Learning Resource Type

Learning Activity

Let’s Find the Details

Subject Area

English Language Arts




Students will begin by playing a teacher-led "I Spy" game with something within the classroom which would be a concrete example. Using the Jamboard activity provided, students will review the concept of details by describing what is taking place in the photograph which would be an abstract example. Students will then work together as a class to come up with the photograph's main idea. 

This learning activity was created as a result of the ALEX - Alabama Virtual Library (AVL) Resource Development Summit.

    English Language Arts (2021) Grade(s): 4


    Explain how relevant details support the implied or explicit main idea of a text.

    Unpacked Content



    • Implied main idea
    • Explicit main idea
    • Relevant details


    Students know:
    • The main idea is the most important idea presented in the text.
    • Sometimes an author will clearly state the main idea, while other times an author will merely suggest the main idea.
    • The supporting details explain the main idea or provide more information about the main idea.


    Students are able to:
    • Identify the implied or explicit main idea of a text.
    • Use relevant details to support the main idea of a text.


    Students understand that:
    • Most texts have a main idea, or most important message, and supporting details, which provide more information about the main idea.
    • An author can choose to state the main idea in the text or provide clues through details in the text to imply the main idea.


    Learning Objectives

    Learning Objectives

    Students will identify the main idea of the picture. 

    Students will provide details for the picture. 

    Students will explain how the identified details support the identified main idea. 


    Activity Details

    1. The teacher will introduce the activity with a quick "I Spy" game with something in the classroom. For example, the teacher may say, "I spy something orange." Then, the teacher would call on students to guess what that object may be. If students are not able to initially guess, the teacher should add a detail, i.e. "I Spy something that is orange and circular in shape."
    2. The teacher will then introduce the Jamboard activity by showing the students the picture. The teacher will ask students what they see happening in the picture. (i.e. students playing on a playground.) 
    3. Students will respond with a variety of answers. The teacher records these either on the Jamboard or on another part of the board. Students will also record how they know what is happening in the picture. (Playground equipment, outside, etc.) 
    4. The teacher then connects that statement (i.e. what is happening to the main idea.). The teacher may say, "What is happening in this picture is the same as the main idea of this picture."
    5. The teacher then connects the details to what the students provided earlier when they answered what is happening in the picture. The details are the descriptions of how they knew what happening in the picture (outside, playground equipment, etc.). 
    Assessment Strategies

    Assessment Strategies

    Evaluation will consist of whether students can write a detail from the picture on their own. This can be digitally on a Jamboard or even low-tech with a sticky note and pencil. Students will be asked to restate the main idea from the picture in complete sentences and include at least two details that were used to determine the main idea (i.e. what is happening in the picture). 


    Students can create their own "Let’s Find Details" game using either Google Slides, Kahoot, etc.


    For students still struggling with identifying the main idea and details from a picture, select more pictures and have the teacher model a full round of the steps in procedures 2-5. After modeling one round, have the students work with a different picture to provide the main idea and details. If needed, pair students with a partner and also provide help with the writing. Students can provide the main idea and details orally with the teacher writing the sentences on the board and then students copy them.  

    Approximate Duration

    Total Duration

    0 to 15 Minutes

    Related Learning Activities

    Learning Activity (Before)

    Learning Activity (During)

    Learning Activity (After)

    Background and Preparation

    Background / Preparation

    Student preparation-Students need to have a general idea of the main idea and details. The teacher can model this for those without background knowledge by playing multiple rounds of I Spy. 

    Teacher preparation-Teachers need to know how to use Jamboard and be comfortable with doing the interactive portion with students. 

    Materials and Resources

    Materials and Resources

    Device to view the Jamboard; Jamboard loaded to LMS preferred; Low tech (sticky notes and pencils) for evaluation

    Digital Tools / Resources