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Ateneo De Manila High School | Tulong-Dunong Tutoring


ENGLISH 6

LESSON GUIDE NO. 7

Identifying the Main Idea

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

At the end of the session, the TD Kids should be able to

  1. Describe the meaning and purpose of the main idea in a paragraph or selection

  1. Identify the main idea/topic sentence in a selection or paragraph



REVIEW OF PREVIOUS LESSON / MOTIVATIONAL ACTIVITY FOR NEW LESSON

This part will be prepared by the TD tutors.


LESSON PROPER

  1. Spelling/Vocabulary

    1. Ask your kids to take out their dictionary or lend them the dictionaries you brought for them

    2. Instruct the kids to look up the meaning of the following words in the dictionary. You can have it as a contest.

      1. bridle

      2. chain

      3. race

      4. jumble

      5. notice

      6. chat

      7. track




  1. Reading: Freedom to the Child – Bridled or Unbridled?

    1. Preparation: Ask the following questions:

      1. When do you say that you are unfree?

      2. What is freedom to you?

    2. Read the essay aloud while the children follow silently. (Reproduce copies of the essay for the children.)




  1. Reading Comprehension

    1. What is the topic of this essay?

    2. What did the writer compare freedom to?

    3. Based on the article, what is the difference between a bridle and a chain? What is the purpose of a bridle?

    4. What analogy did the writer use to explain that freedom must be bridled? Draw that analogy on a sheet of paper and describe it in your words.

    5. With this analogy, how does the author define freedom? Do you agree with him or not? Explain your answer.


Points to emphasize in the essay:

  • Authentic freedom is not the absence of constraints or rules.

  • Rather, it is the act of doing the good or being good. (Selflessness, honesty, generosity, compassion, justice, faithfulness, etc.)

    • Authentic freedom entails responsibility. It is bridled.



  1. Discussion of the concept of the “main idea.”




    1. As a transition in introducing the concept of a “main idea” to the students, discuss the following:

Just as it is good and necessary to put a bridle on our actions, it is also necessary to put a bridle on the way we write, so that it will have some direction. Imagine what would happen if we wrote without control and direction. We could come up with a paragraph that was something like this:


If the horses in a race did not have bridles, they would run in all directions. I once rode a horse in a park in Baguio City. Baguio is very nice because it is cold there. My grandmother gave me a jacket for my birthday. Birthdays make a person feel special.


    1. Ask the students to comment on the paragraph above. Hopefully they will be able to notice that it is confusing and unsuccessful in making a point.




    1. Go on to explain the following points to the students:


Points to Emphasize


  1. Good paragraphs bring across a clear point or message. The paragraphs are able to do this because they do not try to say too many things. Everything in a good paragraph is related to just one important idea. This one idea is called the MAIN IDEA.




  1. The MAIN IDEA is the most important idea in a paragraph. It is what the paragraph is about. All other ideas in the paragraph relate to it, fall under it or support it. Whenever we read essays, articles in our textbooks, articles in newspapers or reference books, we must try to look for the MAIN IDEA of each paragraph and the MAIN IDEA of the whole article. If we are able to do this, we will understand what we are reading.




  1. Sometimes the main idea of a paragraph is actually stated in one of the sentences in the paragraph. The sentence that states the main idea of a paragraph is called the TOPIC SENTENCE. Let us look at a paragraph from the essay we read a while ago. See if you can identify which sentence (1, 2 or 3) is the TOPIC SENTENCE.

Sample Paragraph # 1


(1) Fortunately for most of us, our parents do seem to understand the necessity for freedom with a bridle. (2) Generally speaking, they let us play with friends that we are free to choose, except on the rare occasion when they believe a particular child is harmful company. (3) They leave us free to read the books we want, and to play and to watch videos, EXCEPT when these come in the way of our studies.
The TOPIC SENTENCE in the paragraph above is the first sentence. The other sentences (2 and 3) support the main idea expressed in the topic sentence. They are examples or situations that show that “most parents understand the necessity of freedom with a bridle.”



  1. The TOPIC SENTENCE is most frequently found in the beginning of the paragraph, as in the paragraph above. However, the topic sentence can also be found elsewhere.

