Empowering Writers

December 2016 Lesson of the Month

Perhaps a fun activity for December would be to have students complete the phrase, “Tis the Season to be _____, and to provide reasons and evidence! Then, take a look at the delightful, but still skill-based December Main Idea and Details Gameboard, and have fun sharing it with your students. Great for whole class or writing stations! AND have a wonderful holiday!

Lesson of the Month:

Writing details is often a difficult skill for students whether writing a narrative, expository, opinion, or response to text. This month’s lesson includes a “Sentence Matching” Gameboard along with several sets of Main Idea cards, and sentence matching cards using What Does it Look Like? and Why is it Important? The game is adapted from Section 3, Sentence Matching, in the Expository Guides.


Students will be required to make several decisions about Main Ideas and the details that correspond with these Main Ideas. The sentences will be divided into two separate parts – What does is look like? and Why is it important? Besides pairing the sentences with the correct Main Idea, students must match the “What does it look like?” portion of the sentence to the “Why is it important?” segment.

Here’s what you’ll do:

1) First, the teacher will make four cardstock copies of the Sentence Matching Gameboard. Using colorful tape, join the four copies together to create a single gameboard. See sample below:


Laminate for a sturdy game that will last for years.

2) Next, print the Main Idea and Sentence Matching Cards – Sharks, Celebrations, Biking, Winter Fun. Cut apart each of the cards and laminate.

3) The game may be played with one or more players. The player/s first place the Main Idea cards over the Main Ideas on the gameboard. Then players choose a sentence segment and decide which Main Idea the sentence part supports. Next they must decide if the sentence part is “What does it look like? or Why is it important? and place the piece on the gameboard accordingly. (It is important to note that punctuation and capital letters may or may not be present on one or both portions.) If playing alone, the player continues choosing cards and placing them under the correct Main Idea and matching them to their counterpart with the detail-generating questions in mind. If multiple players are involved, the players take turns choosing a sentence segment and placing the piece on the gameboard, matching each of the pairs applying the questions What does it look like? and Why is it important?

4) The object of the game is to complete each of the four gameboard parts with the Main Ideas and the supporting details. The game is not about winners and losers, but the completion of all four of the sections.


Using the Main Idea and Sentence Matching Cards only, adhere a magnetic strip to each of the pieces and have the class complete the game together. Adhere the Main Ideas to the White Board. Have students take turns choosing a supporting detail sentence portion and adhering it under the correct Main Idea. As more students choose cards, they will not only decide the Main Idea, but also decide if their sentence part matches another already adhered to the board.