Teaching Main Idea and Some FREEBIES

Teaching main idea and supporting details is one of my favorite units with my fifth graders. There are just so many things you can do to practice and no limit on the topics you can read about and discuss!

This year our main idea unit falls in February, so I’m focusing much of our reading on the topics of kindness and Black History, but I’ll also include some of my other main idea activities and favorites from years past. All of these resources could be done in class or in virtual meetings and as distance learning assignments.

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To begin, I’ll be introducing the topic with this lesson on identifying and determining main idea and summarizing supporting details. I’ve prerecorded this lesson for students who may need it virtually, but it also includes an editable Google Slides deck that I’ll use in class with my kiddos. To end the lesson, as an exit ticket, we’ll use these Google Jamboards asking the students to add details that support the two main ideas (focused on kindness) that I’ve included.

This lesson also includes an independent or collaborative project that students will complete once they’ve had sufficient practice with determining main idea and summarizing the supporting details. This project asks students to search for and read several texts (articles and books from Epic and Newsela) that focus on kindness. While reading, they will identify details that support two main idea statements I’ve given them. To share their findings, students will choose a creative project from the menu included.

Another great resource I’ll use, either as guided practice or as an independent task, is this Inky Johnson Summarizing Video Writing Lesson. This activity features an ESPN SC Featured video about the University of Tennessee defensive back Inky Johnson, whose football career was ended by a tragic injury. Students will watch the video and complete a main idea graphic organizer, then use that to write a summary of the most important information in the video. This resource is free by clicking on the link above.

I’m also including a Main Idea Reading Response Menu into my unit. I’ll use these reading responses as a way for students to respond to our read alouds for Black History month, along with responding to their own independent reading. I’ll be sending them a collection of books and articles for Black History Month through their GetEpic! library and a Newsela text set. I’ll also include some other reading and videos from various resources for a variety of choice reading options. This Main Idea Reading Response Menu is free and can be used on Google Classroom as a digital response item or you could print the first page for your students to add to their response journals and complete in their notebooks. I’ll have my students share their reading responses digitally, either on Flipgrid, or in a Padlet, for their classmates to view and discover texts and people they are interested in reading and learning more about.

And if we need any more practice resources, my students and I always love these Main Idea and Details Digital Reading and Writing mini-book projects. I’ve used these as differentiated small group instructional resources in previous years, along with differentiated final assessment projects, test prep and extension in other years. You can read more about this resource and how I’ve used it in the past in a previous blog post here.

As always, thanks for reading, and I hope you’ve found some resources you can use with your own students this year!

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