Main Idea & Details
For my Summative project for Assessment & Reflection I decided to wrap up both the school year and necessary IEP progress updates that are due by the end of school. I have an alternative LA class with seven students in grades 6-9, so in IEPs I use the similar basic benchmarks for each student.
Grade Level Benchmarks (and IEP goals) for Informational Text under the heading of KEY IDEAS & DETAILS, showing similar wording.
126.96.36.199 Determine a central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.
188.8.131.52 Determine two or more central ideas in a text and analyze their development over the course of the text; provide an objective summary of the text.
184.108.40.206 Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to supporting ideas; provide an objective summary of the text.
220.127.116.11 Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.
I wanted to revisit the central idea, details and summary for the learning that students have done throughout the year, using both formative and summative assessment to inform my teaching and to evaluate students’ progress. Within the class I have differentiated the level and amount of reading that students have done. Here are the Google Slides that go with this unit. They include links to videos and other activities to revisit this concept. This unit includes both FORMATIVE and SUMMATIVE work, of course. I had my students try an interactive Peardeck activity from this slides presentation (formative). They also did a Kahoot quiz I made as another formative.
It’s important, too, for these students who also may have language delays, to explicitly re-teach the vocabulary of “central idea”:
- What is the main idea?
- What is the central idea?
- What is the key idea?
- What is this passage mostly about?
- What is this article mainly about?
- What is the main message of the author?
Synonyms for main idea
In order to help with this and continually review the concept, my overall METAPHOR is the use of Smarties candies. My students know that the details or information within a paragraph or article or the details within a film or within an image relate to the individual candies inside a package of Smarties. See Slide #6 in Google Presentation.
I have put an “M & M” candy inside the package to indicate a “detail” that does NOT support the main idea as a way to refer to the details as supporting ones. (This is a tactile way for a vision-impaired student to understand the concept.)
I have been diving more and more into Mastery Connect in order to locate summatives others have done regarding Main Idea and Details. I found a few, as well as others not in MC. They each included short passages with multiple choice answers to identify the main idea. Upon giving these assessments to my students, I entered the data into MC by hand. A pitfall of having more than one grade level of students is needing to align with a tracking source that goes by grade level. However, since the wording for the benchmarks is so similar, I chose the 7th grade level wording and tracked my students with this. I gave six different reading comprehension assessments leading to this particular screenshot of progress.
How this is Authentic: Of course, we EAT Smarties!
This assessment has been improved by my students using digital tools to practice these lifelong and ubiquitous concepts in new ways. With two weeks of school remaining, I’ve made a related writing activity for all (a writing assignment: 4- to 5-paragraph essay) related to Main Idea and Details, for which they don’t need to research, as well as extended additional activity for those who have finished the essay AND have mastered the concept. Only one student did not reach this yet and will receive additional support to make sure she understands this.
I have made a Doctopus rubric (Goobric) for grading the essays.
Personal Reflection: I enjoy trying out new tools (Mastery Connect, Doctopus + Goobric, Peardeck), especially when I see applications for my students. The assessment possibilities are increasing, and I have appreciated getting my feet wet for some of these tools. I don’t know yet what my teaching responsibilities will be like next year, but I know I’ll be comfortable with incorporating and using some new tools to show specific progress for my students. I’ve been required to use CBM’s through www.Fastforteachers.org
and have started using this tool, as well, for tracking weekly reading accuracy and fluency. All in all, I will have several options and/or requirements to track progress.