Mom Is Amazing! Infer What Happens!

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SWBAT use the text and illustrations to make inferences about the characters, setting and plot.

Big Idea

Mom helps Hazel!! Can you infer how she is amazing?


  • Hazel's Amazing Mother by Rosemary Wells
  • Lesson vocabulary words from the Reading/Writing word wall: inferring, literature, evidence, schema, characters, setting, plot
  • Set up the whiteboard
  • 'Inferences-Prove It!' worksheet
  • 'Making Inferences' poster (I used this throughout my inferencing unit)
  • post-it notes for the kids to add inferences
  • one piece of construction paper for each student and markers
  • put a stuffed animal in a paper bag 


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)

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

  • Keep your special animal in a bag. "I brought a special stuffed animal today." 
  • "Can you infer what I've brought today? Did you see the size?  Do you want to feel the bag?  Did you see how big it was?  This is the evidence - how it look, what it feels like, the size.  Do you have some schema to bring to your guesses. Do you have a special animal at home?"
  • "Maybe if you guys work REALLY hard today, I'll show you my special friend."


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).

Teacher's Turn

15 minutes

Give the purpose of the lesson

  • "Today we are going to review what inferring means and how it helps us understand what we read better."
  •  "After we review the poster, we're going to read a story about a little girl and her favorite stuffed animal and infer what is happening."


Introduce strategy - teacher models (I'm reviewing this from yesterday's lesson using the inferring poster)

  • "When we infer, we use our schema and some evidence from the literature book. What is schema?"  Take ideas.  "What kind of evidence does our book have?"  Take ideas.
  • "Inferring is figuring out what the author did not say. Some people call it 'reading between the lines'. We take those inferences and then check with the text and illustrations. Are they correct? Are the inferences we make supported by the evidence in the text?"
  • "We can use inferring with lots of other reading strategies, such as connecting, predicting, connecting, and questioning."
  • "Let's try some inferring with this book. We can look at the characterssetting, and plotI made a chart that will help us remember to use evidence and schema. I'll read and then add an inference to the chart."
  • Read through the page that says, "Such a pretty doll...."  What evidence do we have so far about the doll? 'new shoes, clothes, new doll.' (Write that on the chart) My schema tells me 'girls like dolls', so I'm going to infer that 'Hazel likes her new doll'." Write that on a post-it.
  • Here's what the modeling looked like.


Practice strategy - guided practice

  • "Let's try one together. " Read through the page that says, "But at the next corner....."  
  • "What evidence do we have on the page?" (illustration shows her face, bad street, words say wrong turn)  Write that on the board.
  • "Our schema tells us what? How does that build on the evidence?" Take ideas. (If you get lost you can get into trouble, it's scary to get lost) Write that on the board.
  • "What can we infer from this?"  Take ideas. (Hazel is scared because she is lost. She took a wrong turn and is in trouble.) This was our guided practice discussion. 
  • During out discussion, students did use other reading strategies, which I encouraged. Here's an example of how a student 'connected' this story to another cyclical story that we had read.
  • This was the completed whiteboard when we were done.
  • Sometimes we start with an inference and work backwards. Let's read to the page where we see a soccer ball.  Can you infer what happened? Let's think about our schema and evidence based on the inference?"  This is what that discussion looked like.


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.

Students Take a Turn

20 minutes

Work as a Group

  • "Let's try some more and you can put the inferences on the board."
  • Read through the page that says, "Don't worry, Eleanor..." Talk about the evidence (Hazel does not notice the ball in the carriage, The boy is yelling and has a sports shirt on, there is a ball in the carriage), ask the kids about their schema (kids get mad when you take their things) and have one of the kids add an inference on a post-it (the boy is mad and thinks she's stealing the ball).
  • Help with spelling, as needed.
  • Continue to read through the pages below, talk about and show the evidence, discuss the schema and have kids take turns adding an inference. Here is a great example of a student sharing an inference.
    • 'Hazel rocked poor ruined Eleanor...?'
    • 'The boys quivered like jello....'
    • 'Eleanor's carriage worked without...'
    • 'Oh mother...?'
  • This is the one of my student's completed worksheet.


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.

Show What You Know

15 minutes

Explain the task

  • "We saw a wonderful idea about mother's love and how Hazel's mother was amazing."
  • "I want you to think about your mother (or father) and their amazing love. We are going to create a card to show mom that you know how much she loves you."
  • "You are going to make mom a card and use evidence, schema and an inference."
  • "Your evidence is what mom does for you (take ideas).  Your schema is how that makes you feel. Your inference is the same as the story - mom helps you because you love her."
  • Here's my explanation of the project.


Kids work


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.