Inferring is one of my most dreading skills to teach! I know we do it all the time, but I have a hard time putting it into work and getting kids to see that they do it too. I’m hoping with all McGregor’s ideas that this year it will be one of my favorite skills! The “load of garbage” lesson, I think, will be great in a whole group setting, while the “shoe” lesson would be better in small group instruction. I also, have tons of old magazines that I can use to use for the Sensory Exercise. The one activity I don’t see myself using is the songs, at least not this year… I like the Horace Pippin images and want to stay more concrete. I have my class set up in 4 groups, so I’m thinking 4 different prints and having kids infer with post it notes. I also love the inference formulas! What a simple way to display how to infer for a constant reminder.
When I begin my lessons on inferring I usually start out with easy riddles. I explain inferring as using clues from the text plus what you know. I have a poster with an open book with a magnifying glass and a picture of a brain. I've seen a similar example of the garbage bag done with a purse or backpack and their contents-love it! This chapter had great ideas for teaching inferring. I realize I definitely need to incorporate concrete lessons and more modeling/think alouds before expecting my students to really "get" inferencing and be able to do it on their own.
Ahh inferencing.... this is a concept that I struggle with. In my class, students can infer with my help and guidance, but when they go to infer on their own in a fresh text, they fall flat. I think this year, I will take some of McGregor's ideas and start more concretely with the concept. My students can give you the definition of inference but they cannot complete the task.
For eighth graders, i think the "shoe" lesson is a great place to start. I also have tons of old magazines to pull ads from.
I love that wordless books are all over this book. Kim, is there a way for teachers to get these books? Perhaps a copy for each school to use?
Again, these are great lessons to set a basis for understanding why and how this skill works. I'm still a little worried about students being able to transfer responsibility to a grade level text. Thoughts?
I tried inferencing with 5th graders in small groups, using things from my purse. It really showed a marked weakness is the students' world knowledge - I assumed they would have working knowledge of things such as coupons and membership cards. Even my purse calendar threw them. I think the garbage bag would be better and do it as a whole class - more control and hearing their inferences. Inferring needs lots of work/practice - and us being aware the kids don't "get" a lot of things. I do some read alouds with these older kids - and need to stop more often to make sure they are inferring correctly. More practice with wordless books - but hard to have enough for all groups to use - so the prints or calendar pictures would be good to have on hand.
I do a lot of private reading tutoring with students and inference is always a major reading strategy that we work on. I find it easy to find lots of ideas for practicing inference on Pinterest and Teachers Pay Teachers…..but in reading this chapter I started to wonder how I could start to have my first graders work on their inference skills as well. I have always had them help create riddles for their friends to help solve when we are learning about different animals or people during our different units, but I would love to work on inference even more in my classroom this year. I definitely want to use wordless books more for this skill.
I headed straight to Pinterest and found some cute ideas for even my sweet little first graders. One idea was a simple What Is It? guessing game using mini file folders and pictures from magazines. http://strongstart.blogspot.com/2011/05/what-is-it-guessing-game.html
Another idea from Pinterest is this great website that has an Inference Riddle Game on it. Students get more and more hints in order to try and answer the question. Each hint provides more information leading to the answer. I have used this in tutoring and my kids absolutely love it!
Another cute idea that I found was to use little owls and put the clues on the owl….so the idea is Who am I? A cute way to make inferencing practice fun for little ones. http://crazyspeechworld.com/2012/07/whooo-whooo.html
The last idea that I have found lots of on Pinterest are little video clips that can be used to help students infer. Here are a few that I have found:
What "guessing games" do you use frequently to help students grow their ability to infer?
Charity, I love all the examples you shared for building inferring skills with your first graders. It triggered a memory of Pizza Box archaeology that I used with Challenge students. Each box had items from different decades of US history. It was interesting to see if they could figure out what the eight-track tape was and the music group listed.
Here are some picture books that work well to teach inference skills:
I have used charades in the past as a warm up for inferences. I would do some and also invite other students to do a few for the whole class. However, this year I found a charades for kids game with a large number of cards, each with 3 ideas for kids to act out. I plan to divide the cards for 5 groups and ask kids to take turns acting out the ideas on the cards and follow this with a discussion about what made it easier or harder to determine the ideas being acted out.
Kimber TateCoordinator of English, Reading and Libraries