Sunday, November 4, 2012

How to Help Students that Don't Understand Main Idea

Really speaking, main idea is a topic that gains so much attention in schools because so many students have such a challenging time grasping this topic.  What can be done?

1.  Make instruction as explicit as possible.  My main idea instruction begins with hands-on main idea manipulatives.  

This puzzle is just one of the manipulatives that students use to learn about main idea in my classroom.

2.  Assist students with sorting ideas and concepts.  This takes practice.  I have found that students really grasp the concept well and transfer this knowledge when they learn about main idea in a variety of ways.
I work with students that are gifted, on grade level, as well as students with diverse needs from K-8th grade.  When teachers have students of a variety of ability ranges, it can be a concern when it comes to having resources to meet the needs of every student and every learning style. 

This is one of the main idea/classification centers that I use with my pre-readers and less verbal autistic students. Many classrooms have students with a variety of needs whether there are students that need extra practice, autistic students, or students with speech intervention plans, I really wanted to have main idea resources for all of the students that I work with.  This is a differentiated game from the document called Hands-On Main Idea.

3.  Give students practice with stating the main idea after reading text.  A game similar to Scategories is included in my product called Hands-On Main Idea.  Students read sentences that are on game cards and determine the main idea using sentence starters that are included in the game.
To see additional main idea resources, click on a link below.

 These images are from Hands-On Main Idea, the very first main idea manipulatives.  In addition to printable manipulatives, lesson plans,  and directions for making main idea bean bags, there are several differentiated main idea games that can be used for small group instruction and appeal to a variety of learner styles such as visual learners, autistic students, or even students that have speech processing disorders.  Click Here for Hands-On Main Idea

These game pieces are from the product called Main Idea Street.  Student place houses with details on them onto the correct street that has main ideas.Access Main Idea Street Here

Students need to just practice main idea use my differentiated main idea task cards.  Level A is written at a 1st-2nd grade range and Level B is written at a 3rd-5th grade range.  Both are in one document.  Click Here For Differentiated Main Idea

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