What's In The Garden? Make Some Conclusions

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SWBAT use the information from illustrations, text and their schema to make inferences and draw conclusions about events in informational text.

Big Idea

How do we draw conclusions? Using words, pictures and inferences.



I chose this book because it has great illustrations and text evidence. The kids can make inferences easily because they have schema about vegetables and animals in a garden. They made some great connections between the animals in the story, which really added to their understanding of the book. When students can describe these connections (the hornworm digs in the garden next to the worms), between scientific ideas and concepts, they are strengthening their own comprehension. (RI.2.3) Since this story had familiar animals and a topic that they knew about, I wanted to give them the opportunity to find clear examples of evidence and use their schema to make conclusions. They also liked this book because it's like a mystery - they enjoyed guessing what the animals were and it turned into a bit of a science lesson when we looked up pictures on the iPad at the end.

This is the second lesson in my unit about inferencing and making conclusions. I encourage you to look at my other lesson, Draw the Dot, Draw the Conclusion for more practice with a literature example.

Let's Get Excited!

5 minutes

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

  • "We have been talking about inferring and you have all done a GREAT job learning how to use the 'Inference Starter' chart (see materials)  to make some wonderful inferences."
  • "When we infer as we read, we understand the text better. We are active readers who use our schema, illustrations, and words.
  • "Today I brought a great book. We are going to use what we know as evidence to make inferences and then put them all together into one conclusion at the end of each part.  It's different than the inferences that we make along the way. The conclusion is the end of the story that really wraps up the plot."

Teacher's Turn

15 minutes

Give the purpose of the lesson

  • "We have been talking about looking for evidence about text. These come from text, illustrations and our schema." Refer to the chart on the whiteboard.
  • "When we put together these ideas, we can make a conclusion. Our conclusion should be based on all the evidence and inferences that we make about the plot of the story."
  • "I brought a book that gives us the chance to make conclusions about (show the book and read the title) who has been in a garden."
  • I took a few moments to have the kids do pre-reading - making predictions about the cover.  Take a moment and see what the predicting looked like.


Introduce strategy - teacher models

  • Read the first 3 pages and stop. 
  • "What is the evidence so far? Is there evidence in the illustrations, text, or our schema that I can add to make a conclusion about this evidence and inferences?"
  • "There is a garden with flowers" (write in the first box) "the author names the flowers so I'll circle 'text' and 'illustrations'. It says 'something is eating the seeds' so I'll write that in the second box and circle 'text'.  I know that animals eat seeds so I'll put that in the 3rd box and circle 'schema'."
  • "My conclusion is that an animal is eating seeds in the flowers." Write that in the conclusion box.  "Let's check the next page - it says chipmunk and shows him eating seeds, so my conclusion was right!"
  • Here's how I reviewed the model.


Practice strategy - guided practice (these are my students comments - you'll have different input from the kids, and maybe have different conclusions)

  • Read the next page. "What is the evidence so far? Is there evidence in the illustrations, text, or our schema that I can add?"
  • "There is 'a row of tomato plants' (write in the first box) and I'll circle ..... (take ideas)....'text' and 'illustrations'. It says ..... (take ideas)....'part of the leaf is gone' so I'll write that in the second box and circle 'text'.  I know that ..... (take ideas)....worms eat tomatoes so I'll put that in the 3rd box and circle 'schema'."  Make sure they can identify where the evidence is from.
  • "My conclusion is that a ..... (take ideas)....worm is eating some of the leaves on the tomato plants." Write that in the conclusion box.  Here's how I explained that they should use words from the evidence in the conclusion.
  • "Let's check - it says a 'tomato hornworm', so our conclusion was right!" This is what our discussion sounded like when the students added a conclusion.
  • "Let's try one more."  Read the next page. Take ideas for the evidence and help them identify how they found that evidence - circle text, illustration, or schema.  
  •  Here's a closeup of the whiteboard for guided practice.
  • This was the completed whiteboard.

Students Take a Turn

20 minutes

Continue Reading

  • Continue reading each page and pause to let students add the evidence - text, illustrations, or schema. They should make inferences, as appropriate.  I stopped after the last animal and put off reading the part about mom until after we finished the worksheet.
  • Help with spelling, as needed.
  • Reassure them that the goal is not to get the right conclusion, but to make a good conclusion based on the evidence. Here's how I explained about 'wrong conclusions' that to the kids. 
  • These are examples of the student worksheet - page 1 and page 2
  • Walk around as students write and ask them about their evidence and conclusions. This is one of my students explaining her evidence and conclusion.


The real purpose behind this lesson is to make the kids 'close readers', those that read with a purpose and pay attention to the evidence. They are demonstrating understanding of the plot by asking and answering questions and making inferences. They are making conclusions and using illustrations and words from the text. (RI.2.1) These are the kinds of readers that the Common Core Standards are written for - those that question as they read, using what they know (schema) and evidence from the text to answer questions and demonstrate understanding of what they have read.

Share What You've Learned

15 minutes

Extend what you've learned

  • "Now let's read the last few pages and see what happened. There's one more inference for you to make."  Read the last few pages and talk about what happened with mom. 
  • My kids really enjoyed this part - they really connected with having cookies and milk and enjoyed the humor of the kids eating in the garden.
  • "Why don't we take a look at a real picture of some of the animals in the garden?"  I pulled out my iPad and put up some pictures of the hornworm, mole, etc.  The kids loved this extension! Here's a short clip of us looking at animals from the story.


Scaffolding and Special Education: This lesson could be easily scaffolded up or down, depending on student ability.

Students with limited language ability may struggle with finding the evidence in the lesson. You could read this on an Elmo and give them prompts by pointing to the words or pair them with a friend. 

Those with higher language ability should be able to use some higher level language and vocabulary in their evidence and conclusion. Instead of saying, 'they will eat a snack', students could infer using a simile - 'the kids are like the animals in the garden - they will have a turn to eat.'