Finding The Main Idea

Author Allison Williford
Grade Level 3-5

Lesson Plan Description
Students will learn the main idea through the use of a song. A country song works best because they generally tell a story. I chose "Wide Open Spaces" by the Dixie Chics

Primary Learning Objective(s):

Students will learn the main idea by finding details while listening and reading the lyrics to a song.

Additional Learning Objective(s):

Students will grow cognitively through social interaction.  Research has shown that 90% of cognitive development comes from social interaction.  This is quated from "The First Six Weeks of School", the Corresponding Classroom.


Copy the lyrics to a song and pass out one to each child.  Pass out highlight markers.  Explain to the children they will listen to a song.  While they are listening to the song, they will followi along by reading the lyrics.  When they come to a detail, they will highlight it. 

 I divide my class into groups.  After the song has been played, each group will brainstorm and share the details they have highlighted.  They will decide as a group which detail they think is the best.  When it is their turn to present their detail, the teacher will write it down on a graphic organizer projected on the overhead.  The graphic organizer can be drawn or made on the computer. I draw a large circle with a line toward the bottom that reads; Main Idea.  Outside the circle are lines drawn that read "detail".  After you have gotten 4 or 5 details, Read all the details.  Place only a new detail on each line.  Do not repeat any. If someone chooses the same detail, they need to come up with another.  Ask the class to determine what the main idea is from the details found in the song lyrics.  Write the main idea on the line.  The students can keep the copy of the song.  They will most likley sing it at recess or other times.  They love this!  Make sure to chose an up beat tune!

Highlight markers for each student and a copy of the song's lyrics.  Also you will need a copy of the song on CD or tape.

Assessment Guidelines:
After you have completed this activity, you can give about 5 small paragraphs out with answer choices.  For more practice, you can have the class work in groups to find the answers. You can then project the short paragraphs onto the overhead to assess as a group.  You can also give a short quiz on main idea.  Encourage students to highlight details to help find the main idea.

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