Guess the Central Idea


As I wrote about before, I have tried to hide the central idea to this unit and have the kids reflect on it as we go.  I have been using our 'tuning into the week ahead session' on Monday mornings to have them reflect on this and other aspects of the unit (we are also building our own definitions of poetry).

So far, it has been a very positive experience.  I can see how their thinking has changed over the course of two weeks, and how the most recent ideas are influencing their meta-view of culture.  I am pleased that they are using this activity to look at the topic from a higher plane of thinking.  Here are some of the ideas the kids have come up with;

  • Culture is something that people make

  • Culture makes humans 'human'

  • Culture is world

  • We can't live without culture

  • Culture means a lot to humans

  • Culture is peoples lives

  • Culture is made by humans, but culture also makes humans

  • Culture helps the world be like it is

Most of these are, by the way, way better than the actual central idea!  I am thinking of now even sharing it with them at the end, just letting their ideas stand as a testament to how much work they have done.



  1. I was talking to a teacher about something similar yesterday but she was slanting it more as having the students create the central idea at the end (rather than guess). At this point the programme isn't strong enough for students (and many teachers) to have a good grasp of what a central idea should look like.

  2. I ended up showing them the Central Idea from the teachers perspective, but we discussed how their own CI was even better because it is something that they created and can relate to themselves. It was a really interesting idea and I think I am going to try it again for our next unit on Poetry.

  3. I was at a conference with Megan yesterday and Lynn Erickson (the speaker) discussed how we don't actually need to post the Central Idea at the start but see if students can develop one themselves part way through the unit. The theme of the conference was "A Child-Centered Education".

    1. I'm doing that this unit. I have questions marks and the kids will write their own central ideas and explain them. Should be a good scaffolding for Exhibition.


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