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ELA G4:M2B:U1:L4

A Closer Read for Main Ideas: What Is Important about Animal Defenses?

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The Foundational Reading and Language Standards Resources Package for Grades 3–5

Use this guide to build additional literacy blocks alongside the module lessons.

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Long Term Learning Targets

  • I can paraphrase portions of a text that is read aloud to me. (SL.4.2)
  • I can determine the main idea using specific details from the text. (RI.4.2)
  • I can determine the meaning of academic words or phrases in an informational text. (RI.4.4)
  • I can determine the meaning of content words or phrases in an informational text. (RI.4.4)

Supporting Targets

Learning TargetsOngoing Assessments
  • I can paraphrase information presented in a read-aloud on animal defense mechanisms.
  • I can determine the main idea of sections of “Award-Winning Survival Skills.”
  • I can identify details that support the main idea of sections of “Award-Winning Survival Skills.”
  • Listening Closely note-catcher (page 4 of Animal Defenses research journal)
  • Determining the Main Idea note-catcher (pages 5 and 6 of Animal Defenses research journal)

Agenda

AgendaTeaching Notes

1. Opening

A. Reviewing Learning Targets (5 minutes)

B. Engaging the Reader: Read-aloud of Venom (10 minutes)

2. Work Time

A. Determining Main Ideas and Supporting Details: Guided Practice (15 minutes)

B. Determining Main Ideas and Supporting Details: Partner Practice (20 minutes)

C. Ticket: Confirming Inferences from Visuals (5 minutes)

3. Closing and Assessment

A. Animal Defense Mechanisms: KWL Chart (5 minutes)

4. Homework

A. Continue your independent reading.

  • This lesson opens with the routine of hearing a few pages of Venom read aloud. Students use the Listening Closely note-catcher in the same way as in Lesson 3, completing the table and writing a gist statement after. This allows them to practice paraphrasing the text heard aloud, helping them to work toward meeting the SL.4.2 standard. Repetition of this routine allows students to master this speaking and listening standard.
  • This is the third and final lesson where students read the article “Award-Winning Survival Skills.” In this lesson, students reread the article to determine the main idea of selected sections, first with teacher support, and then with their partners. In the lessons that follow, students will practice these skills in a more independent fashion when they are introduced to the central text, Animal Behavior: Animal Defenses.
  • Note: Students will reread an excerpt of “Award Winning Survival Skills,” called “Best Action Hero: The spiny pufferfish” as a part of their mid and end of unit assessment in Unit 2.  Students will need to reference their notes on this section of the text during these assessments, so be sure they hold on to their notes.
  • Collect students’ Animal Defenses research journals at the end of the lesson for formative assessment. In future lessons, students will continue working with the same note-catchers introduced in Lessons 2–4. Review students’ work on the note-catchers to identify any areas that students may need clarification or further explanation.
  • Review: Back-to-Back, Face-to-Face protocol, Fist to Five in Checking for Understanding techniques (see Appendix).
  • Post: Learning targets.

Vocabulary

VocabularyMaterials

paraphrase, main idea, supporting details; habitat, sluggish, inflate

  • Venom (book for teacher read-aloud, pages 26–27)
  • Document camera
  • Animal Defenses Research Journals (from Lesson 1)
  • Listening Closely note-catcher (page 4 of Animal Defenses research journal; one per student and one to display)
  • Listening Closely note-catcher (completed, for teacher reference)
  • Equity sticks
  • “Award-Winning Survival Skills” (from Lesson 2; one per student and one to display)
  • Vocabulary Strategies anchor chart (from Lesson 3)
  • Animal Defense Mechanisms glossary (pages 26–28 Animal Defenses research journal)
  • Animal Defense Mechanisms Word Wall (from Lesson 3)
  • Determining the Main Idea note-catcher (pages 5 and 6 of Animal Defenses research journal; one per student and one to display)
  • Sticky note (one for modeling)
  • Determining the Main Idea note-catcher (completed, for teacher reference)
  • Examining Visuals note-catcher (page 2 of Animal Defenses research journal; from Lesson 2; one per student and one to display)
  • KWL Chart: Animal Defense Mechanisms (page 1 of Animal Defenses research journal; from Lesson 1; one per student and one to display)

Opening

OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Reviewing Learning Targets (5 minutes)

  • Gather students for a round of Back-to-Back, Face-to-Face. Once students are back-to-back with a partner, read the first learning target and ask:

*   “What does this learning target mean?”

  • Call on a few pairs to share their explanations. Clarify the meaning of each target as needed.
  • Repeat this for the second and third learning targets.
  • Use of protocols like Back-to-Back, Face-to-Face allows for total participation of students. It encourages critical thinking, collaboration, and social construction of knowledge. It also helps students practice their speaking and listening skills.

B. Engaging the Reader: Read-aloud of Venom (10 minutes)

  • Display the cover of Venom so all students can see. Open to pages 10 and 11 and ask:

–   “What did we learn about animal defense mechanisms when we read aloud Venom yesterday?” 

