In my last blog post I wrote about how hard it can be to teach main idea to students. As my journey progressed I realized how enlightening it has been to reflect on this standard and how it has made my lessons even stronger. My last post left off where I was using pictures to have students find the main idea. This was working perfectly so I decided to take it a step further with nearpod!
Nearpod is one of my favorite digital teaching tools. My team and I first discovered it last year and we quickly learned the many advantages it can bring to the classroom. It is a fun way to deliver material to students while keeping them engaged and allowing you to quickly assess as you are teaching. Students will need a device to use nearpod but I often have students sharing on one device. Nearpod allows you to teach using an interactive presentation. Students engage on their own device and use it like a whiteboard. Once the students complete a task it shows up on the board. This allows you to see who has answered and how they have answered. While you are delivering material students can see the presentation on their device or on the whiteboard but they are never allowed to “flip” to the next slide or activity until you give them permission to do so from your device. If you would like more information about nearpod click (here).
I downloaded the Main Idea nearpod which went off of my previous lesson of teaching main idea using pictures. This nearpod used puzzle pieces to break main idea down even more. Students had different puzzle pieces that were the “details” to the main idea. The idea is that all the puzzle pieces should make the main idea when put together. The students loved this and were quickly engaged. Students started to dissect the different puzzle pieces to create main idea sentences. One puzzle had pieces that were a dog, cage, bed, and dish. Students worked in their groups and came up with different main ideas such as: “I am taking care of a dog. Things I need to take care of a puppy”. After this activity we started to move onto finding the main idea in text.
Since it is very close to Thanksgiving I decided to have my students research information on turkeys. Each student had their own passage that gave them information about turkeys. Students used the graphic organizer I had presented to them in the beginning of the unit to dissect the text. To my surprise they did a great job! Many students came up with, “Turkeys have many unique characteristics” for the main idea. I then gave each student a highlighter. Students had to search through the text to find three supporting sentences and highlight them. Students then had to write those sentences into their own words on the graphic organizer. My students had a blast looking for sentences and proving their main idea to other peers.
As the unit progresses I hope to see my students growing in this topic. My students are slowly working towards finding the main idea in a text independently. I am excited to see what happens next!