ALEX Lesson Plan


What Is The Main Idea?

You may save this lesson plan to your hard drive as an html file by selecting "File", then "Save As" from your browser's pull down menu. The file name extension must be .html.

  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Judith Smith
System: Cullman County
School: Cullman Child Development Center
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 16483


What Is The Main Idea?


During this lesson students begin to identify the main idea of a story they read or hear. Students use graphic organizers to discover the main idea of The Carrot Seed, by Ruth Krauss, and Marsupial Sue, by John Lithgow.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
TC2 (K-2)
6. Identify uses of technology systems in daily living.
TC2 (K-2)
7. Use digital tools to access and retrieve information.
Examples: online libraries, multimedia dictionaries, search engines, directories
  • Evaluating accuracy of digital content
  • Example: determining fact versus opinion
    TC2 (K-2)
    10. Design original works using digital tools.
    Examples: tools—digital drawing tools, music software, word processing software, digital cameras
    ELA2015 (1)
    9. With prompting and support, read prose and poetry of appropriate complexity for Grade 1. [RL.1.10]
    ELA2015 (1)
    11. Identify the main topic and retell key details of a text. [RI.1.2]

    Local/National Standards:


    Primary Learning Objective(s):

    Students will relate the main idea of a story.

    Additional Learning Objective(s):

     Preparation Information 

    Total Duration:

    31 to 60 Minutes

    Materials and Resources:

    Old magazines or catalogs, scissors, The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss
    Marsupial Sue by John Lithgow with CD (if available), art materials and paper (optional)

    Technology Resources Needed:

    Computer with Internet access, presentation software, LCD projector, MS Paint (optional), scanner (optional)


    The teacher will need to preview the stories to determine the main idea and any vocabulary words that need to be explained. Copy the attached template file to the computer.

    1.)Begin the lesson by giving each student a magazine or a catalog. Ask them to find a picture they like and cut it out.
    Ask students what their picture is about. Explain that what their picture is about is the main idea of the picture. Explain that books have main ideas too.
    Tell students that they are going to learn how to determine the main idea of some books.

    2.)Once again explain that the main idea of a story is what the story means.
    Explain that spinkled means to water a little so children will understand the meaning of the word in the story.

    3.)Read The Carrot Seed to the class, then use a graphic organizer to figure out what the main idea of the story is.
    Fill in the graphic organizer with characters, what they said, the final result, and then the main idea of the story.
    Discuss the main idea of the story and that the boy never gave up on the carrot seed.
    (Spider Web)
    This graphic organizer will help students determine the main idea of a book.

    4.)Tell students that the next book will have a different main idea.
    Then put in the CD to Marsupial Sue.Walk around the room with the book, showing the pages.
    Use another copy of the graphic organizer to work with students to help them determine the main idea.
    Discuss the main idea of the story and explain that Marsupial Sue should have been happy with who she was instead of trying to be something she was not.

    5.)Allow students to pick out their favorite classroom book. Give students time to read their books. Then work with each student to create one slide of a slideshow presentation about the main idea of the book. Use the attached template. (While students are waiting to put their information on the slides, they may draw a picture of a favorite scene from the story using colored pencils/crayons or Microsoft Paint software. Scan the pictures (if using paper) and insert the pictures into the slideshow before presenting it to the class.

    6.)Once the slide show is complete, present it to the class. After the presentation, allow students to work with a partner to read the stories from the following website. Let students discuss the main ideas of the stories.
    Have students choose a short story under reading content. If students have trouble reading a word they can click on the button next to the sentence and it will be read to them.

    **Some files will display in a new window. Others will prompt you to download.

    Assessment Strategies

    The teacher will check the slideshow presentations for accuracy.





    Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

    Presentation of Material Environment
    Time Demands Materials
    Attention Using Groups and Peers
    Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior
    Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.