Organizing Main Ideas and Supporting Details
- Grades: 9–12
- Unit Plan:
- Identify and isolate the main ideas and specific details of a short story and other historical accounts.
- Read an historical account.
- Work in cooperative groups to complete a Spider Map graphic organizer.
- Present their group's Spider Map to the class.
- Pre-write with the help of a graphic organizer.
- Review a PowerPoint Presentation Rubric.
- The Big Question Printable (PDF)
- PowerPoint Rubric Printable (PDF)
- Spider Map Graphic Printable (PDF)
- Transparency Marker
- Overhead Projector
- Chart Paper and markers for groups
- I like to use the following collection of books to provide my students with a variety of historical background information. These are high interest, low readability titles that can be used for struggling high school readers. You may substitute with history books from your students' history teachers or those found in your own library.
…Grew Up With Abraham Lincoln
…Lived at the Time of Martin Luther King, Jr.
…Lived at the Time of the American Revolution
…Lived at the Time of the Civil War
…Lived in Colonial Times
…Lived in Williamsburg in Colonial Days
…Lived With the Hopi
…Lived With the Iroquois
…Sailed on the Mayflower
…Traveled West in a Covered Wagon
… Lived in the Days of the Knights
If Your Name Was Changed at Ellis Island
Set Up and Prepare
- Depending on the number of students in your class, divide your
class into 5-6 person groups, allowing for diversity in ability and
gender. Assign a leader for each group and adjust your classroom seating
- Provide each group a blank transparency, a transparency marker,
chart paper, markers, and a copy of a book for each student in the
- Choose 5-6 titles from those listed in the Materials Section. Assign
each group one title, providing copies of that book to each student
in the group.
- Write the directions for the small groups on chart paper or chalkboard.
- Skim the books for your brief Booktalk.
- Copy The Big Question Printable for each student.
- Copy the PowerPoint Rubric Printable for each student.
- Create a transparency of the Spider Map, The Big Question graphic organizer, and the PowerPoint Rubric to be used on the overhead projector. This method will help increase overall comprehension.
Step 1: Introduce this lesson by revisiting the short story A Sound of Thunder. In a discussion, review the concepts of time travel and its effects and outcomes. Share the Spider Map transparency with the class. Explain that the Spider Map is used to describe a central idea: a thing, process, or concept. The map may be used to organize ideas or brainstorm ideas for a writing project. Ask students to identify the central idea or concept and other supporting details that were introduced in the short story A Sound of Thunder. Complete the Spider Map together, using the students' responses.
Step 2: Introduce the 5-6 historical titles you're using for this lesson to the class. Tell them that in a small group, they will be learning important details about each period of history that can be used to help them decide where they'd like to travel in time. Remind them that the more information they collect, the more they will be able to use for their Time Travel PowerPoint presentation. Engage in a brief 1-2 minute Booktalk for each, summarizing the book and creating interest for the students.
Step 3: Tell students that each member of the group will be contributing to a Spider Map based on the content of their group's book. Their completed Spider Map will be shared with the whole class. As a group, they need to select the main concept of the book, its main ideas, and support those ideas with details. Remind them how they complete the map by referring to the earlier discussion about the main idea and details from the short story A Sound of Thunder.
Step 4: Using the prepared chart paper, share the directions for the small group work:
- Decide which sections/chapters of the books each student will read.
- Read the assigned parts silently.
- When finished, students should summarize what they learned for their group member and write it on chart paper.
- The leader will take the blank transparency and, with the assistance of the group, will complete the Spider Map.
- The leader will choose someone in the group to present their Spider Map to the class.
- Present the Spider Map.
Step 5: Share with the students their assigned group/book and the leader in each group and have them get started. Circulate from group to group, observing the process. If any group is having trouble, make an appropriate intervention.
Step 6: When students are finished, reconvene as a whole group and allow some time for each small group to share their Spider Map. Tell them that they will be given a five-question quiz based on what they are learning from each group's Spider Map. Instruct students to be thinking about where they would like to time travel as they listen to the details. They can choose from one of these important historical periods or another era altogether.
Step 7: Remind the students that they will be using their research to write a PowerPoint presentation about their own time travel in the next few days. By now, they should have chosen a place to travel. Share with them that today's pre-writing activity will help them gather their information for these writing activities. Distribute both the Graphic Organizer Printable and the PowerPoint Rubric Printable. Using the transparency, review the rubric with the students and share what you will be evaluating on their final PowerPoint presentation.
Step 8: Distribute The Big Question printable to the students. Using the transparency of The Big Question, review the graphic organizer with the students. Explain that these are the questions that they will be answering in their PowerPoint presentation. Remind them of the questions they saw in the PowerPoint Presentation.
What? or the Central Question = Where would you go?
When? = Which year or period of time would you travel to?
Who? = Who would you want to meet or what event would you want to witness?
Where? = Where would you find this person or see this event?
Why? = Why would you want to meet this person or witness this event?
How? = How might you change history?
Lead a discussion while taking several suggestions from the students. Allow time for the students to complete their graphic organizer. Close the lesson by asking for volunteers to share what they have completed thus far.
Supporting All LearnersWorking in diverse cooperative groups can help struggling students gain assistance from their peers. "Chunking" or dividing the book into sections or chapters to read also helps alleviate anxiety.
- Students can complete their graphic organizer at home, if needed.
- Ask students to review any historical periods of interest at home on their home computer. Students should ask their parents for help.
- Complete Group Spider Map
- Complete The Big Question graphic organizer
EvaluationDid the students work together cooperatively? Did the struggling students receive help when needed? What are some other ways to provide assistance to struggling readers? Did the students learn from listening to the other groups' presentations on each title? Did they comprehend the graphic organizer? Is it ready for their PowerPoint presentation?
Written Outcome: Create 5 questions based on each group's presentation
of their Spider Map and quiz the students.