Once, I was at a hockey game with my son.
My son replied, “I’m not backing you up if you do something stupid.”
My son replied, “I’m not backing you up if you do something stupid.”
My first love was a girl named Anita Bailey (a common enough name that revealing it will not enable anyone to google or FB her). We met when we were in primary school, and had a glorious, tragic, intimate year and a half together. After we broke up (all my fault), I missed her every day, for years. Every single day.
feel all alone.
I think the fear of death is well founded, and I want to highlight another aspect of it.
A longevity gap would involve a difference, not only in the quantity of life, but in its very nature. Life extension will transform the way we think of ourselves and our lives, creating a profound psychological gap between those who have it and those who don’t.
But even so, we soon realise that our time is limited and that, if we want our projects, possessions and memory to endure, we must find people who will care for them when we are gone. Death encourages the most self-absorbed of us to become transmitters of one kind or another. Readers of George Eliot’s novel Middlemarch (1871) will remember her portrait of the self-centred scholar Edward Casaubon, who as death approaches becomes pathetically desperate for his young wife to continue his researches.
I talk a lot about research in this space.
Last week, I read your article about how to teach theme to students by having them track character changes across a story and determine what lesson the character learns to determine the overall theme.Can you offer advice on determining the main idea of an informational text? Specifically, for third grade, students must determine the main idea, recount the key details and explain how the key details support the main idea. What is the best way HOW to teach this to third graders?
Teaching “main idea” might seem simple, but it’s actually kind of complicated.
Not everyone even agrees on what label to use. Are we talking about main ideas, central ideas, purposes, topics, central messages, or themes? I dealt with that vexing confusion previously, Dazed and Confused: The Main Idea of Main Ideas.
No need to retread that mushy ground today. Let’s just assume you mean what I mean when it comes to main ideas (and if there is any doubt, just read that previous blog entry).
But even when we agree on what a main idea is, there are lots of differences in what is taught in pursuit of main idea. In an examination of main idea instruction (Jitendra, et al., 2001), lots of distinctions had to be made. Were students taught main idea as an objective or a strategy? Was it for fiction or non-fiction? Short, medium, or long texts? Were students presented with main ideas, choosing main ideas, identifying them, or constructing them? Were the main ideas explicit or implicit? And, if they were explicit, where in the text did they appear?
Jitendra and colleagues found that different programs taught main idea in very different ways, and none were taught in ways that are very consistent with research results!
Those distinctions are important instructional considerations.
Let’s face it, it is one thing to find a main idea in a four-sentence paragraph in which the author signals its presence with language like, “The most important thing to remember …” and it is quite another to infer an unstated main idea from a 12-page chapter on electricity.
That study didn’t even exhaust the possible distinctions. Chang & Choi (2014) showed that the inclusion of particularly interesting or seductive information in a text (like the fact that George Washington had wooden teeth or that a lightning strike once restored a blind man’s sight) can block readers from developing coherent mental representations of expository texts. In other words, interesting facts like that can distract readers from getting the main idea.
And, then there is the range of topics possible, and the amount of prior knowledge kids may have with particular topics.
To teach main idea successfully one is going to have to provide lots of practice with a rich and varied collection of texts.
The problem here is that main idea location or identification is not a really a skill, per se. Skills are highly repetitive acts, but main ideas are so varied and arise in such a wide-ranging universe of texts that repetition is only possible in artificial instructional exercises.
That’s why, despite the success researchers have often found in teaching main ideas to kids, their results usually haven’t transferred to better performance on standardized tests (e.g., Sjostrom & Hare, 1984). Main idea teaching not only doesn’t usually lead to better general reading achievement, but doesn’t necessarily even improve kids’ performance on main idea questions — though this is because such questions don’t actually tap main idea as a separable skill (e.g., ACT, 2006; Davis, 1944).
I’d suggest the following guidelines for teaching main idea:
The National Reading Panel (2000) found that teaching students to summarize as they read had a positive impact on reading comprehension and Graham & Hebert (2010) found that writing summaries of text was particularly powerful in the elementary grades. Summaries include main ideas of course, but these are embedded in a plethora of skills and actions.
For example, teaching summarization as a strategy means teaching students to use summarization to support their reading comprehension. They need to learn when to summarize. If I’m reading something that is difficult for me, I summarize more often — sometimes as much as every paragraph or so. In other cases, I may be able to wait until the end (or at least until the end of a section). Sometimes, I actually note these summaries down and other times it is enough to say them in my head.
In any event, the idea is that I am actively trying to understand and remember the text, by frequently stopping to retell myself the important ideas.
here is a fact to bear in mind: no language has fallen apart from lack of care. It is just not something that happens – literally. Prescriptivist cannot point to a single language that became unusable or inexpressive as a result of people’s failure to uphold traditional vocabulary and grammar. Every language existing today is fantastically expressive. It would be a miracle, except that it is utterly commonplace, a fact shared not only by all languages but by all the humans who use them.
[B]uxom, which means only obedient, is now made, in familiar phrases, to stand for wanton; because in an ancient form of marriage, before the Reformation, the bride promised complaisance and obedience, in these terms: ‘I will be bonair and buxom in bed and at board.’
Depression feels terrifying. Your world is dark, heavy, and painful. Physical pain, you think, would be much better—at least the pain would be localized. Instead, depression seems to go to your very soul, affecting everything in its path.
Many primary school teachers who works with economically disadvantaged schoolchildren, can be discourage to hear phrases like “significant achievement gap” or “30-million-word gap” in discussions of the reading and vocabulary development of our students. But research does bear those phrases out: There are clear trends of underachievement in academics for students of low socioeconomic status (SES).