Lesson Plan:

At the Zoo: Finding the Main Idea

5.0 based on 1 rating
July 9, 2015
by Earnestine Brown
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July 9, 2015
by Earnestine Brown

Learning Objectives

Students will learn what a main idea is and how to find it.


Introduction (15 minutes)

  • Ask students to think of what the word "zoo" means to them.
  • Have students think-pair-share their answers.
  • Call on students to share with the whole group what their partner said about zoos.
  • Explain that a zoo is a place where animals are housed for people to visit, watch, and learn about them.

Explicit Instruction/Teacher Modeling (10 minutes)

  • Explain to students that the main idea of a story is the major intention of the story, and model for them how you would find it. Use a previously read book or well known story to show students this process.
  • Read your chosen zoo story to the class.

Guided Practice/Interactive Modeling (15 minutes)

  • Ask students what they think the main idea of the story was.
  • After coming to a consensus as to what the main idea was, draw a picture that models this idea.

Independent Working Time (20 minutes)

  • Pass out paper and crayons to students.
  • Have students draw a picture of what they thought the main idea of the story was.
  • Ask students to write a complete sentence using high frequency words about what they saw in the story. Example: I see a monkey.
  • Give students a choice of activities when they are done: color a picture of a zoo animal (from the Cool Zoo Animals slideshow) or make a puppet using a paper bag and googly eyes.



  • Enrichment: Instead of having students draw about the animals, students can cut out pictures of animals that were in the story from magazines to make an animal collage of the main idea.
  • Support: Help struggling students by speaking to them one-on-one about the main idea of the story. You can also write out a sentence for them that they can trace.


Assessment (10 minutes)

  • Look at the students' pictures to see whether or not they reflect the main idea of the story. Check whether the students wrote about an animal that was shown in the story.

Review and Closing (10 minutes)

  • Have students put their pictures out on their desk.
  • Have students line up and take them on a gallery walk.
  • Walk around the desks and look at every students' pictures.
  • Gather students into a group to discuss what they saw in the pictures.

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