  • Listen for responses like: “Bees and wasps use venom to protect themselves and their hives.” Validate responses and explain to students that they will be listening to another section of Venom today.
  • Using a document camera, display a blank Listening Closely note-catcher (page 4 Animal Defenses research journal). Invite students to open to page 4 in their Animal Defenses research journals to view their note-catchers. Remind them that they will be using this note-catcher to record information heard during the read-aloud.
  • Use equity sticks to call on students. Review how to use the note-catcher by asking:

–   “What kind of information do we record in each part of this note-catcher?” Listen for responses like: “How ants protect themselves in the first column, and explain how that helps the ant survive in the second column, and we record other facts about ants in the box below. Then we write a gist statement at the bottom.”

  • Explain to students that they will listen to a new part of Venom read aloud several times. Remind them that the first time they hear it, they should simply listen to what is being read. The second time they hear it read, they should begin to fill in the table.
  • Read aloud pages 26 and 27.
  • Invite students to turn and talk with a neighbor, sharing one interesting thing they heard during the read-aloud. Use equity sticks to call on two students to share what their partners found interesting.
  • Tell students that they will now hear pages 26 and 27 read aloud a second time. They should now record notes in the note-catcher as you read aloud.
  • Read aloud pages 26 and 27 in Venom, stopping briefly after each paragraph. If necessary during each short pause, remind students to fill in notes on their note-catchers.
  • Ask students to Think-Pair-Share about each of the following questions:

*   “What is an example of how ants protect themselves?” Listen for responses like: “Some ants sting or spray their enemies.”

*   “How do those defense mechanisms help ants survive?” Listen for responses like: “Fire ants stings cause their enemies to itch, which lets the ant get away.”

  • Ask students to paraphrase orally with a partner, then record a gist statement.
  • Give students a few minutes to work, then use equity sticks to call on pairs to share their gist statements. Listen for responses like: “This section talked about different kinds of ants, but mostly it was about fire ants. It talked about how these ants protect themselves by stinging, biting, and spraying their enemies.”

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Determining Main Ideas and Supporting Details: Guided Practice (15 minutes)

  • Invite students to take out their “Award-Winning Survival Skills” article. Display a copy so all students can see.
  • Ask students to join their reading partner. Review the homework from the previous lesson: “In the text ‘Award-Winning Survival Skills,’ reread the section ‘Best Action Hero: The spiny pufferfish.’ Use the vocabulary strategies to determine the meaning of the following words: habitat, sluggish, and inflates. Write what you think each word means and the strategy you used to find the meaning. Hint: Text features, root words, and inferring are strategies you can use to figure out the meaning of these words.”
  • Ask students to share their definitions of words habitats, sluggish, and inflate and how they determined the meanings of these words with their partner.
  • Use equity sticks to call on pairs to share. As necessary, demonstrate how to determine the meaning of each word: “‘Coral-reef habitats’ suggests that the word habitat is a place, like a coral reef, where this animal lives. So I think habitat means where an animal lives. Sluggish sounds like the word slug and the suffix -ish means like, so I think ‘sluggish swimmer’ means it swims slow, like a slug. When I read the word inflate, I inferred that this word means get bigger, because right after the word, the text says, ‘three times its size.’”
  • Ask students to find and record the word habitat in their glossaries and add this word to the Word Wall.
  • Remind students that yesterday and for homework they focused on figuring out the meaning of challenging words, and that has prepared them to reread the text and figure out the main idea of the sections they focused on yesterday (the armadillo, mimic octopus, and pufferfish). 
  • Tell students that the main idea is what a text, or part of a text, is about overall. Explain that this is somewhat different than the gist of the text.  Tell students that the gist is what readers think the text is mostly about after a first read.  It does not have to be supported with evidence from the text. 
  • Explain that the main idea is different because it is supported with evidence from the text.  Explain this evidence is made up of details from the text that support the main idea, these are called supporting details.  Explain that readers determine the main idea through careful close reading and that they will have a chance to practice this today with Award-Winning Survival Skills.
  • Tell students that when a reader is trying to figure out the main idea, one strategy they can use is to read the text paragraph by paragraph, and ask themselves the same question after each paragraph: “What is this text about?” and as they read they revise their answer to this question.
  • Display the text “Award-Winning Survival Skills.” Show the first section that was assigned for homework in Lesson 3, “Best Action Hero: The spiny pufferfish” and a blank copy of the Determining the Main Idea note-catcher (pages 5 and 6 of Animal Defenses research journal). Ask students to get out their copy of the note-catcher.
  • Model with a think-aloud: “For example, the section of the text you read for homework is titled ‘Best Action Hero: The spiny pufferfish.’ If I asked myself the question, ‘What is this section about?’ my first thought would be that the main idea is going to have something to do with the pufferfish. Let me read the first paragraph, then check my thinking about the main idea.”
  • Ask students to read along silently as you read aloud the first paragraph of the section titled “Best Action Hero: The spiny pufferfish.”
  • Continue to think aloud: “Okay, so after reading this paragraph, I am thinking the main idea is that the pufferfish gets really big when something tries to eat it, because the text says ‘the puffer inflates to three times its normal size.’ Now I will check my thinking by reading the last paragraph of this section.” 
  • Write a first draft of the main idea on a sticky note and place it next to the text where students can see it: The main idea is that the pufferfish puffs up to three times its size.
  • Ask students to read along silently as you read the last paragraph of the section. Then say: “Let’s check my main idea and if it needs any revision.” Read your main idea and ask: “How should I revise my main idea?” 
  • Give students a few minutes to discuss the question with a partner.
  • Then use equity sticks to hear students’ revision ideas. Listen for main ideas similar to the following: “The pufferfish inflates to defend itself from predators” (see completed version of the Determining the Main Idea note-catcher in the supporting materials). Ask students to record this main idea into their note-catchers as well.
  • Next, ask students to help you locate two to three details from the text that support this main idea and record these into the right-hand column next to the main idea for this section of the text. Listen for details such as: “It swallows water until it is completely full,” or “sharks have died from a pufferfish inflating in their esophagus.”

