Inference

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Objective

SWBAT infer information about a character after reading a story. They will justify their conclusion with evidence from the text.

Big Idea

They can find nuggets of gold in a story ... but they need to explain how they got to the treasure.

Introduction and Read Aloud

15 minutes

When reading literature, I want my students to go beyond the direct explicit information in the story (the "right there") details, and use their background information and inference skills to delve deepen into the characters actions and feelings. In this lesson, I wanted them to infer what a character was feeling, and explain what in the text led them to believe that (RL.1.3).

At the beginning of the lesson I told them they were going to listen to a story about a boy on a snowy day. I explained that authors expect us to think about what is being described in the text and about what we see in the illustrations, to really understand the characters and their actions. To let us do that they leave clues in the text and in the pictures.

I then read A Snowy Day, stopping at points to think to myself about how details in the text and illustrations are helping me understand more about Peter.

Guided Practice

5 minutes

After reading the story, I  asked them to use the clues in the book to infer what Peter felt about the snowy day. As you see in the video, I insisted on their showing evidence from the text (a constant refrain in my classroom since the adoption of CCSS).

I wanted to use this portion of the lesson to check for understanding so that I could be confident that students would be able to perform this task during the independent practice. So, for example, I was redirecting and clarifying when a student gave a description of an event but didn't relate it to Peter's feelings.

Independent Practice

10 minutes

When I was confident that most of the class had understood that they had to use clues in the story to figure out how Peter felt about the snowy day, I told them that they would next read another story about Peter and figure out how Peter feels about his dog.

They then read Whistle for Willie (I am lucky enough to have a class set) and, in writing, told me how he felt about his dog. I also had them tell me how they knew that this is how he felt by citing something that they read in the story and/or saw in the illustration.

I taught this story at the end of the school year. If it had been earlier, I would have had them answer the question orally so that their limited writing skills would not interfere with drawing inferences. However, at this point, I knew they could show me what they were thinking in writing. There are some successful examples of their work in the resource section.

Closure

3 minutes

At the end of the lesson I asked some students to read one of the reasons they had found that showed that Peter likes his dog. I am always looking for opportunities to give them practice with oral language development, and I wanted to give struggling students the chance to hear good examples and add to their writing.

In the video you can hear some students and see others using the opportunity to add to their work or perhaps modify it.