I need help with some lesson plans or idea for teaching inferencing and drawing conclusion. I like to teach where I do a lot of modeling and activities. I learn better with hands on work and the kids I teach also learn better that way. They have their regular LA classes where they get worksheet work but my class is what we call a Reading Lab. In here I teach the same things (mostly going by the objectives given on the TAKS test) but I brake it down for them and give it in a different form to help them understand things better.
SO I need some ideas for teaching inferencing and drawing conclusions. Can anyone help?
I've really been studying the way I teach inferencing this year. When I analyze my test results, I can see that my students really have trouble with inferences in reading. I am also trying more direct instruction and a more hands on approach to understanding inferencing. This is what I am doing so far.
Define inferences using a circle map. I also write down all the forms of the word on the board.
We had a general discussion and I explained that they make inferences everyday and I gave them examples that relate to their lives. My example was related to the cafeteria food. (If you planned to eat pizza for lunch and while you were waiting in line to order the pizza you notice everyone that is eating the pizza is throwing it away and making gross faces and noises when they bite into it, what will you do? Then I say...you inferred that the pizza was terrible.
Now, I'm teaching my students that inferences in reading are the not facts presented in the selection, but something you know is true and makes sense, but you cannot find this information in the reading.
One activity I do with this is choose an article from Junior Scholastic. I write down sentences on the board that are either facts from the story or inferences. If the sentences are facts, they can underline them from the story.
At first they were confusing fact from the story with something being "true". One boy thought one sentence was a fact, but it was an inference. I asked if he could find it in the writing and he said, "No, it is just something that I get the feeling is right from reading the story." That was a good definition of an inference too. (Kids come up with such great ways to say things.)
The next activity I have planned is for students to read an article and then find two facts and create their own inference.
When I teach this in my mainstream classes, we use physics to demonstrate the principles first.
I bring in a small desktop pool table. Kids need to volunteer to participate. They then have to tell me which pocket the ball they shoot will go into, and they have to tell me why.
I draw it on the board, and I ask them where the student will need to hit the cue ball to make that happen.
Next, I give them a set of origami paper building blocks for their table groups. They have five minutes to build the tallest structure possible that will withstand being hit with a "gust of wind". The kids who are starting to get it will weigh down their work with something. We talk about how you have to "infer" that the light paper blocks will move around unless you weigh them down or glue them.
Finally, we use a Zen exercise. They simply have to be totally silent for two minutes without moving other than to blink. No eye movements, body twitches, smiles, or other expressions are acceptable. I declare them "out" if they cannot do it. They have to predict in advance whether or not they can do it. Usually, just one or two kids survive the exercise to receive an award. We talk about what makes this student different (stong willpower, ability to block out distraction, ability to concentrate, etc.). We talk about how we infer those character traits based on the visible end result.
Now we are ready to tackle a story like "The Most Dangerous Game." I have them draw conclusions about the personalities of the characters. From there, we go to a short expository piece about the Bubonic Plague. They have to infer what happens to feudalism if there aren't enough people to tend crops. By then, I know who gets it and who needs more physical demonstrations.
I'm using movie clips to illustrate inference-making, because it occurred to me that kids infer all the time when they're watching movies. I'm thinking if I can just get them to use in reading what they use in viewing, we might really get somewhere.
I use Ice Age to show character evolution, and how that's inferred. We watch Diego, in about seven short little clips throughout the film. They MUST infer to understand him and what's going on. They have no problem at all identifying the moments when his conscience is bothering him, or when he's lying, or when he feels love. I am sure that if they read some of what they saw in that film, they would completely miss it. So I'm trying to transfer that skill from one medium to another.
I also am using clips from some of the Star Wars films, Oliver Twist, Jungle Book, and The Wizard of Oz.
I used Oliver Twist to illustrate exposition (lots to infer there) and spent a whole class period skipping through Ice Age. The trick is to always connect the skill back to reading, I think.
One of my groups just read Loser and the part near the end, where Zinkoff gets hypothermia, gets missed by every kid who reads it, I swear. It's so surreal. So we talked a lot about how we knew what was going on with Diego, in Ice Age, by watching his face. No narrator tells us, "Okay, Diego's getting nice now." So we slow way down, and enter the story like we did the movie. We check to make sure we're getting the "mind movie" through the whole difficult passage, then we talk about what the weather's doing--yeah, it's a long, long road, but we got there.
Ya'll are so great!! These are wounderful ideas and I plan on using as much of them as I can. I have found the more hands on things I do with these kids the better they understand and can then take that concept and put it to use in their reading.
Thanks so much!! I will be starting this next week. I'm so excited!! It is the simple things that thrill me so....
But if anyone uses a SmartBoard in their classroom, I have a lesson that I did on inferencing that I'd be willing to share if you supply an email address so I can send you a file. It starts out with photos that are easy but get increasingly difficult to make inferences from, then moves into text.
Comics are really good for inferencing, too. Especially the ones where some kids don't "get" the joke, and the ones who do have to go through the process of explaining how they came to that conclusion. It helps both the people who struggle with making them, because their peers are helping them through it, as well as the kids who have to explain where they got it because it solidifies the concept in their minds.
I've also used "5-minute Mysteries" to practice inferencing. You have to choose the right ones (some of them just don't work because it's such a huge leap), but they're all about inferencing and drawing conclusions.
I had a powerpoint of different photographs and for each picture students had to come up with a title by infering all the little details and backing up their choice. The picture we did as a whole class was one from a 50's dance and I was very impressed on the little things the kids picked up on and infered from there, and the titles they created because of those things. Another was of an old man with a knit cap and I got the whole spectrum from homeless man to fisherman to eccentric bilionaire, lol, and all the infering reasons were valid. A great website is www.worth1000.com and that is where I found all my photos for that powerpoint.