Examine the following paragraphs and identify the TOPIC SENTENCE:

Sample Paragraph # 2
(1) Halfway through the race, one horse would feel free to change direction and run towards the spectators to find out why everyone is cheering. (2) Two other horses may suddenly discover that they are old buddies and feel free to chat, right in the middle of the race track, about old times. (3) As they suddenly come to a dead halt, their riders get thrown forward and break their nose, while a fourth horse coming up behind at high speed crashes into them, and all three come down in a jumble, squashing the unfortunate fourth rider under them. (4) The fifth and last horse, coming up slowly, notices that no one else is running. (5) Puzzled, he stops, then feels free to go back to the starting point. (6) It would be a race without a result.
(The topic sentence is sentence number 6. In this case it is found at the end of the paragraph.)
Sample Paragraph # 3
(1) Freedom with a bridle prevents young people from getting into trouble that they are not ready to handle. (2) Indeed there are many reasons why freedom should be bridled. (3) Freedom with a bridle prevents one person from doing things that would chain the freedom of another person. (4) It also prevents a person from being chained by harmful addictive things like drugs, the desire for power, and the desire for money.
(The topic sentence is sentence number 2. In this case it is found at the middle of the paragraph.)


  1. The topic sentence can also be found at the end and at the middle of the paragraph.


Exercises
INSTRUCTIONS: Identify which sentence in each the following paragraphs is the topic sentence by writing the number of that sentence.
Paragraph 1

(1) The corridors and stairways of the school were littered with used food wrappers and emptied bags of chips. (2) The walls were defaced with bad words written in bold black letters. (3) The doors of the rooms, which hung loose on their hinges, seemed bashed by bangs and kicks. (4) The windows had broken and missing panes. (5) The armchairs were scarred and maimed. (6) Clearly the students did not love their school.


Paragraph 2

(1) Rules make life orderly. (2) School rules make the school conducive for learning. (3) They also make the school safe for the students. (4) Traffic rules prevent selfish drivers from causing traffic jams and accidents. (5) Election rules make clean and honest elections possible. (6) Community rules keep the people in the area safe from abusive individuals who destroy the surroundings, take what is not theirs, and cause physical harm to others.


Paragraph 3

(1) I was going to be late for school. (2) So I dashed out of the house and sprinted down the street. (3) Soon the school came into view, with just one main road to cross. (4) The pedestrian light was green. (5) As I pulled up to the main road, the light suddenly turned red, signaling that pedestrians must stop. (6) The waiting time could spell the difference between being on time or late. (7) I decided to make a run for it. (8) I was nearly across the main road when I heard the screech of a jeep. (9) I kept on running and made it across safely. (10) I took a quick look back and realized that I had dropped my art project on the road and now it was squished. (11) Still, I was lucky I wasn’t the one lying on that road. (12) That was the moment I first internalized the importance of following rules.


Paragraph 4

(1) We can do many simple things to save our environment. (2) We can try to reduce the materials we use and the waste it will produce in simple ways such as not asking for plastic bags from stores and supermarkets and instead putting the things we buy in cloth bags that we use over and over. (3) We can print or write on both sides of a sheet of paper instead of using only one side. (4) We can segregate our trash and give recyclable materials such as waste paper, soda cans and plastic bottles to the companies that can recycle them. (5) We can create our own compost pit and put our biodegradable waste materials there.


Paragraph 5

(1) When I was a child, Mother chose not to buy me the latest toys even if I cried up a storm to try and convince her. (2) As I approached my teens, Mother never bought me new clothes when the ones I had still fit and still looked respectable. (3) She never gave in to my plea for a cell phone until I graduated from high school. (4) From Mother’s guidance over the years, I learned to be free from putting too much value on material things. (5) Now, because I do not waste my energy trying to get more and more material things, I am free to give my life to nobler things.


