Lesson 1: What’s the Main Idea?
Leaf by Leaf: Autumn Poems | NP
- Learning Goal
- Explain the main idea of a poem.
- Approximately 2 Days (35-40 minutes for each class)
- Necessary Materials
Provided: Main Idea Chart 1, Main Idea Chart 2, Main Idea Mania Worksheet
Not Provided: Favorite book or movie, chart paper, markers, Leaf by Leaf: Autumn Poems selected by Barbara Rogasky
Before the Lesson
Read the poems and complete the Student Packet Worksheets for “September,” “Hymn to Intellectual Beauty,” “Wild Goose,” and “James Lee”
Activation & Motivation
Bring in a copy of your favorite book or movie to show to the class. Briefly tell students what the book or movie is about. Then, ask students to share their favorite book or movie with the class and describe what the book or movie is about.
will explain that the books or movies we have just discussed all have a main idea. I will explain that just like books or movies have a main idea, poems also have a main idea. I will define a poem’s main idea as what the poem is about. To fully understand a poem, a reader must first figure out its main idea.
I will explain that to find the main idea of a poem, a reader must read through the entire poem first. I will read aloud “Wild Goose” to identify the poem’s main idea. Note:You may want to write the poem on chart paper or the board before the lesson so students can refer to the lines of the poem.
After I’ve read the poem aloud, I will think about the subject of the poem- who or what the poem is about. Sometimes, a poem’s title gives the reader a clue about the poem’s subject, but a title may or may not tell who or what is the subject of the poem. Good readers read the whole poem, with their title clue in mind, before determining the main idea. For example, the title “Wild Goose” tells me that the poem has something to do with a wild goose. But it doesn’t tell me the exact main idea. The wild goose could be a metaphor for something else, like a wild little boy. I will explain that good readers consider a title when trying to figure out the main idea, but also read the whole poem to determine the main idea.
After reading the poem, I will identify who or what the poem is about. The last line of the poem mentions that the subject of the poem is a goose. I know this because the first stanza mentions a migration and a spearhead formation. By reading these lines, I can guess that the poem might be about geese because I know first-hand that geese migrate in a V-formation. The last line gives me specific information that the poem is about a goose because it says, “from the frozen world of earth-bound fools who, shivering, maintain that geese are silly.” I will write this information on Main Idea Chart 1. Note: See Main Idea Chart 1 for specific examples.
Next, I will find out what happens to the subject of the poem. I will underline words or phrases that describe the action. I see that the first stanza of the poem gives me information about the action, such as “He climbs the wind above green clouds of pine, honking to hail the gathering migration.” The second stanza also has plenty of information about the goose’s actions. I will write all of this information on Main Idea Chart 1.
Using information I’ve identified about the subject of the poem (including what happens to the subject and what it is like), I can draw a conclusion about the poem’s main idea. I can conclude that the main idea of “Wild Goose” is that a goose’s migration is smart and beautiful. I will write this on Main Idea Chart 1.
Ask: "How can I figure out the main idea of a poem?" Students should respond that you should look at clues that a title could provide, then you should read the poem aloud and look for who or what the poem is about. Next, you should look for information about what happens or the actions of the subject. Finally, use information about the subject and the action to draw a conclusion about the poem’s main idea.
will identify the main idea of the poem “November Day” on Main Idea Chart 2. First, we will look at the title for clues about the poem’s main idea. Ask: "Does “November Day” give us a clue about the subject of the poem?" (Encourage students to brainstorm about information that the title might give.) Next, we will read the poem together and look for information about the poem’s subject. We will answer the question: Who or what is the poem about? We will record our response on Main Idea Chart 2. We will then look for information that tells us about the subject’s action in the poem. We will answer the question: What is happening in the poem? We will record our response on Main Idea Chart 2. Finally, we will use information about the poem’s subject and subject’s actions to draw a conclusion about the main idea. We will record our response on Main Idea Chart 2.
will read and identify the main idea of “Come Up From the Fields Father.” First, you will write information about the poem’s title on the Main Idea Mania Worksheet. Next, you will read the poem to identify the subject and action of the poem. You will record this on the Main Idea Mania Worksheet. Finally, you will draw a conclusion about the poem’s main idea and record it on the Main Idea Mania Worksheet.
will come together to share our findings about the main idea of the poem.
Build Student Vocabulary serene
|Tier 2 Word: serene|
|Contextualize the word as it is used in the story||“The day becomes more solemn and serene / When noon is past—there is a harmony.”|
|Explain the meaning student-friendly definition)||Serene means calm, peaceful, and free from trouble. When the day in the poem is described as serene, it means that the day is quiet and peaceful.|
|Students repeat the word||Say the word serene with me: serene|
|Teacher gives examples of the word in other contexts||The surface of the lake was smooth and serene–it looked completely undisturbed. I felt serene after talking to my friend, because she herself is so calm.|
|Students provide examples||What is the most serene place you can think of? Why? Start by saying, “The most serene place I know is __________________________ .”|
|Students repeat the word again.||What word are we talking about? serene|
|Additional Vocabulary Words||flaunt, nook, lush, odor, solemn|
Texts & Materials
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