  • The teacher may offer selected shorter passages to specific groups based on the readiness and needs of the group. This provides an opportunity for students to read a complex text within the fourth-grade level span, but differentiates the length of the text, not the complexity.
  • Graphic organizers and recording forms provide the necessary scaffolding that is especially critical for learners with lower levels of language proficiency and/or learning and engage students more actively. For students needing additional support, provide a partially filled-in graphic organizer.
  • Provide ELLs with a sentence starter or frame to aid in language production. For example: This section is mostly about …

B. Determining Main Ideas and Supporting Details: Partner Practice (20 minutes)

  • Tell students that they will now reread two more sections of the text to determine the main idea and supporting details with their partner. Point out the sections indicated on the Determining the Main Idea note-catcher “Best Special Effect: The three-banded armadillo” and “Best Impersonator: The mimic octopus.”
  • Give students 15 minutes to reread these sections of the text and determine the main idea and two to three supporting details for each.
  • Circulate and observe students. If you notice a significant portion of your students struggling during this partner work, have your students stop partner work after reading and determining the main idea and supporting details for the first section. Then review their answers as a class and have them make any necessary revisions to their notes. At this point you could release them to continue partner work again or provide additional guided practice and work through the second section as a whole class.
  • After students have finished reading and determining main idea and supporting details for these sections of the text, use equity sticks to have pairs share their work. Clarify as needed and allow students to revise their notes. Use the completed version of the Determining the Main Idea note-catcher to guide your work with students.
  • For students who struggle, consider providing additional guided practice determining the main idea and supporting details in the text. This can be done in small teacher-led groups using other sections of “Award-Winning Survival Skills” during your class’s guided and independent reading time.

C. Confirming Inferences from Visuals (5 minutes)

  • Congratulate students on their close reading of the selected sections of the text. Tell them that you would now like to look back at their Examining Visuals note-catchers (page 3 of Animal Defenses research journal)and display your own copy as well.
  • Tell students that at this point they should be able to fill in the third column of this note-catcher. Review the note-catcher, and ask students to read what they inferred about the three-banded armadillo, the mimic octopus, and the pufferfish.
  • Ask students to work independently and use details in the text to confirm as correct or incorrect what they inferred from the visuals of these animals in the text and record this information on their note-catchers.
  • Quickly model what this might look like with the pufferfish. For example: “When I looked at the pufferfish, I inferred that it just used its spike to protect itself. I did not know that it could puff up to three times its normal size.” Then record these notes on the displayed copy of the note-catcher.
  • Collect students’ Animal Defenses Research Journals after the closing of this lesson to check their Examining Visuals note-catcher as an exit ticket.
  • This exit ticket acts as an independent comprehension check. If students are still struggling with comprehending the text, they will have difficulty with this task. Use this information to help determine which students may need more support with this text during your guided and independent reading.

Closing & Assessments

Closing

A. Animal Defense Mechanisms: KWL Chart (5 minutes)

  • Invite students to turn to the Animal Defense Mechanisms: KWL chart (page 1 of Animal Defenses research journal). Remind students that researchers always reflect on and record what they’ve learned.
  • Invite students to Think-Pair-Share. Ask:

*   “Were any of your questions answered after reading ‘Award-Winning Survival Skills’?”

*   “What new information did you learn from this article?”

  • Tell students to write the answers to any questions they had in the W column in the “I Learned” column, in the “Information” section. Include the name of the article in the “Source” column.
  • Ask students to also write one new piece of information they learned from the article in the “I Learned” column.
  • Collect students’ Animal Defenses Research Journals to check their Examining Visuals note-catcher completed in Work Time C as an exit ticket.

Assessment

None

Homework

Homework
  • Continue your independent reading.

Supporting Materials

None

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