Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Determining Importance through Music

One way to help determine the main idea is to look at the evidence that the author is giving us. We have been working a lot on how readers need to justify their responses and the details they deem as important. Today, I shared that it isn't some sort of guessing game between the author and reader. It is more of a treasure hunt to pick up the clues/support that the author "drops" for us as to what the Main Idea is.
We recognized that the most important details always support the main idea and that when these match we are able to clearly understand the text.
Once again, Tanny brings this concept to life in an out-of-the-box way through listening to music. I shared with the kids Dolly Parton's beautiful biosong "Coat of Many Colors". I shared with the kids that we can often find out the topic/main idea from the Title. We inferred that the topic was probably going to be A Coat. We also inferred that the Main Idea would have something to do with a coat, but would go much deeper.
Then, I gave them the mission of hunting for the evidence that our author, Dolly, left for us throughout the song that helps us find the Main Idea.
I had the kids listen to the song through once just reading the lyrics so they were familiar with the song. The second time, I challenged them to underline/circle the lines, stanzas, or phrases that they felt were IMPORTANT (noodles) to understanding the Main Idea.

They did SUCH an amazing job of being able to pick out what the main idea was based off of their text evidence. We agreed that, while to topic was A coat that her mother made her, the main idea was that Money does not buy happiness and that you don't have to have money to rich in life (especially those things that money just can't buy - love, family, comfort, security, etc.)

I also shared different evidence sentence stems to help guide them in their response to the text.
We talked about how it is very difficult to express your opinion and point of view about ANYTHING really without providing valid evidence to back it up. I think it is important to always remind students of those things that apply to things outside of the subject (this applies to math, science, social studies, etc) AND out side of the classroom (including conversations with others, proving a point, standing up for yourself or someone else, sharing an opinion, offering a suggestion, etc.)
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