One of the most confusing aspects of breaking down a piece of writing is separating important details from the not-so-important details. The truth of the matter is, that many details in a piece are there to paint a picture in the reader's mind, not necessarily to help the reader understand the main idea. Don't get me wrong, all details serve a purpose. Without the not-so-important details, many pieces would be boring and unfulfilling to read. But, when students are looking to find the main idea and the most important details, I often urge them to use this strategy: I ask students to imagine erasing all the sentences except for the ones that a reader would absolutely have to have in order to understand the topic. Maybe it makes the piece less exciting and imaginative, but if the reader can finish the piece and get the gist of the topic, then we have done our job. The following video takes the movie, The Wizard of Oz, and gets rid of all the beautiful, exciting, and heartfelt details, and breaks it down to the most crucial information. After watching, you may not understand why the movie was considered a cinematic triumph, but you will get the gist of the story- and those are the most important details.
This week's learning target was all about the main idea. The main idea is the most important point about the topic of a story. Students have achieved this target when they can find the main idea of a passage, find a supporting detail for the main idea, and know which details are unimportant. Finding the main idea of a story helps a reader focus their attention to make sense of what he/she is reading. Good readers will do this automatically, but when we practice the steps of finding a main idea and provide evidence for our thinking, it helps facilitate our metacognition (when we think about our thinking). Try finding the main idea for the topic of something you are reading outside of Read 180. The more you practice this strategy, the easier it will get! Check out the videos below to help with your understanding.
Welcome to a new school year! I am so excited to be teaching a new program at CMS, Read 180! This class is research-based, data-driven, and proven to boost the reading abilities of students. We also have fun learning and get the opportunity to explore and enjoy new books (and those of you who know me, know I L-O-V-E to read!).
Read 180 is a three part program. During class, students will get direct instruction from me in a small-group setting. They will also have time to read a book chosen by them, and just at their reading level. Finally, students will spend time on our computers in class working on the Read 180 software. We also have several audiobooks for students to read and listen to, as well as articles available online through eReads. Students can access the Read 180 website, including the eReads and software, anywhere they have an Internet connection. Check out the link on my home page to make it easier to navigate!
Along with this new program, we also have brand new desks and chairs (all ergonomically correct, of course!), new cozy couches for reading, bookcases filled with new books, interactive whiteboards, plasma tvs, individual whiteboards, Chromebooks, and six brand new desktop computers! I think it is safe to say that we have the best classroom in Clintondale!
So, now that we have all this fantastic stuff, it's time to get to work! Check out this website for helpful tips and links, don't hesitate to ask questions, and get reading!
This is my 14th year teaching. I love Social Studies, Reading and Writing! Tell me something you love and I will give you 5 Parker Pride Tickets!