Oh my goodness, ever since school started I feel like one month melts into the next. Anyone with me? I fully intended on keeping my blogging pace (slow and steady) throughout this school year, but instead my online presence has come to a screeching halt. Hence, my hiatus.
This school year has been flooded with change. Hopefully, the quote "All great changes are preceded by chaos" is applicable to my current school year. The teachers in my district are like buzzing little bees, we are working a little tales of to meet some of the new state requirements in addition to fully implementing the Common Core. As a new teacher, instead of taking the Praxis III, I have a summative assessment that I must work on this year. This includes video-taping myself teaching, creating portfolios based around formative and summative assessments, and the list goes on. In addition to that, our state has adopted a new teacher evaluation system that is pretty intensive. Fortunately, I rocked my first formal observation with a wonderful inferring lesson by Tammy McGregor. Have you read her book Comprehension Connections?
I love her concrete lessons for reading strategies. I focused my observation on what we can infer from a stranger's trash.
My local dollar store had these mini trash cans that I couldn't pass up! For the lesson, my co-teacher and I pretended that she had very odd neighbors who never come out of their house. She told our fourth graders that while she was out walking her dog that morning she stumbled across some of the neighbor's trash and the curiosity got the best of her and she brought it in! I was actually surprised by how many students bought it, and the ones who didn't still went along with our story :).
In a large trash bag we modeled how to make an inference using background knowledge and text clues. The day prior we introduced inferring using an anchor chart and setting up our interactive reader's notebook for inferring during our independent (read to self) reading time.
If you want download a preview of my interactive reading notebook for literature standards please click here
or on the cover:
As we modeled how to make an inference using the evidence we used a gradual release method to guide the students through the strategy. First, we modeled through think alouds. We also created a chart of inferring thinking stems to use when making an inference. As soon as the students started to get the hang of it, we pulled out a piece of evidence and students turned to their neighbor and shared their inferences. The second half of the lesson, we put the mini trash cans to use. Each trash can was differentiated based on the "evidence" inside. For example, my students who did poorly on the inferring pre-assessment were assigned the trash can with evidence of someone who is sick. I included an empty medicine box, a bag for prescriptions from CVS, and other items. My favorite piece of evidence was a Hallmark card that said "We're glad you're home and can't wait for you to be 100% again." I love that it didn't say get well soon and the students had to infer where the person was coming home from (the hospital) and that they didn't feel well (since they weren't feeling 100%). Needless to say, the observation went great!
What activities do you use for inferring?