Students watch a video of "The Stonecutter's Wish," and identify details which support the main idea or theme of the story.
Why is this an important concept?
How students determine the main idea or theme of a fictional or non-fictional text often depends upon the supporting details or contextual clues included within the text. As students develop reading and writing skills it's important that they also learn how to discern details that are essential to understanding what the overall story or topic is about and how those details support the development of a main character.
- The Stonecutter Video
- The Stonecutter Graphic Organizer handout
- Enlargement or transparency of Graphic Organizer
- Chart paper or board, markers or chalk
Part I: Learning Activity
1. Before beginning this activity, photocopy the The Stonecutter Graphic Organizer handout for each student.
2. Explain to the class that they are going to watch a video of a Japanese folktale about a stonecutter. Ask students to think of the answer to the following question as they watch: What is the main thing the stone cutter wants? Play the segment from start to finish.
3. Ask students to share their ideas about what the stonecutter wanted in the story. Select one of their responses to represent the main idea and write that idea on the board: e.g., "The Stonecutter always wanted to be more powerful" or "The Stonecutter is never happy."
4. Distribute copies of the Stonecutter Graphic Organizer. Complete the Main Idea section together as a class.
5. Explain to the class that they're going to watch the video again and to look for details that support the main idea. As students watch the segment, pause after the Stonecutter decides he wants to be a prince. Discuss how this part of the video supports the main idea. On a transparency or enlarged version of the graphic organizer, fill in Supporting Detail #1. Ask students to fill this in on their own copies.For students who need additional teacher guidance:
- Pause the video periodically, at each change the Stonecutter experiences. Write that change on the board. [For example: He was envious of the prince's wealth, so he wished to become a prince. He was envious of the sun's power, so he wished become the sun. He then became a cloud and finally the mountain itself.
- Explain to students that when they watch the video a second time they are going to look for details that support a main idea you will state: The Stonecutter is never content. He always wishes to be someone or something else.
- During the second viewing, pause the video at each transition and ask for student responses that specifically support the stated main idea. Write more detailed responses on the board, and direct students to record their choices on their The Stonecutter Graphic Organizer handout as supporting details.
Part II: Assessment
Continue playing the video, pausing after each time the Stonecutter changes into something else. At each pause, ask students to work with a partner to record a supporting detail in the remaining boxes on the Stonecutter Graphic Organizer.