I chose this book because it's a classic story. I LOVE to read classics to my kids because they are common knowledge and the kids love the stories. Most of my kids remember reading this when they were young, but it's great fun to go back and look at the story from a different perspective.
This is the first lesson that I've taught about inferencing. My goal this year in 2nd grade is to teach students how to use reading strategies to improve comprehension. Grammar and language skills are taught in context of these lessons, which leads to better retention than teaching them in isolation. In this lesson, I'm comparing a new reading strategy (inferring) to a previously taught one (predicting) so student can build upon prior knowledge. Students who can successfully use reading strategies are 'active readers' who continuously evaluate and interact with the text as they read, using evidence from illustrations and text to support or correct their predictions, images, inferences and assumptions. These students comprehend at a deep level and can use schema to build upon what the author presents to fully integrate ideas. Readers who can interact with the text in this way are what the Common Core Standards strive for. Those that use schema to approach and interact with the text as they read come away with an understanding that goes beyond the 'what' and 'who' questions to the 'why' and 'how' questions. These readers can compare texts, analyze the author's purpose, evaluate character and plot changes and comprehend what they have read at a much deeper level.
Underlined words below are lesson vocabulary words that are emphasized and written on sentence strips for my Reading & Writing word wall. I pull off the words off the wall for each lesson, helping students understand this key 'reading and writing' vocabulary can be generalized across texts and topics. The focus on acquiring and using these words is part of a shift in the Common Core Standards towards building students’ academic vocabulary. My words are color coded ‘pink’ for literature/’blue’ for reading strategies/’orange’ for informational text/'yellow' for writing/’green’ for all other words)
Common starting point
I chose to introduce inference as a comparison to prediction. My students are VERY comfortable with prediction, and it comes easy to them. Asking them to infer is more difficult because they want to tend to predict (think about what will happen on the next page) instead of infer (think about what is happening on the current page). We can start with the idea of prediction and skew it towards the idea of what's happening now, instead of what's happening next. The kids seemed to really understand the idea of inference when compared to prediction.
Give the purpose of the lesson
Introduce strategy - teacher models
Practice strategy - guided practice
Take the time to delve into the students' thinking and explain and model your own thinking. Show them how to describe how the characters in a story respond to events and challenges as it is a shift in the Common Core Standards towards using the text as evidence for reasoning. (RL.2.3) Students need to be close readers - those that go back to the text to find information and justify their inferences. There are lots of opportunities in this story to discuss how the monkey, man and other characters react to events. Allow students to see how you model this thinking - "George was naughty so he got into trouble. I know this because the text says 'he was curious' and 'he went with the (police)man'.
Explain the task
Read and Stop for Inferencing/Predicting
Encourage them to make good use of text and illustration clues. This is really the crux of the lesson and how it aligns to Common Core. The Standards are asking students to go back to the text and verify, support, and adjust their thinking as they read. I modeled this earlier in the lesson, but I'll continue to reinforce this skill and encourage students to use the use the text.
**These are the pages I chose to stop at. I would encourage you to read through the story and choose whatever pages you are comfortable with. The text is full of opportunities for inferring and predicting, so take a few moments and decide for yourself and mark the pages where you want to stop.
Verify and Correct
Put your ideas to work
Scaffolding and Special Education: This lesson could be scaffolded up or down, depending on student ability.
There is a lot of writing in this lesson, so students with academic challenges probably need to work in a group with another student or in a group with teacher. They may be able to contribute verbally, but may need spelling help on their whiteboard or prompting for the writing.
Those with more academic ability should be able to use higher language and vocabulary. Instead of saying that 'the monkey was on a boat' the student could say 'he was sailing on a yacht or ship'. Challenge those students to use that vocabulary to more fully describe the inference or prediction.