EL Support Lesson
Main Idea or Topic? You Decide!
Students will be able to identify the main idea of a grade level text.
Students will be able to identify the topic and main idea with grade level words, phrases, and sentences using a graphic organizer for support.
- Show the cover of a nonfiction book and review the definition of nonfiction in kid-friendly language. Explain to the students that a nonfiction text or book is about a real topic.
- Explain that today students will be learning about the difference between a main topic and a main idea in a nonfiction text.
Building academic language
- Get out the Vocabulary Card worksheet and tape an anchor chart on the whiteboard. Write and circle the word "nonfiction" on the anchor chart. Under the word nonfiction, write and underline the words "main topic" and "main idea." Clarify the meaning of main topic and main idea, using the kid-friendly definitions on the Vocabulary Card worksheet.
- Split the students into groups of six. Explain that today they will be playing "We Have, Who Has?" to match the main topic to the connecting main ideas.
- Pass out a non-matching topic card and main idea card to each group. Ask students to briefly read and review cards. Write the following sentence frames on the board:
- The topic we have is ____. Who has the main idea that matches?
- We have the main idea ____. We think the topic and main idea match because ____.
- Model how to play the game by writing the topic bugs on a note card and the main idea There are many different kinds of bugs in the world on a separate note card.
- Call a student to the front of the classroom and give the student the main idea card. Finish the first sentence frame aloud and help the volunteer student use the note card to finish the next sentence frame orally. Next, have the student help you decide where to tape the note cards on the anchor chart. The topic card should go under the main topic heading on the anchor chart and the main idea card should go under the main idea heading on the anchor chart.
- Start with one of the groups and ask them to read their topic card. The group with the matching main idea should raise their hands. Have one of the group members finish the second sentence frame aloud. Encourage student volunteers to come up to tape their note cards under the correct word.
- Continue this process until all the note cards are taped on the whiteboard. Briefly review the answers and clarify any confusion.
- Project the Finding the Topic and Main Idea of a Nonfiction Text worksheet on the whiteboard and pass out copies to each student.
- Read the directions aloud and review the word bank and definitions of topic and main idea.
- Read through the text in Part 1, calling on student volunteers to help you.
- Ask students what they think the topic of the text is, referring to the title and first sentence of the text for support.
- Have a student come up to the whiteboard to record the topic.
- Prompt the students to think about the main idea of the text. Allow a few students to share out. Clarify that the first sentence of the text is the main idea and circle it. Ask a student to rephrase the main idea of the text in their own words and record it on the whiteboard.
No sentence focus for this lesson plan.
Additional EL adaptations
- Allow students to sit near the front of the classroom during the introduction of the lesson.
- Provide definitions of main topic, main idea, and nonfiction in student's home language (L1).
- Write the sentence frames that will be used during the word level activity on note cards prior to the lesson. Have students practice reading the sentence frames aloud.
- Allow students to work in a small, teacher-led group during the discourse activity and formative assessment. Provide students with a simple paragraph with only 3–4 sentences to help them be successful in searching for the main topic and main idea in the text.
- Allow students to answer the statements orally with a partner during the closing activity.
- Encourage students to help you define nonfiction during the introduction and choose another nonfiction book from the classroom library as an example of their understanding.
- Ask students to come up to the whiteboard to highlight or circle the topic in the title of the text during the discourse activity.
- Encourage students to help you read the text aloud.
- Encourage students to record the closing statements in their reading logs or journals.
Formative Assessment of Academic Language(8 minutes)
- Read Part 2 aloud as a whole group, calling on student volunteers to help read the text.
- Put students into partnerships and have them find the topic and main idea of the text.
- Have students rephrase the main idea in their own words and record their answers on the worksheet.
- Allow a few students to share their answers and clarify any confusion as needed.
- Use student answers to assess student understanding of the main idea and topic of a nonficton text.
Review and closing(4 minutes)
- Write the below statements on the board and have students record their answers as TRUE (T) or FALSE (F) in their reading logs or journals.
- Draw a smiley face next to TRUE (T) and a frown next to FALSE (F) to help students understand the meaning.
- The main topic of a nonfiction text is usually a sentence.
- The main idea of a nonfiction text is a word or phrase.
- Nonfiction means real.
- Allow students to share their answers and clarify any confusion.