Lesson Plan

Tip of the Iceberg: Nonfiction Summary Details

Capture the tip of the iceberg! Use this lesson plan to teach your students to summarize nonfiction texts by noting the “tip of the iceberg,” also known as the main idea. Students will identify and sequence them.
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Need extra help for EL students? Try the Main Idea and Details in Nonfiction Texts pre-lesson.
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Need extra help for EL students? Try the Main Idea and Details in Nonfiction Texts pre-lesson.

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to summarize key details of nonfiction texts.

The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments

Introduction

(5 minutes)
  • Write the idiom "tip of the iceberg" on the board. Explain how idioms are synonyms for ideas.
  • Have students turn and tell a neighbor what they think "tip of the iceberg" means.
  • Invite students to share out their ideas with the whole class. While they are sharing, draw a sketch of a series of four icebergs with their tips showing just above a waterline. Discuss and draw any figurative student connections.
  • Clarify for your class that if something is the tip of the iceberg, it's the main idea of a larger amount of information.
  • Explain how a detail provides more precise information about an idea.
  • Add that summarizing texts is like capturing a series of iceberg tips of a text, from beginning to end. Tips of the icebergs for today's assignment are main ideas, not details!

Beginning

  • Teach a pre-lesson on idioms, specifically "tip of the iceberg."
  • Define the word "iceberg" in English and in students' home languages (L1).

Intermediate

  • Review the difference between main ideas and details using examples from a familiar text.