Answers: Par 1 – 6; Par 2 – 1; Par 3 – 12; Par 4 – 1; Par 5 – 4
EVALUATION
QUIZ: Identify which sentence in each the following paragraphs is the topic sentence by writing the number of that sentence.
1. (1) Exercise keeps your body healthy. (2) Exercise helps your heart pump efficiently and keeps your muscles to strong. (3) It also increases your lung capacity so that more oxygen gets into your body. (4) It even helps you to burn off excess fat.
2. (1) Many people claim that they do not have time to work exercise into their daily schedules. (2) However, exercise can be easily worked into ones daily routine. (3) For instance, one can do stretches while taking a shower. (4) While standing in line at the grocery store, one can flex the abs or clench the rear. (5) One can even do calf raises while talking on the phone. (6) More ideas: try walking around the building during lunch breaks and always take the stairs.
3. (1) All life on earth depends on the heat and light from the sun. (2) Plants manufacture food with the aid of sunlight. (3) Photosynthesis cannot happen without the sun’s rays on leaves of green plants. (4) Animals will die from cold if the sun does not shine for many months. (5) People use the sun’s heat as a source of energy to run the world’s machines.
4. (1) Smoke curled from under the eaves and rose from the roof. (2) Flames shooting from the window arched upward toward the sky. (3) Some of the floors and interior walls thundered downward, spraying sparks and glowing cinders through lower doors and windows. (4) The building could not be saved.
5. (1) Education is one of the few things people are willing to pay for and not get. (2) When we buy something expensive, we make sure we take it home and use it. (3) For example, we wouldn’t think of spending thousands of pesos on new shoes only to hide them away in a closet never to be worn. (4) We certainly wouldn’t pay for items and then decide to leave them at the store. (5) People pay a lot for education, but sometimes look for ways to leave the “purchase” behind. (6) They do this by not attending class, not paying attention, not studying, or not completing assignments. (7) At the end of the term, they have a grade but didn’t get what they paid for: education and knowledge. (8) They have wasted their money, just as if they had bought an expensive sound system and had never taken it out of the box.
Answers: 1. (1) 2. (2) 3. (1) 4. (4) 5. (1)
ASSIGNMENT
This part will be prepared by the TD tutors.


SOURCES
Joseph, M. (2004). I Value Freedom, A Collection of Stories and Poems. New Delhi: Dawn Press.
Forlini, G. (2002). Prentice Hall: Grammar and Composition. Pasig City: Anvil Publishing, Inc.
Freedom to the Child – Bridled or Unbridled?

(The winning presentation by Kahlil Joseph at an inter-school debate

in New Delhi, India)1

(1) Everyone wants to be free. Great men like Mahatma Gandhi fought valiantly for freedom. It is absolutely natural to want to be free – as natural for a child as for an adult.

(2) The problem is that freedom is like fire – enchanting and magnificent, but terrible if unrestrained. So, for all human beings, freedom MUST be bridled. Even adults, for instance, may drive cars, but NOT as they please – they must follow a whole set of rules and are seriously punished if they don’t.

(3) Of course, some adults don’t seem to realize the difference between a bridle and a chain. A chain is meant to keep you down and confine you. A bridle is that part of a horse’s harness that fits on the horse’s head. The purpose of a bridle is not to STOP the horse from running, but to control it. And that too ONLY as much as is necessary to help it run in a given direction and, in a race, to victory.

(4) Just imagine a race where the horses are free and cannot be directed by their riders, because they don’t have bridles. How would such a race go? I’ll tell you.

(5) Halfway through the race, one horse would feel free to change direction and run towards the spectators to find out why everyone is cheering. Two other horses may suddenly discover that they are old buddies and feel free to chat, right in the middle of the race track, about old times. As they suddenly come to a dead halt, their riders get thrown forward and break their nose, while a fourth horse coming up behind at high speed crashes into them, and all three come down in a jumble, squashing the unfortunate fourth rider under them. The fifth and last horse, coming up slowly, notices that no one else is running. Puzzled, he stops, then feels free to go back to the starting point.

(6) It would be a race without a result. And why?

(7) “Free” horses without bridles.

(8) Fortunately for most of us, I imagine, our parents do seem to understand the necessity for freedom with a bridle. Generally speaking, they let us play with friends that we are free to choose, except on the rare occasion when they believe a particular child is harmful company. They leave us free to read the books we want, and to play and to watch videos, EXCEPT when these come in the way of our studies.

(9) If they didn’t give us our freedom in some bridled, directed, step-by-step manner, who knows, all of us here today would already be driving cars instead of bicycles. We’d have the unbridled freedom to crash; and the delightful freedom to land up in hospital with a few dozen bones broken and a few liters of blood lost. We’d even have the exciting freedom to get ourselves killed in an accident. Now that would be unbridled freedom!



(10) No, On the whole, I think, I’d prefer freedom WITH a bridle, thank you!

1 Joseph, Mary. I Value Freedom: A Collection of Stories and Poems. New Delhi: New Dawn Press, Inc. 2004. pp. 12-14.

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