September 26, 2013

Making Inferences about Trash!

I have one more fabulous lesson from Comprehension Connections to share with you today!  This one I squeezed into an extra chunk of time I had a couple weeks back when a handful of my kiddos were testing and I had several others joining me from other rooms.  It was the perfect lesson for a mixed bag like that, but I wish all my homeroom kids had gotten to be part of it!  I will have to remember to teach it to the whole class next time as part of my beginning of the year literacy activities.

I have loved all of the lessons I've taught from this book, but this one is probably my favorite (or at least tied with visualizing!).  Once again, I want to be clear that this lesson is in NO WAY my original idea--100% of the credit for the idea goes to Tanny McGregor, the author of Comprehension Connections.  It is too fun not to share with you though!  I started the lesson by telling my class about the [[ficticious]] "mysterious new neighbors" who just moved in down the hall from me.  I told them how I want to get to know them better, but they always go right in their apartment and shut the door, and they don't come out very often.  I tell them that I did something crazy...I stole their garbage!

I them produced a large white trash bag--the kids were completely floored and completely engaged.  Lots of "ewwww!"s going around.  I told them that I was going to be like a detective and that they would get to help me look for clues in the garbage to tell me more about my neighbors.  We examined the items one by one.  Here's what I threw in the bag:
  • An empty gatorade bottle
  • An IKEA catalog
  • A ticket stub from the science museum
  • An empty mascara tube
  • An empty tea bag wrapper
  • An empty box of hot chocolate mix
  • An empty box of blueberries
  • A public transit card
  • A gift bag
  • An empty bottle of allergy medicine
We went through the items and I asked the kids what they know about each.  For example, we know people drink Gatorade when they exercise or work out.  Then, we used what we know to make inferences about the people.  The kids inferred that my "neighbors" like to exercise.  They also connected the Gatorade to the blueberries--clearly they like eating fruits too, so both of these things show that they like to be healthy.  We recorded the inferences on the chart below.
It was a great opportunity to get the kids talking to each other and thinking about reasonable and logical inferences.  I shared these sentence frames with them to help guide their thinking.
After the activity, I had the kids draw their own trash bags with items that a "nosy neighbor" like me might find if they stole their trash.  They they wrote about the items and what others would be able to infer about them based on the items.  Example: 
Obv I did this lesson when I had a bad cold...
 If I taught the lesson again, I definitely would have spent more time on the writing piece and modeling how to really go the extra step with the items they chose.  Many got stuck on food items--it took some prompting to think creatively about what items might end up in their trash that would tell about them.

What fun ways do you introduce the kids to making inferences?

1 comment:

  1. I love this idea! Are there more similarly great ideas in this book? I definitely need more reading comprehension ideas and am searching for a recommended resource.


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