I chose this book because it was a great biography about Albert Einstein. The story is very sweet and really shows who the character changes. We were studying atoms and energy in science, so this really played into our science topic. It has a lot of great vocabulary and really focuses on the character, which is the subject we are making inferences about.
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
In this lesson, I contrast the idea of inferential and literal questions and answers. My students are comfortable with these kinds of questions because we finished a unit on questioning. For your reference, the first lesson where I covered the kinds of questions was The Big Question with Informational Text. I used similar techniques of having the students identify the kind of question. This helps them to realize how much information comes from the text and how the inferential questions require schema and background knowledge built upon what the author offers.
Give the purpose of the lesson
Introduce strategy - teacher models
Practice strategy - guided practice
My goal in this lesson is to get the kids asking questions as they read and reflect if the answers are inferences or literal. I want the kids to make lots of inferences, but ultimately we are focusing on inferences about the character. Many times, students will need to read informational text to simply find answers about a certain topic. This kind of focused reading encourages them to ask and answers questions about a particular topic in the text (RI.2.1). I want to encourage lots of inferencing, but the we'll go back and think about that we learned specifically about the character. We are using post-it notes so we can go back and pick the questions and answers that best describe the character/topic.
Read and give them time to ask/answer questions
Wrap up the lesson
Focus the inferences
Add an illustration
Scaffolding and Special Education: This lesson could be easily scaffolded up or down, depending on student ability.
Students with language challenges may need help with the formation of questions and inferences. You can pair them up with a partner or prompt them as needed. I put up words on the whiteboard to help with spelling. As they work independently, check with them to see if they can explain their inferences. Here's some help that I gave a student with language challenges.
For those with higher language, challenge them to ask deeper level questions. Go beyond 'what did he wear' to 'why did he wear those baggy clothes?' Expect the higher level vocabulary they may be able to use. There are some great words in the book that they could incorporate - gravity, matter, atoms.