Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Character Traits, Theme, and Main Idea

We have been working hard the past month and a half learning all about character traits and characters, what main idea is, what theme is and the difference between the two. (There's been lots of learning going on! :)

While we had been learning about character traits, I taught the kids how to FAST (which I got from the link). They really enjoyed it!

I've made it into one of the ways they can do a reader response, and have even taught my Guided Reading Groups how to do it.

Of course, it all started with a chart :)
I've also made a mini-version that fits into their notebooks.
We've also practiced it a bit
Hey look! You can also see a 321 Response and my very neat grading labels :)

After spending most of September on characters and character traits (which I'm going to move closer to October next year!), we moved onto main idea.
We started with main idea and determining importance first, because I wanted the kids to have a good handle on it before I introduced theme. We used our Scholastic News a lot for this!

After I felt they understood what main idea was, I introduced theme.
We had talked a little about theme before, but hadn't really defined it.

We scaffolded by doing Jessica's Big Idea and Theme activity (as a whole class with one book, then in partners and small groups with others)

To continue our practice on it, we did a reader response about theme.
My example-which stayed up for a few days!
They did pretty decently on this (graded most of them today!)

Now, as I was teaching all this, I got sick. :( And, miracle of miracles (a true miracle, since I never take sick days-PD days, but not sick days!), I took a sick day (after convincing from my teamie and the school nurse).

So I had to leave something for the sub that the sub (whom I didn't know at the time it would be) could do, and my kids could do pretty independently.

I had the sub read Ish, by Peter Reynolds, and had the kids come up with the themes of the story (very similar to what we did with The Dot-although they didn't get a chance to do their pictures).
When they moved into small group time (where they have independent work while I pull reading groups), I left Teaching with a Mountain View's Main Idea and Theme task cards. (We've also done her free sort!)
They did pretty well!

We did have to do a little reteaching on both, as we didn't do so well on the test-but we'll be taking a main idea test from my massive ELA assessments that I got from Kristine Nannini (we'll take the theme one after we learn about summary :).

We've now moved onto making inferences, and from what I've seen so far, we've been doing an okay job on that. We still need some more practice :)

Smiles and Sunshine,

1 comment:

  1. You and your students have been busy! I have been working on main idea vs. theme with my 4th graders. It was a tough journey, but they are beginning to see the light. Thank you so much for such wonderful post. I love reading your blog and always find something new to do with my students. I don't comment nearly enough, but I do want you to know that your posts are valued.


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