By Cameron Pipkin
In the third grade, many of the standards for English begin to focus heavily on identifying elements of a text, things like topics, words, points of view, etc. Identifying the main idea of a text is really pretty foundational to all of this. That’s why I like the third-grade Common Core Standards ELA lesson plan you see featured in the video above. Ms. Bannon does a very good job of taking what can be a confusing task—extricating ideas and prioritizing which are most important—and putting it in terms that the kids can understand. Without a firm understanding of this principle, many subsequent ELA standards for the third grade will become difficult to teach.
In the first minute or two of the video, Ms. Bannon explains that to identify the main idea of a story, she will help her students distinguish relevant and irrelevant facts. To begin her third-grade Common Core Standards ELA lesson plan, she talks to the class about how she left out the most important detail of a story she told her husband the night before. She builds a really nice metaphor as she does so, equating the most important idea in a story to the thread in a sweater that if pulled, unravels the whole garment.
“Kind of like that sweater,” Ms. Bannon explains, “if you rip out one piece, and the whole thing falls apart; if you take out that main idea, the entire story falls apart—it doesn’t make sense anymore.”
The rest of Ms. Bannon’s third-grade Common Core Standards ELA lesson plan centers around a story she reads with her class. After they read together, the students break up into groups and discuss what the main idea is.
Though the lesson is perhaps a little dry for young students, I was impressed at the way Ms. Bannon’s third-grade Common Core Standards ELA lesson plan got the children talking in a pretty sophisticated way about the elements of story.
What do you think?