Saturday, January 19, 2013

All About Inferring

Why is making inferences so hard?! We've been working on this skill, and my kiddos still struggle. So, I searched and searched for some engaging activities that would get their inferential wheels turning.

1. Inferring with picture books:

I love to to use the book Tuesday by David Wiesner.
This is an awesome book with VERY few words. The pictures are simply amazing, and they really made my kids think. As we "read" the book, I modeled my thinking on the first couple pages. I really emphasized how to think deeper about the pictures. There is a lot of detail that the reader can really focus on. After I modeled, I let the kids help me infer what what was happening next. They were glued to the pages, each one leaned as far forward as their bodies could go. I would have been really cool if I had more copies so they could have each had a book in their own hands. The best part of the lesson was the giggles each time I turned the page. This book is definitely not one who will disappoint. 

Another great book for inferring with books without words is Good Dog, Carl by Alexandra Day.

2. Inferring with book that have VERY few words.

I love the book Yo! Yes? by David Raschka

Yo! and Yes? are basically the only words in the book, but it's great for inferring feelings. I like to use a talking/thinking bubbles worksheet like the one below for the students to infer what the characters are really saying with their words.
The students write the actual words from the book in the left speech bubble. Then, on the right they write what they think the character actually means. It's great for getting them to be creative and think "out of the box". 

3. Visualizing what you infer

It's great to pick a book where students can make inferences even if you don't show them the pictures. Two great books for this are Little Green by Keith Baker and Two Bad Ants by Chris Van Allsburg. These are great books to have kids infer what is happening as you read (without showing them ANY pictures). 
With Little Green, I had my students fold a white piece of computer paper into 3s. I first read them the title and had them draw a picture about Little Green. Underneath this picture they had to write a sentence about who they think Little Green is. I then began reading the story, and stopped twice more for them to again draw a picture of little green with a sentence. 
A similar activity works with Two Bad Ants. This activity works better when you have the students fold the paper into 8 sections. As you read, the students can draw what they visualize the ants doing by inferring what the text is saying. Their pictures will be very funny, and VERY different than the actual story. If you want them to be closer in their drawings to the actual story, before reading remind them that these are ants in the story, not people. Remind them that ants see the word differently than we do. 

4. Inferring with comics

While perusing the web, I found a link to this great for an inferring powerpoint using comics. 
You have to scroll down almost all the way to the bottom as the site has tons of powerpoints. But the great part is that it is completely editable... And the stars are Garfield and Calvin and Hobbs. Comics area great way to teach the art of inference since many times you have to infer a lot to get the giggle. Comics make jokes without telling us the whole story. Sometimes kids are inferring and they don't even know it! 

5. Inferring - then writing about it.

My new favorite book for making inferences is The Mysteries of Harris Burdick. If you've never read it, Chris Van Allsburg has put together a book of mystery, that started with a mystery itself. A man name Harris Burdick dropped story ideas off one day with a publisher, and was never heard form again. All that remains of these stories is a title, sentence, and a picture. We read the "story" together, talking about each picture - thinking about what the rest of the mystery might have been. Below are some examples from the book: 

My students are now working on creating their own stories with these pictures and captions as their inspiration. I hung posters of the pages in the room, and they are now writing machines. They started by brainstorming the setting, characters, and plot, as well as where in the story their picture belongs. I'm really excited to read their final products! 

How do you help you students make inferences? What is your favorite book to use? I'm always looking to find more books and activities to strengthen by students' skills!

On a completely different note, I finally finished my Division Dash Pack! It includes division posters, division flash cards, division "I have, who has", AND division dominoes. Plenty of activities to get your class engaged in dividing!

Here's a sneak peak: 

Check it on on my TpT site. Or, if you're the first person to respond to this post with you favorite book to use for inferring (and your email address), I'll send you a copy for FREE ;)

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the great inferring ideas!

    I love to use Chris Raschka's Ring! Yo?, a sequel to Yo! Yes? It has one side of a phone conversation. I have the kids write the other side. Their ideas are all so different!

    Krazy Town