Analyzing Main Ideas and Supporting Details: “Growing Up Digital” | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA 2012 G7:M4A:U1:L9

Analyzing Main Ideas and Supporting Details: “Growing Up Digital”

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Long Term Learning Targets

  • I can determine a theme or the central ideas of an informational text. (RI.7.2)
  • I can analyze the development of a theme or central idea throughout the text. (RI.7.2)  
  • I can cite several pieces of textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text. (RI.7.1)

Supporting Targets

  • I can analyze "Growing Up Digital" to determine its central ideas and evidence, and how they relate to each other.

Ongoing Assessment

  • Text-Dependent Questions: "Growing Up Digital"
  • Reflection Grid


AgendaTeaching Notes

1.  Opening

A.  Listening for Gist: "Growing Up Digital" (10 minutes)

2.  Work Time

A.  Reading Closely: "Growing Up Digital" (15 minutes)

B.  Analyzing the Main Idea: "Growing Up Digital" (15 minutes)

3.  Closing and Assessment

A.  "Attention Economy," "Growing Up Digital," and End Reflection (5 minutes)

4.  Homework

A.  Continue reading your independent reading book and study for the end of unit assessment in the next lesson. Be sure to bring your independent reading book to class.


  • In this lesson, students read and analyze an informational text that acts as a bridge between the building background on neuroscience texts in this unit and the argument texts about the effects of screen time that will follow in Unit 2. This text, "Growing Up Digital," is more accessible than the text in Lessons 6-8 but deals with similar themes. Namely, this text puts a human face on the issue of screen time and the developing adolescent brain.
  • Students return to the multimedia slideshow "Students and Technology: Constant Companions" for the last time. "Growing Up Digital" references the students who are featured in the slideshow.
  • In addition, students return to the neurologist's notebook and work with RI.7.1 and RI.7.2 one more time before the end of unit assessment in Lesson 10. Work Time B is devoted to analyzing the main idea and the structure of the text.
  • Students complete a Reflection Grid in the Closing. Think about how you might incorporate or display it in class. Consider summarizing all student responses overnight and sharing it with the students in Lesson 10. Having a chance to reflect and share their individual learning is particularly important in this module, where the content is so personally applicable.
  • Be ready to return Homework: Excerpt 4 of "The Digital Revolution and the Adolescent Brain Evolution" from Lesson 8 because students will need it for today's lesson.
  • In advance:

-   Load the multimedia feature from the New York Times Web site:

-   Review: "Growing Up Digital."

  • Post: Learning targets.


stark, gratification, stimuli, tension


(From The New York Times, November 20, 2010 (c) 2010 The New York Times. All rights reserved. Used by permission and protected by the Copyright Laws of the United States. The printing, copying, redistribution, or retransmission of this Content without express written permission is prohibited.)

  • "Growing Up Digital" (one per student)
  • Definitions in "Growing Up Digital" (for teacher reference)
  • Text-Dependent Questions: "Growing Up Digital" (one per student)
  • Text-Dependent Questions: "Growing Up Digital" (answers, for teacher reference)
  • Neurologist's notebook #5 (one per student and one for display)
  • Neurologist's notebook #5 (answers, for teacher reference)
  • Document camera
  • Reflection Grid (one per student)


OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Listening for Gist: "Growing Up Digital" (10 minutes)

  • Using a digital projector to cue up the multimedia feature "Students and Technology: Constant Companions."
  • Play the audio under the student "Vishal." The audio is about 1 minute, 30 seconds long. Then ask students:

*   "From this audio, what are some predictions you can make about the subject of our reading today?"

  • Cold call two or three students for their answers.
  • Distribute a copy of "Growing Up Digital" to each student. Tell students that this text looks at the same issues they have been exploring in Lessons 6-8 but does so by looking at some specific students. The class has listened to the audio stories of each of these students.
  • Orient students to the text. Explain that the left margin is where they will take gist notes.
  • Inform the students that you will read this text aloud to them while they read along silently in their heads.
  • As they listen to you, they should write down the gist of each paragraph. Remind them to write legibly and small. Assure them that you will pause so they have time to jot down notes without missing the next part of the text, but they should feel free to underline words or phrases they think are important.
  • Begin reading. Make sure students are adding to their notes as you read.
  • This text takes about 5 minutes to read aloud, not including time to stop and allow students to take notes.
  • Define the vocabulary words listed under "Vocabulary" for students as you read, and have them jot down a brief definition of each on their copy of the text. Use Definitions in "Growing up Digital" (for teacher reference) as a resource as needed.
  • Hearing a complex text read slowly, fluently, and without interruption or explanation promotes comprehension and fluency for students: They are hearing a strong reader read the text aloud with accuracy and expression and are simultaneously looking at and thinking about the words on the printed page. Be sure to set clear expectations that students read along silently in their heads as you read the text aloud.
  • Consider posting the list of definitions for this text so students may refer to it as they read.


Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Reading Closely: "Growing Up Digital" (15 minutes)

  • Arrange students in pairs. Tell them they will now read "Growing Up Digital" closely with a partner, just as they did in the last lesson. They will read with some guiding questions. After they have discussed the questions, they will write their ideas on the right-hand side of the paper.
  • Distribute Text-Dependent Questions: "Growing Up Digital." Ask the students to read along as you read the directions. Clarify any questions. Invite them to begin; circulate to help as needed.
  • After 10 minutes, debrief students on the questions. Use Text-Dependent Questions: "Growing Up Digital" (answers, for teacher reference) as a guide.

B. Analyzing the Main Idea: "Growing Up Digital" (15 minutes)

  • Distribute neurologist's notebook #5 and display it with a document camera.
  • Explain that "Growing Up Digital" is an informational text that is structured similarly to the other informational texts students have read. It starts with an anecdote, gives some background, and then explores an issue.
  • Ask students to turn and talk:

*   "What is the main idea of this text?"

  • Tell them to skim back through the first page of the text and underline a sentence that hints at the main idea.
  • Ask for students to share out. Direct students to Paragraph 4 of "Growing Up Digital," and point out that the main idea is directly stated in the second sentence. Write it on the displayed neurologist's notebook #5 and ask students to do the same on their copy. Refer to neurologist's notebook #5 (answers, for teacher reference) as needed.
  • Ask students to reread Paragraphs 5 and 6 and articulate the two sentences of information to include in the background box on neurologist's notebook #5.
  • After 1 minute, ask students to share what they wrote. Write it on the displayed copy.
  • Ask students to reread Paragraphs 7 and 8 silently. After a moment, ask students to raise their hands when they can identify another paragraph from the text that explores how schools deal with the "tension" of technology. When most hands are up, ask for a student to share out. Listen for the student to identify Paragraphs 20 and 21.
  • Point out that sometimes an author will explore one supporting idea in several places. Write a supporting idea/detail about the school and technology in one of the boxes.
  • Next, ask students to turn and talk:

*   "What is the purpose of the '27,000 Texts a Month' section? Why would the author include it?"

  • Listen for students to say something like: "This section gives lots of examples of students being affected in different ways. It shows the many faces of this problem."
  • Ask students to articulate a supporting idea from the "27,000 Texts a Month" section in their notebook.
  • Finally, ask:

*   "Is there a supporting idea that we haven't captured yet?"

  • Prompt students to return to the text-dependent questions. Listen for them to identify that the author also discusses the positives of "growing up digital." Add students' thinking to the displayed copy of neurologist's notebook #5 and have them do the same on their own copy. They may also identify that parents are conflicted about the use of technology.
  • Careful attention to learning targets throughout a lesson engages, supports, and holds students accountable for their learning. Consider revisiting learning targets throughout the lesson so that students can connect their learning with the activity they are working on.
  • Consider writing these questions on the board for struggling learners who benefit from visuals to reinforce discussion.


Closing & Assessments


A. "Attention Economy," "Growing Up Digital," and End Reflection (5 minutes)

  • Return the students' Homework: Excerpt 4 of "The Digital Revolution and the Adolescent Brain Evolution," from Lesson 8.
  • Ask students to take a few moments to review the short section titled "Attention Economy."
  • With a partner, have students discuss the following prompt:

*   "How does the article we have just read connect with the information in 'Attention Economy'?"

  • Discuss student observations as a whole class. Listen for specific connections to the behavior of the students in the article and dopamine levels.
  • Hand out the Reflection Grid. Ask students to fill in each square with their reflections on Unit 1 using the following guide to the symbols on the grid: Something positive they learned goes in the box (+); something negative they learned goes in the box (-); something that surprised them goes in the box (!); and something they still have a question about goes in the box (?). Collect the grids and review them as a formative assessment.
  • Remind students that their end of unit assessment will take place during the next lesson. Assure them that there are no tricks to the assessment; it covers the same skills and concepts they have been practicing all along in the unit.


  • Continue reading your independent reading book and study for the end of unit assessment in the next lesson. Be sure to bring your independent reading book to class.

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