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A Fresh, New Way to Teach Main Idea and Key Details... Without Your Students Falling Asleep!

Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt bored by the mundane, repetitive activities you use to teach your students, with little to no result of them retaining it? ME!

I don’t know about you, but over my years as a teacher, main idea and key details is one of those topics that no matter what activities you try, it doesn’t seem to stick in their little brains. So then it got me thinking… what is a way that I could make this more fun and engaging, something that is relevant to kids that would get them excited to really practice this skill? PIZZA, of course!

You and I both know that involving any kind of food in an activity gets kids talking, making connections, and sharing experiences. That’s why I’ve created this engaging, simple, and easy to use main idea and key details activity to get your students excited about learning. Let’s jump in!

Click here to see this resource in my store.

Main Idea Lesson Plans, Mini Lesson Slides, and Digital Worksheets

To introduce this topic, your class will be whisked away to the charming little pizza shop owned by a young girl named Anna’s family. These are in the form of digital slides that you can easily pull up on your smart board to display. As you walk through each slide, Anna includes visuals for your students to see, as well as a story and practice activity using a main idea graphic organizer worksheet that your students can follow along with. These graphic organizer worksheets are included in digital and printable forms for use in Google slides. There are three different worksheet options for you to choose from to differentiate or enrich among your students.

For planning purposes, I have included a simple, clean lesson plan format that is easy to follow. Each lesson plan includes an “I Can” statement, materials, and step by step directions on what to do on each day. Feel free to add/tweak this as needed. These are just guidelines, the real expert is you!

The best part about these graphic organizers is that they are versatile and you can use them interchangeably. To provide more practice for your students, you could use a non fiction, informational text depending on the standards you are teaching, or you could also choose a fiction book as well. I like to pull up a text from from, but I also have some fiction favorites that I used with my ESL students this year. I will list some of the books I used this activity with below. You can use these main idea and key details graphic organizers throughout the year– again and again!

  • The Bad Seed by Jory John

  • The Couch Potato by Jory John

  • The Friendly Bookshelf by Caroline Brickley and Katherine Brickley

  • Boxitects by Kim Smith

Interactive Notebook Posters & Worksheets

This resource also includes main idea and details posters that you could display on your board or anchor chart for students to reference on their own. I have also added student sheets that are small enough to cut and glue into your students’ notebooks, as pictured above. This will hopefully help cut back on paper and your beloved copy allowance (the struggle is real!)

Foldable Main Idea Pizza Craft!

Now for my favorite part… the main idea pizza craft! As soon as I showed my students the craft they get to make, their eyes instantly lit up. This immediately pulled them in, and the engagement during the lesson leading up to it sky rocketed since they knew what they were doing afterwards. They wanted to pay attention so they knew how to do it! Many times I would pull my other ESL small groups into my classroom, and they would be asking a million questions about the pizza crafts hanging in the hallway. It’s safe to say, this one is definitely tested and kid-approved. :)

The craft includes a template for students to cut out, color, and write underneath the pizza slice flaps. The slices and bottom piece are numbered so students easily know where to glue each slice to put it together. When they finish, they will identify the main idea of the text you chose to use this craft with by writing it on the bottom piece, and they will write the details under each slice. Voila- you are done, and so is your next bulletin board display.

I hope that this main idea and supporting details activity will be useful and fun to boost learning and engagement with your students this year. I created this activity with you and your students in mind, as a former teacher myself. Be sure to let me know how this went by leaving me a review, or tagging me on instagram @carolinacornertpt. Thank you for stopping by!

Click here to grab this resource!



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