Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Let's Make an Inference

First! A big congrats to my beloved Missouri Tigers for beating Alabama tonight in their first SEC match up! Big win for our basketball team. MIZZOU-RAH!

This week, our reading time is focused on making inferences and writing thoughtful responses. To start off, I used the 'ol "What's in my bag?" lesson plan. I showed my students a bag and pulled out items one by one. Inside the bag was a pair of sneakers, headphones, shorts, a t-shirt, and water bottle. As I pulled out each object, I asked the students to use clues from the bag to figure out what the purpose of the bag was. They all were able to conclude that my bag was for the gym, a run, or maybe even a hike!

Next, we watched the Pixar Short Film, "One Man Band". In short, the video (roughly 4 minutes long) is about a little girl who has one gold coin to give to street performers. There are no words in the film... only music and incredible animation. We watched the video once all the way through. Then, we watched again and paused to jot down notes on our graphic organizers. After our second viewing, students shared their ideas and inferences with the group.

Here are some great student quotes that stuck out to me. Yes, I prompted them to use "I infer":
"I infer that she's making a wish in the fountain because that's what I always do when I have a coin next to a fountain."

"My inference is that this takes place in Italy because of their clothing and the way the village looks."

"I infer that the little girl has little money because of her clothing and that she only has one coin."

...And so on and so on!

As a closer activity, I asked the students to write in their Reading Spirals to the following prompt: "Describe what you think the little girl did with her new bag of coins. PROVE IT!" (When I ask the students to prove it, it means to use details from the story to support their answer). While reading their responses this afternoon, I was floored by some of the things that I read! I was very impressed by their imaginations and their elaborate thinking and more importantly.. how they were able to WRITE ABOUT IT! 

Now, my teacher friends! How do YOU teach inferences to your students? How do you get them to read between the lines and identify what the author isn't telling us?


  1. What a great idea! We use Jan Richardson's method for guided reading and whole group lessons. I will definitely remember this when we spiral back around to inferencing!! :)

    Miss R's Room

  2. this is your best blog yet!

  3. LOVE this! FaBuLoUs idea .... can't wait to watch that clip. One way I like to teach inference is let them watch video clips without audio ... or let them listen without the picture .... this kind of combines both of those ideas. YaY, Jordon.

    Happy new year,


  4. I love this idea! I love this little video clip, too! The kids are going to love it. Thanks!

    Teaching to Inspire in 5th

  5. Thank you. I added this to my Thank You Mr. Falker inference unit. I have students make several inferences, especially with the "honey." I can also do a quick symbol mini lesson and figure of speech/similie lesson as well. Thanks!!!


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