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Toronto Catholic District School Board

 
We’ve been working as a school at understanding how to talk about the Big Idea. It’s an important step to helping our students becoming Effective Communicators. Quite simply, the big idea means explaining what the main idea in anything is. 
 
e.g  The Big Idea of Life long learning is to always try and keep learning
The Big idea in Little Red Riding Hood is to realize that you should listen to your Mother
The Big idea of Goldilocks is that you shouldn''t take things that are not yours.
 
You can read more about the big idea in the blog post below.
 
 
In the month of September, Mr. Fernandes visited every class from JK-Gr 8 to read the story The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires. The concept of the big idea was shared with all classes and every student from Gr. 1-Gr. 8 wrote a reader response explaining what they thought the big idea of the story was. At this point some classes are now talking about how to write a strong reader response that explains the big idea. To help us in this goal, we are asking everyone to give thoughts on how they think on effective communicator answers the big idea. You can see four samples attached below.
 
 
Consider reading these with your child and asking them which one they think explains the big idea the best and what makes the best response so good. This is essentially how we develop something known as success criteria which at its most basic lets students know what they need to do in any given subject to succeed.
 
We look forward to your input and feel free to visit back here by the middle of the month to see what input has been given for our success criteria on the big idea.
 
Oct 10
 
Here's what our students have come up with as the co constructed success criteria for the big idea - this means that together we have decided that the most important points for clearly explaining the big idea are as follows
 
1. Explain the big idea clearly at the start of  the response
2. Provide proof of the big idea from the story
3. Make a connection to the big idea from your life
4. Refer to the big idea throughout your answer (you'll notice that each of #1-3 has the big idea in it, so that means when you provide the proof or make the connection, you should refer to the big idea in it as well.
 
You can take a look at our leveled responses that are colour coded to make it a big clearer.
 
 
Parents, we highly recommend that if and when you're reading a story to your children, watching a movie or talking about anything at all, try and have them follow the four steps above as well.
 
Happy Learning!
 
Jan 21
 
We just read the story Mr. Zinger's Hat to the whole school and every student/class from JK-Gr. 8 has posted their responses on what the Big idea of Mr. Zinger's Hat is around the gym. We encourage those who heard the story at our family games night  to send  in your response as well. On Interview  night, you can wander around the gym to see all the different responses.  Happy reading and responding.
 
We’ve modified our success criteria (how you can successfully answer the big idea) below for an adult audience. We naturally adapt it by the grade.
 
  
Success Criteria for Answering the Big Idea
 
1.  Explain what the big idea is.
2.  The big idea should be something important that we can learn from and apply in our lives.
3.  Provide proof of the big idea from the story
4.  Find a way to connect the big idea to my own life
5.  Keep referring to the big idea throughout my answer