Common Core Connection:
Drawing conclusions takes the skill of inferencing a step further by asking students to use different inferences and make one big conclusion about something important in a text. Now that my students are used to relying on evidence to predict and infer, we can build on those skills to get them to draw larger conclusions about big things in the text.
This being a new concept for my students, I used pictures of familiar items to show them they already had a lot of experience drawing conclusions. This helps to get students comfortable with the new skill and supports their confidence in filling in the blanks that the author leaves us with.
I begin this introductory lesson on drawing conclusions by showing my students the front cover of An Egg is an Egg, by Nicki Weiss and asking my students, “What do eggs do?” They enthusiastically shouted out, “Hatch into a chick!” After agreeing with them (here is a video in which you can see us Making Even More Connections), I continued by telling my little ones that if they see a picture of an egg, they can infer that it might hatch into a chick. To draw a solid conclusion about whether that would happen, though, they would also need to know other things to base their inferences on, such as if there's a hen who will sit on the egg to keep it warm or if it is, in fact, a chicken's egg or some other animal's egg, like a snake's! They need to know more information to draw a conclusion, which is what sometimes happens when we read. We have to think hard about what an author wants us to know. Seeing my little ones were more than a little perplexed I explained when we draw a conclusion, we take clues the author has given us and use what we already know to make a connection in our brain to help us understand what is happening in the story.
I then told them that we are going to read a story to help them better understand the concept of drawing conclusions.
I then read An Egg is an Egg, instructing them to listen to the words and use the text to help them think about the big conclusion the author wants them to draw (the author actually comes out an says it at the end: Nothing stays the same, everything can change). I stopped on selected pages to ask my students what the author was telling them about everything that was happening. Gradually the idea emerged that change is a part of life.
When I finished reading and my students had finished telling me about the conclusion that everything changes, we transitioned into our collaborative activity.
At this point I had my students stand up and take a stretch, then taking the line from the reading that states, "Nothing stays the same, everything can change," I had my students pretend to be a seed changing into a flower before we continued.
Once settled at their desks I displayed the Drawing Conclusions activity sheet on the Promethean board and explained we would begin the activity together and they would finish it with their table partner. I then passed out their copies of the Drawing Conclusions Activity Sheet and together we listed on the left side examples from the story that happened ‘before.’ Once we finished this part I explained they would finish the right side with their table partner to list what happened next. They would also work together to create their own sample in the last square. I used the magic cup (Demonstration: Magic Cup) to select a student to restate the directions to the class. Once this student was finished and I was satisfied my students understood the directions, I set the timer for ten minutes and pulled a small group of less independent students to work with me.
At the end of ten minutes I had the class re-group and we went over their answers together. In the video, Checking Work Together, I am using the active slate to write my student answers on the Promethean board from the back of the class. I can also be seen and heard asking for Thumb Up, Thumb Down.
I restated that drawing a conclusion meant taking the clues the author has given us and using what we already know to make a connection in our brain to help us understand what is happening in the story. With this my students transitioned into the independent block.
This work sample (Sample of Student Work) shows that my students had a good grasp of what they were to do. The term 'poly wag' was an interesting choice.
During this time my students are grouped in their leveled reading groups and rotate every 15 to 20 minutes to ELA related activities. One of these activities is journal writing where my students demonstrate their understanding of what they practiced in the guided and collaborative activities.
The prompt I put on the Promethean board: Explain in your own words: what is drawing a conclusion?
For my students who needed more guidance, I wrote: Drawing a conclusion means ___.
For a sticker my students told me when they would draw a conclusion while reading.