TEACHER S GUIDE: MAIN IDEA

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1 TEACHER S GUIDE: MAIN IDEA LEARNING OBJECTIVES Students will understand strategies for determining the main idea of a passage. Students will know key questions to ask to find the supporting details of a main idea. Students will identify both the main idea and the supporting details in a text. Estimated Viewing Time: Completing the entire episode will take approximately minutes. A breakdown of time by segment follows: WATCH: TRY: APPLY: 5-6 minutes 3-5 minutes 3-6 minutes SYNOPSIS OF THE WATCH SEGMENT When Nermal decides to enter an essay contest at school, his teacher gives him a jumbled essay to practice organizing an essay. With help from Professor G and Dr. Nova, Nermal discovers that essays start with a main idea followed by sentences that support that main idea. He learns how to identify the main idea of an essay and then some questions he can ask to add supporting sentences: Who is being talked about? When does it take place? Where does it happen? Why does it happen? Dr. Nova also explains the order of an essay: main idea, supporting details and facts, and, sometimes, the main idea, again. After Nermal puts the jumbled essay into the correct order, he explains to Dr. Nova how he figured it out. He is now ready to write his own entry for the contest! BUILD BACKGROUND Ask students to get into small groups of 4-5. Give each group one of the following sentences printed on paper (or you may create your own based on the topics your students are currently studying): Although I like my pet cat, I would not want to meet a wild cat in the woods. Having a pet in a classroom is a terrific way to learn science. A goldfish is probably the easiest pet to care for. My dog is the smartest dog I have ever seen. If I could have any pet I wanted, I would have hamsters because they are fun to watch. People of all ages like to have pets as companions. SAY: Together, we are going to write an essay about pets. In our essay, let s use all of your sentences. Action: Call upon student groups randomly to read their sentences. Use a convenient form of technology to write all the sentences in one paragraph so the students can view them at the same time.

2 Okay, now we have an essay, right? [The students should question this conclusion.] Why don t we have an essay? Possible answers: They aren t about the same thing. or It doesn t make any sense. You sure are smart students! Together, these sentences don t make up an essay because each one is the main idea of a different essay. INTRODUCE VOCABULARY Write and discuss the definition of each keyword. Pause after each definition to answer questions and provide examples. Use each keyword in a sample sentence to show students how each is used in context. essay jumbled descriptive main idea supporting details and facts relevant a short piece of writing about a single topic that usually includes the author s opinions mixed up; not in the correct order describing something what a piece of writing is all about; the topic information that tells you more about the main idea and adds to the big picture; could be actions, sounds, or sights supportive of the main idea or the big picture; connected to the main idea GUIDE THE VIEWING OF MAIN IDEA SAY: Now, we re going to complete an interactive lesson featuring characters from Garfield and Friends. The lesson will help us learn more about main idea. TRY ANSWER KEY Students choose the correct main idea or supporting idea sentence that helps Nermal reach the top of the Main Idea Detector. Correct answers in bold: 1. Otto Octopus is a great bowler and helped us win the league championship. Otto Octopus threw six strikes in one game. 2. Otto likes extra cheese on his bowling alley nachos. Otto bowled a perfect game using his lucky ball Lightning. 3. Otto bowled three strikes in a row blindfolded! Lorenzo from the Kingpins spilled grape soda on his bowling shirt. 4. Nermal and Otto have special bowling shirts. Nermal and Otto train hard to improve their bowling skills. Otto helped Nermal perfect his super strike pin eliminator move.

3 APPLY ANSWER KEY: Highlight the main idea, the supporting sentences, and the last sentence in different colors. 1. Yellow (main idea): Warriors of Cheese is the best video game ever invented! 2. Orange (supporting): Before I tried Warriors of Cheese, I played a lot of other video games: Zombies vs. Insurance Agents; Drool Force 2: Robot Dogs from Planet K9; and Legend of Larry, Magical Garden Gnome. 3. Orange (supporting): I started playing Warriors of Cheese last month, and, from my first Cheddar Quest, I was hooked. 4. Orange (supporting): I got better and better at the game and even beat all of my friends. 5. Orange (supporting): One especially sweet victory came when I used my Stinky Cheese Power on the Gouda Guards to free myself from the Giant Grater of Doom and complete my Cheddar Quest. 6 Green (closing main idea): Other games are cool, but, no matter how you slice it, Warriors of Cheese is the best! MONITOR COMPREHENSION Begin a class discussion by asking students what they thought about the story. ASK: Nermal needed help fixing a jumbled essay. What is the first thing he needed to find? Answer: The main idea What was the main idea about? Answer: How good the new lunch lady is What was the next thing that Nermal needed to find? Answer: Supporting details and facts Why are supporting details and facts important in an essay? Answer: Because, they add information, actions, sights, and sounds to the main idea. What are some questions that supporting sentences answer? Answer: Who, when, where, and why Why do some sentences support the main idea and some do not? Answer: Supporting sentences need to be relevant to the main idea. SAY: An essay always needs a main idea and supporting details and facts. You can t have an essay that s made up of a bunch of main ideas, like we did at the beginning of class. So, now, here s your chance to write a real essay!

4 CONSOLIDATE LEARNING Ask the students to get back into their small groups. Each group should use its main idea from the original sentences to write an essay. Each person should help write a supporting sentence for the main idea. The students should also restate the main idea at the end of their essays. EVALUATE Conclude the activity by having the students share their essays with one another as oral presentations. Administer the Main Idea Quiz to assess whether the students have met the learning objectives for the lesson. After evaluating the results of the assessment, you may wish to revisit any learning objectives that the students did not grasp. QUIZ ANSWER KEY: 1. True 2. False 3. False 4. True 5. Answers will vary (such as who, when, where, and why). 6. Answers will vary (such as sights, sounds, and actions). 7. At the beginning and also maybe at the end of the essay 8. C 9. A 10. B

5 QUIZ: MAIN IDEA NAME DATE TRUE OR FALSE Read each sentence carefully. Mark a T for true or an F for false next to each statement. 1. The main idea of an essay is the topic that the essay is about. 2. Supporting sentences are the parts of an essay that start a new topic. 3. After the first sentence of an essay, the main idea should not be repeated. 4. Details and facts used in an essay should be relevant to the main topic. SHORT ANSWER Answer each question the best you can. 5. List two questions that supporting details might answer. 6. Supporting details and facts can make an essay more interesting by adding the following: 7. The main idea of an essay should be stated where? Carefully read the paragraph below to answer questions 8-10: Manuela always has been involved in sports, and they are a big part of her life. She s been playing baseball since she could pick up a bat! Since then, she has also joined soccer and basketball teams. When she s not studying for school, she s practicing for the next big game. Manuela s family supports her love of these activities. Her mother coaches her basketball team and her older brother often helps her practice. Everyone comes to her games to watch her play. Manuela has so much energy that she can t imagine what she d do without sports! 8. What is the main idea of this paragraph? Circle your answer. a. Manuela has a supportive family. b. Manuela has a lot of energy. c. Sports are a big part of Manuela s life. 9. Which of the following details supports the main idea? Circle your answer. a. Manuela has been playing baseball since she could pick up a bat. b. Manuela always makes sure that her homework is completed. c. Manuela s brothers are not very interested in sports.

6 NAME DATE 10. What is another supporting detail? Circle your answer. a. Manuela has never been interested in gymnastics. b. Her mother coaches her basketball team. c. Teams always feel lucky to have Manuela on them.

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