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        Determining Main Idea and Supporting Details - Wild in the City

        Students use a graphic organizer to record important details and determine the main idea of a video segment. They use the organizer to write an informational paragraph about parakeets in the city.

        Lesson Summary


        Students use a graphic organizer to record important details from the video in order to determine the main idea. Once the graphic organizer is complete, the students will write an informational paragraph about parakeets in the city using the main idea and details from the graphic organizer. 

        Why is this an important concept?

        Learners critically analyze texts by identifying which details are important to the understanding of the content. When learners can identify supporting details, they can focus, organize and clarify their thinking and understanding of texts and work toward the identification of the main idea. 

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        The Lesson

        Part I: Learning Activity

        1. Before beginning this activity, photocopy and distribute copies of the Parakeets Graphic Organizer handout to each student.

        2. Explain to the class that they are going to watch the beginning of a video called "Wild in the City." In this video segment, they will learn interesting details about parakeets that are living in the city. As students view the segment, have them write on a blank sheet of paper details they believe are important.

        3. After viewing the video, discuss with students that some details are more important than others. Sometimes ideas that are interesting may not necessarily be of great importance. Ask students to share some of the details they wrote down, and model how you decide if a detail is of major importance or interesting but not especially important.

        4. Provide time for students to work with a partner and decide which four ideas they listed are the most important. On the Parakeets Graphic Organizer handout, record each important idea in a supporting idea box.

        5. Next, model how you construct a main idea from examining what the supporting ideas have in common. Then from those details, write a sentence that expresses the main idea.

        For students who need additional teacher guidance:
        • Pause the video periodically to discuss the most important ideas. Write those ideas on the board.
        • After viewing the entire video, discuss ideas written on the board and decide which four ideas are the most important details. Write those ideas in the supporting ideas boxes.
        • Guide students to help them construct a main idea.

        Part II: Assessment

        To conclude the lesson, students write informational paragraphs using information in the Parakeets Graphic Organizer handout as a prewriting tool. The main idea is stated in the topic sentence and paraphrased in the concluding sentence.


        The written paragraphs may be added to student portfolios to provide evidence that they have met this performance indicator.


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