Recently we have been working on learning to infer when authors do not tell us everything that is going on with the characters in a story. This can be a difficult skill to master, especially for some of my struggling readers. I found these two great activities from Abby at The Inspired Apple. She made the super cute What’s In My Teacher’s Bag and What’s In My Teacher’s Trash.
I first told my students they were going to get to go through my purse and by using the clues in my purse, they could figure out (infer) some things about me. Oh, you would have thought that I had just given them the keys to Disney World!! They were so excited to go through my purse! Seeing this excitement led to a conversation on how this was a special occasion and they could NEVER do that to any other teacher’s purse ( I could just imagine them being caught going through another teacher’s purse and saying that I taught them to do that). After we set the ground rules, they each took a turn looking in and pulling something out. After examining what they pulled out, they then thought about the clue and what it could mean about me.
Next, we did the activity What’s In My Teacher’s Trash. They were more hesitant when I told them they would go through my trash! I did explain that this was clean trash and that they should NEVER go through the trash- again that this was a special occasion.
I must admit, we all had a good time learning how to infer with one of my old purses and my trash! But now that I had introduced the skill and they had some practice with it, it was time to put it into practice with books!
No, David!, David Goes To School, and Farmer Duck are great books to practice finding clues that the author gives us and figuring out what they might mean. Of course, all the students love the David books. The part where he needs to go to the bathroom (one student said the clue here was that he was doing the potty dance!) was especially popular. We looked for clues and what they might mean even though the author didn’t tell us all that was going on. I am proud to say, we got pretty good at figuring out what the author didn’t tell us.
Here is the inferences paper if you could use it with your students.