Topic, Main Idea, and Details is one comprehension skill that my students had a hard time with this year. When asked for the main idea, they would usually give me a 1-2 word answer. I actually won this creativity from Deb Hanson at Crafting Connections last fall, through one of the many giveaways I enter. I had it set aside ready to use, but wasn't quite sure how to go about it with my students and to work it into our reading program. My school levels for core classes so I have one group of kids for reading, one group of math, and another group for homeroom/science/social studies.
With only 4 reading days left, I decided to just plunge in and try it. I needed a change of pace and if I needed it, the kids definitely needed it! My students were excited that we were going to be doing a craftivity, even though they had no clue what it was. I had my own example started to introduce the activity. Each ice cream cone had a sentence on it. That was the main idea. Each ice cream scoop had a sentence that was a supporting detail to one cone. I then asked what was it that each ice cream cone was talking about. Ice Cream! The topic of all of them was ice cream! Yum!
Once I set the kiddos loose on their own, I did have some frustration due to the fact that the students have very little patience. This was a great activity to help them work through that. There was a lot of cutting, glue, and coloring for them to persevere through. It was great to hear the conversations between the students on what details went where or a reaction to some of the unusual ice cream flavors.
This was a fun first go at this activity. I'm really excited for the possible extensions in the future! One extension that a student actually came up with will be great for my intervention reading class next year. She suggested that we take all of our ice cream cones and rewrite them into paragraphs and decorate it with an ice cream border. My jaw almost dropped because I think that is a great idea! It will help highlight the writing process. You start with a topic, come up with the main ideas of each of your paragraphs, and then add details to each. Ta Da! You have an essay!
You can get the product here.
There is actually a bit more to the product then I have talked about.
What do you do to help students separate the concept of Topic and Main Idea?