maybe one paragraph long and I model where to find the main idea, what words to look for and what a main idea is. Then we move into more of a guided where we look up newspaper articles from current events and work in partners to find the main idea. The students have to present a news broadcast of what they read. I like this because the news is always about getting out the main idea in a short amount of time. I then go to my non-fiction texts and do more independant work on main ideas, hoping that they get it by then. Hope that helps.
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Old 01-28-2011, 11:07 AM
 
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Thanks JoSo! It does!
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Swbs
Old 01-31-2011, 07:31 PM
 
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My team has started using the somebody, wanted, but, so model. They create a chart labeled as above and fill it out for the story

Somebody: Who is the main character
Wanted: What did the main character want
but: what stood in their way
so: what did they do to solve the problem

This works to narrow the main idea and to summarize
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Old 01-31-2011, 07:38 PM
 
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Our reading teacher taught my 3rd graders that the main idea is like the top of our desk it takes up most of their space, and the details are the supporting legs that hold up the desk. Hope this helps and good luck with the lesson.


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gotta love that Main Idea ;)
Old 02-14-2011, 01:20 PM
 
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Don't you just love teaching main idea? If you don't, lucky for you, you get to teach and reteach it all year!!!! It's a constant skill, and I've found that the more you teach it, the better they become. It's a frequently tested item in Ohio, so it's not going to hurt them to hear it 20 times in 20 different ways.

All that to say this: my kids are exactly the same as yours. We do well with short passages, but not so well with long passages. When I teach with non-fiction, I try to use passages that have headings and subheadings. We practice using the headings to find the main idea of that section, and supporting details for the main idea. THEN, we find the main idea of the entire article, using just the headings and subheadings. If they can see that the structure of the text gives them clues, it becomes much easier for them.

I would suggest using magazine and newspaper articles (like JoSo suggested), since that's likely the type of article they'll see on the test.
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Old 02-14-2011, 01:21 PM
 
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I LOVE this strategy!!!!
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