Monday, March 17, 2014

Searching for Main Idea and Details at the End of the Rainbow!

How was your St. Patrick's Day? Did you remember to wear green? 
If you've been following my blog for awhile, you have probably noticed that I love, love, love the holidays and always find ways to celebrate them academically with my class. This is especially important in a Common Core classroom. 


I love teaching 2nd graders because their minds are so open to legend and make believe. Many of my students believed in leprechauns and have even seen leprechauns! None of them found the gold at the end of the rainbow, but they promised they'd share it with me if they did! 


In true St. Patty's Day fashion, we read about leprechauns. Students read a little expository story I wrote called, The Legend of the Leprechaun. As we read the story together, they highlighted the main ideas and details. 

I use whole-group reading in addition to leveled guided reading and strategy groups so all of my students can be exposed to rich vocabulary and more complex story structure. I have found that even my lowest readers are able to follow along with the group and highlight important information. 

We do a lot of highlighting and visual strategies while reading text in my classroom. I love it because I can see my students' thinking and how they are processing the text. Plus, it prepares my second graders for upper elementary and beyond. 

I have a Rule of 5 when highlighting. Students can only highlight 5 words at a time. This has significantly cut down on kids being highlighter crazy. It drives me nuts when my students highlight an entire paragraph! That is not allowed in my classroom... no, no, no! 


After highlighting, students worked in their table groups to find the main idea and details in the text. I gave each group one post-it and had a recorder write down the main idea after a group discussion. They stuck the post-it on our anchor chart, and read it aloud to the class. 



Almost every group came up with the same main idea. This goes to show that more heads are better than one! Main idea and detail is a hard concept to teach and understand, so working together in small groups has really helped to scaffold this process. Not every student can do main idea and detail independently, but we're getting there!

After we found and discussed the main idea, we worked together to write down key details that we read in the text. My students have been getting really good at referring to the text, and not just making up their own details they think fit. They are used to their teacher saying, "What does the text say?" again and again!

Now, we have a great anchor chart to hang in our classroom to remind us of main idea and detail. My second graders also have new knowledge about leprechauns! So fun! 

How did you celebrate St. Pat's Day??
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