Lesson: Eliminating distraction answers
Connection (3-5 mins): Readers, you have all done such a great job over the past three days working on inferences. You have shown me that you know how to infer in both fiction and non-fiction texts. Today, we will learn a testing strategy to help us be successful when answering questions that ask us to infer.
Teach (10-12 mins): Students should be seated on the carpet with a partner. They will be expected to turn and talk to this partner throughout the lesson. Over the past few days we have practiced several times making inferences. However, when we take our end of year test, we won’t be asked to just make an inference. We will be asked to answer questions that are not “right there” in the text. These questions will require us to use our background knowledge and make inferences to better understand the story.
One strategy to use when asked these types of questions is to eliminate answers that do not make sense. Once we eliminate a few answer choices, we have a better chance of correctly answering the question. Let’s look at a few examples to show you what I mean.
Teacher places the story, “Time Cat” on the overhead. This is a selection that has five questions that ask us to analyze details. This means we need to think beyond the text in our own heads to use our background knowledge and make inferences to answer the questions. First let’s read through the first question. Teacher calls on a student to read the first question. In this question, we have to figure out why Jason wishes he had nine lives. Let’s read the first few paragraphs to see if we can find the answer to this question.
Teacher reads until line 12 of the story. I know we just read evidence from the text about Jason’s wish. Now I need to read the answer choices to see if I can use my background knowledge to make an inference and select the correct answer. The options are because he wants to surprise Gareth, because he wants to talk with Gareth, because he wants to live much longer, or because he wants to forget his bad day.
Our job is first to eliminate or cross out any answers that we think don’t make sense with the story. The first answer choice is that he wants to surprise Gareth. The text doesn’t mention anything about surprising the cat so I will cross that answer out. The second choice is because he wants to talk to Gareth. If I use my background knowledge I know animals don’t normally talk to cats and that’s not a reason to have another life so I will cross that answer out. The third choice is that Jason wants to live much longer. This could be true because if you have nine lives you live longer. I will leave that as an answer choice. The last choice says because he wants to forget his bad day, this could also be true because if you have nine other lives you can forget one day.
Now we have narrowed the answer choice down to two options. We must now infer to choose the best answer. Let’s think back to Jason’s day. He gave us a huge list of things that happened to him during the day. Using my background knowledge if I was crying and spilled paint I might want to forget about that day. I can infer that Jason is not very happy with how his day went and he probably doesn’t want to think about it anymore. I think the best answer choice must be letter D. I will circle that answer.
Did you see how I first crossed off all the answers that did not make sense then used inferences to determine the final answer? I think you are ready to try! Let’s keep reading.
Teacher calls on a student to read the second question. Okay now as we read we should be thinking about what Jason is surprised about. Teacher reads aloud selection stopping at line 20. I think we can now answer the question about Jason. With your partner read the answer choices and discuss what two answer choices we can eliminate. Students turn and talk and teacher calls on students to share out. I think you are all correct, Jason doesn’t seem surprised at the beginning of the story that Gareth is able to talk, he doesn’t even mention in the text that he his shocked, it seems normal. I noticed another group of students think we can eliminate he likes to disappear. I like eliminating this because if we look back at the text, Gareth is explaining to Jason why he disappears. I wouldn’t think that Jason would be surprised because he already knows that Gareth is sometimes not around. That leaves two choices left. Turn and tell your partner what you think is the correct answer and give a reason.
Students turn and talk. Teacher listens in to talk to encourage students to use their background knowledge as well as evidence from the text. I heard some wonderful talk today. Place one finger in the air if you think B is the correct answer and two fingers in the air if you think D is the correct answer. Teacher takes a pulse and explains to students that the correct answer is B. If we think back in the story, Gareth tells Jason that he has not traveled yet, he has been saving it for a special occasion.
Readers, you are such smart thinkers! I think you are ready to try on your own. When you return to your seats today try to eliminate answers and choose the correct answer for the last three questions. Off you go.
Active Engagement (15-20 mins): Students should return to their seats to work independently. During this time they should continue reading the passage and answer the last two questions. Teacher should circulate during this time to help students who may have trouble reading the selection. I would suggest pulling the lowest readers into a group to have them read together or with a higher partner.
Exit Slip/Share (3-5 mins): Teacher should have students share out what answers they were eliminate and why. This classroom discussion is an easy way for the teacher to check in with students to monitor mastery. The papers may also be collected as a quick check of what students mastered the skill.
Reflection: I chose to use a fifth grade reading selection for this lesson. However, many students in my room were reading well below grade level. I believe it is important for students to work with and experience texts that are similar to the rigor present on the end of year assessment. For all the test prep lessons in this unit I used grade level texts to help expose students to the level of reading they would need to be prepared for in April. It is also a good idea to pull a guided reading group or partner students who may become frustrated with reading above their level.
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