I chose this book because the author writes wonderful stories. The kids can relate to the topic of a favorite toy and there's lots of 'meat' to the plot. The story has twists and turns, some sadness, and it gives us a starting point to talk about family, bullying, and a parent's love. I've read some lighter comical stories lately, so it's great to jump into something with a more complicated story line.
This is the second lesson I've taught about inferencing, so I'm still giving lots of clues and help, especially with the evidence. In the first lesson, Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog! Let's Infer What Happens, students worked on identifying evidence, schema and inferences. It's hard for second graders to give the language to state these. They find it hard to tell what they know, even though 'they know it'.
In future lessons, I'll hold them more accountable for describing the evidence and their own schema to create their own inference, but that's a lot to expect from a 2nd grader who is just learning about inference. By scaffolding this skill (modeling and providing support early on and the weaning them off this support), I'm building a foundation for the students for how to describe characters and other parts of a story by focusing on how they respond to major events and challenges. (RL.2.3)
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 engage the students this way because it's similar to the last lesson. I want them to bring in their schema and review my vocabulary from yesterday (schema and evidence).
Give the purpose of the lesson
Introduce strategy - teacher models (I'm reviewing this from yesterday's lesson using the inferring poster)
Practice strategy - guided practice
Stress to the kids that the text evidence must be used in conjunction with schema. To be aligned with CCSS, students must learn that schema is a way to fill in gaps, but that the text evidence is paramount. This is hard for 2nd graders to remember-that the text is the source of information and inferences, schema and background knowledge and inferences are built on those.
Work as a Group
In this lesson, unlike many other lessons I teach, the kids never really work independently. There are 2 reasons for this. One is that the text is too hard for most of my kids and adding the new skill of inferencing really puts the task 'out of reach' for most of my students. The other reason is that this is one of the first lessons in this unit and I want to model and guide the kids through the identification of schema and evidence purposefully. Second graders have a difficult time with inference - we are asking them to make a informed guess on what is happening (and then tend to predict vs infer) and then back it up with solid evidence and their schema. To top that off, we are asking them to write what they know and how they know it.
Explain the task
Scaffolding and Special Education: This lesson could be easily scaffolded up or down, depending on student ability.
Since most of the lesson is group work, I would just make sure that students with learning difficulties have support with spelling and are given the chance to share their ideas.
Those with great academic abilities should be able to use higher level vocabulary when making the inferences ('she didn't see the ball' vs 'she was more concerned about the doll than the ball'). Challenge those students to add their own ideas and language.