Monday, September 15, 2014

A Peek at Our Week: Main Idea and Similes/Metaphors

Good evening, friends! It finally feels like fall here in SW Ohio. The colder temperatures made me grateful I had my favorite black bean soup cooking away in my Crockpot tonight. :)  

Last week, our focus skill was main idea.  Which can be such a hard skill for my bigger kids, especially when the main idea isn't explicitly mentioned in the first sentence or two of a paragraph/text.  

We started our week by watching BrainPop's Main Idea video.  It is one of their free videos and you can find it {here}

It does a great job explaining how topic and main idea are not the same.  I highly recommend using it when you teach main idea!

Our Treasures anchor text last week was A Walk in the Desert. Which can be a really long/difficult text to read.  So, we only read chunks of it and I did lots of think a louds/modeling to demonstrate how to find the main idea and supporting details of the pages we read together. 

On Tuesday, I had my students complete a formative assessment on main idea. I also had them rate themselves on their understanding of main idea. 

This is the rating scale that my partner teacher and I use.  It really helps that both of us use the same language. 

I used their formative assessment/self assessment rating to create tiered activities/groups for the next day.  

My group that had low self assessment ratings/poor performance on their formative assessments worked with me. 

We started off by constructing paragraphs using Christina's Main Idea Race.  The hands on practice was SO beneficial and really helped a lot of my students differentiate the difference between main idea sentences and detail sentences. 

Then we completed one of Tracy's Main Idea Practice Pack passages together.  My students LOVE this pack.  I love it too because of all the differentiation options it has.  

My students that rated themselves a 3 and only missed a few on their formative assessment completed Bright Concept for Teachers Main Idea Task Cards and a reading passage with a main idea web. 

This passage is from Kim Miller's Find the Main Idea With Non Fiction Texts Freebie.  

My students who rated themselves as a 4/had a perfect score on their formative assessment, completed some of Teaching With a Mountain View's Main Idea Task Cards.  

They really loved reading these passages. :) I heard lots of giggles/"I didn't know that..." while my students were working through the task cards. 

Later in the week, I introduced similes and metaphors.  We revisit this a lot throughout the year. So last week, I just focused on the differences between the two.  As the year goes on, we'll focus more on determining the meaning of the similes and metaphors we come across in our reading. 

I always play this similes and metaphor song at the beginning of our first similes and metaphor lesson. My kids always LOVE it and request it often, it also makes a great brain break!

After watching the music video, I read this book to the class to build on their knowledge of similes and metaphors. It's a fun little book and my students always enjoy it. 

You can find it on Amazon {here}

After the music video and read aloud, we used a flip book from my Similes and Metaphors Activity Pack to take notes/write examples of each. 

Then we played a little Simile and Metaphor Tic Tac Toe, which was a great way to practice differentiating the difference between similes and metaphors in our reading/writing. 

 Similes and Metaphor Tic Tac Toe is from my Similes and Metaphors Activity Pack too. 

We were very busy last week and we are starting the Daily Five this week!  Our first day of rotations was today and it went pretty well.  Of course we have some things to work on but overall I'm very pleased. 

Have a great week! :) 


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Hi Lisa,
    I love your rating scale and inspirational chalkboard posters! Are they available to download on your site or on teachers pay teachers for purchase? Thanks!

  3. Thanks for sharing all of the awesome resources. They are all on my wishlist for later review!

    4th Works

  4. Hi Lisa,

    I just updated my rating scale for this school year too to demonstrate the progression from 1-4. Last year, our team used a 4-0 (left to right) scale, but I like this one so much more especially since I have student response cards that go along with it! Is your school doing these learning scales because of the Marzano research?
    Antonia @ forkin4th

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