Thursday, 7 March 2013

Fun Ways to Teach the Main Idea!

WOW! Is it already the 8th of March!? ...If it is, then I'm late on paying my phone bill hehe. This is the time of year that everyone is pretty much settled into their routine for the year and some looking forward to Easter celebrations, which means...................... CHOCOLATE! haha.
Easter is an important celebration which people often forget the main reason for it, especially since it is so close after Christmas. Easter is mainly a time for forgiveness. That is a tricky thing, you can try to forgive but it is hard to forget, and forgiveness comes with forgetting. 
I am currently working on an Easter bundle which will be released (hopefully) in the next two weeks. It will include literacy and math activities along with texts and activities to incorporate forgiveness. 

Onto this week's freebie. I have to apologise to all my followers out there, I have been MIA (missing in action) for the past couple of weeks due to wedding plans, teaching, and wedding plans. =P 

For this reason, I have combined last week and this week's freebies together. They are worksheets about finding the main idea. I've created one for bees (non-fictional readings) for spring and learning all about bees and another fictional texts about pirates, I love to write stories and I've incorporated that love into this unit - I hope you find it engaging! The link for the freebie is below!

Finding the main idea...hmmmm. It is a really tricky concept to teach. Here are some ways you could use to explain this concept to children / learners:

1. Use an interesting text that the students loved reading or perhaps a new one, a fictional text would be much more engaging for the younger learners. I used a suspense story to help create interest in the story so that learners will actually LISTEN. However, if you choose a factual story about birds for example, they are less likely to be tuned in. Factual stories are more beneficial though.

2. Start by teaching the students how to identify keywords in a sentence. For example: the bird was scared of the dog'. Ask the students which words in the sentences give us the most imnportant details. Begin asking questions about the sentence, 'what is the sentence telling us?' and what is it about, a bird? WHat about the bird? Is it happy? sad? etc. Starting at a sentence level is important for students to understand the bigger picture. 

3. Use a few examples on the board with sentences and have the students pair up and practice finding the main idea. Explain what a paragragh is and what the structure of it is. Write a paragragh on the board and identify the main keywords from the sentences. Identify the main idea of each, then identify the main idea that all the sentences say. Make sure that the learners know that they can identify the main idea anywhere in the paragragh not just the beginning. 

4. Teach learners that they need to use their own words to actually write out the main idea of the paragragh. This will be easier to teach following some examples. 
 Finally here is the link to the freebie. 

If you wish to purchase the full units they are here:

Hope this post was useful for you! Stay tuned for Easter happenings soon. :)
Have a great week.