Learning Resource Type

Learning Activity

Let's Write Our Own Details

Subject Area

English Language Arts




The purpose of this activity is for students to apply what they have learned about the main idea and supporting details. Students will choose a picture and write what is happening in that picture (i.e. the main idea) and how they know that (i.e. the details). Students will then share their writings with a partner and work on finding the main idea and details in the shared text. 

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 choose a picture from the Jamboard and using paper and pencil, write the main idea and supporting details about the picture. 
    • Students will apply their knowledge of the main idea and details by independently identifying the main idea and supporting details. 
    • Students will read a text from a peer and identify the main idea and details included in that text. Students will then explain how the details support the main idea they have identified. 


    Activity Details

    1. Teacher will display the Jamboard with the six pictures shown. The teacher will model the activity using one of the pictures (see prompts in step 3).

    2. Students will be asked to choose a picture that they want to use for their writing activity. 

    3. Students will write at least two sentences (one main idea and one detail) about what is happening in the picture. ( For example, "The boy is eating lunch at school.") Then, they will include details of how they know what is happening in the picture. (i.e. How can you tell that the boy is eating lunch? [Milk carton, looks like a school lunch, etc.])

    4. Students will form a partner group (make sure that the pairs chose different pictures) and share what they have written. In their partner groups, students will identify the main idea of their peer's writing and explain how the details support the main idea. 

    5. Students will turn in what they have written. 

    Assessment Strategies

    Assessment Strategies

    While in partner groups, the teacher will listen to student conversations to ensure each student was able to identify the main idea and supporting detail in their partner's written text. Teachers will evaluate each student’s finished writing product to determine if the student was able to write an appropriate main idea and supporting detail.


    Have students make a Google Slide presentation or a Jamboard slide of their own using more than one of the pictures. Students will create a story from one of the pictures where the main idea and details are included. An option would be to use an extension such as Screencastify or Flip to narrate the story once finished. Students could work in partners for this portion. 


    Provide explicit models of what the student wants to write if they are struggling with writing their ideas on paper. Allow for Google Voice Typing if needed for students to be able to speak their sentences. Ask clarifying questions if the writing is unclear. 

    Approximate Duration

    Total Duration

    16 to 30 Minutes

    Related Learning Activities

    Learning Activity (Before)

    Learning Activity (During)

    Learning Activity (After)

    Background and Preparation

    Background / Preparation

    The teacher needs to know how to make a copy of a Jamboard if needed (click the three dots next to share).

    Students need to have a general idea of the main idea and details. Students need to be able to independently write in complete sentences. 

    Materials and Resources

    Materials and Resources

    Student materials: Paper, pencil, digital device (optional)

    Teacher materials: Projector to display the Jamboard

    Digital Tools / Resources