Friday, October 4, 2013

Main Idea Activity and Analytical Writing

Ever since starting the new Wonders program, we have been trying to get a good schedule/routine down. Our principal had us go to a 6 day rotation instead of a 5 day rotation. This had prooven to be helpful beyond measure. It gave us time to dig deep into stories and skills. Oh yeah, an to do stations! Whoot! Whoot!

The last six days were all about main idea. Most of our stories were nonfiction (50% of our text has to be nonfiction according to the Common Core) which was great for main idea. With the last story before testing,  my students were completed a consensus map for main idea.

I grouped everyone into groups of 4 and gave them a piece of chart paper with the main idea that the class agreed upon in the middle. The chart paper was then divided into 4 sections. Each person had to give details (we call it evidence) supporting the main idea. After everyone was finished, they had to come to a consensus about the details written on the chart paper. Once everyone agreed, they would each sign the paper in the middle.

This went better than I could have imagined! They were truly digging. This helped them on their reading test too!

Here are some pictures of our little project:
Look at those busy bees working away on their main idea and evidences.

This was the nonfiction text that the students used.

This brings me to our analytical writing ….

In the Common Core, students have to construction analytical writing pieces (answering questions using text evidence) to prove they read. This the first year to write this deeply; therefore, I had to do a lot of modeling on using text evidence.

I found it helpful to create a “show your evidence” wall with sentence stems for showing text evidence.
Here is the guidelines that we set for our writing.

This is the piece I modeled.

This is the piece we wrote together.


They wrote a piece on their own too, and took it home to show their parents about text evidence.

 Here is an example of a student using analytical writing for a test question.