Adventures in Literacy Land: Inference

Showing posts with label Inference. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Inference. Show all posts

Pictures are Worth a Thousand Inferences

Wow!  What a fun launch week!  I hope that everyone had fun!  We really love all of the comments, which helped us work on ideas for posts.  We noticed a lot of our royal followers felt like comprehension was a hard are to teach, so we have been working on some ideas to post about comprehension and vocabulary, as well as other areas of literacy.  Stay tuned throughout the month as we focus on different literacy skills.

Prize packs were emailed out last night.  If you do not see it in the email you entered with, check your spam folder.  If it is not there, please let us know by leaving your email here.  We had some emails bounce back.  Thank you so much for your patience!

This past week I was working on making inferences with my second graders.  This is always a tough concept for students to grasp, and it definitely takes more than one lesson.  Every year I reread and use my favorite professional book Comprehension Connections: Bridges to Strategic Reading by Tanny McGregor.
This book is full of great ideas to give students real-life strategies to grasp comprehension concepts.  One of my favorite chapters to review is the chapter on inferring.  Tanny makes this concept much more fun through real-life examples like people's trash and shoes.  I wrote an entire post about it, if you go {here} you can read it.

One of the other real-life examples she gives after the concrete examples is to use advertisements to help make an inference.  I couldn't find any advertisements that I liked, but I did have some wonderful pictures from a calendar I had gotten for free.  Do you have any of these hanging around?  This calendar was one of Norman Rockwell paintings.  They are FULL of clues for making inferences!  If you don't have any on hand, Wikipaintings is a perfect place to find some to project onto a whiteboard.

I let the students look at the pictures and tell me what they think might be happening and why.  The key is to get them to talk about why they say those things.  As they told me their thoughts, they changed their minds to make a clearer story.  Here are the pictures and their thoughts.

Here is the first picture with my kids' thoughts:
{Sorry about the glare, crazy lights!}  I love this picture, especially for this time of year!  I asked the kids what they thought was going on.  They went way beyond the literal.  Their thoughts:

The boy is scared because he might be in the man's yard.
The man might be his grandpa.
The boy wants the man's picnic basket because he is hungry.
The man is telling him he did a good job.
The boy may not know who the man is.

When I asked them about their thinking (super important), they told me things like that is how their faces look when they feel that way or that picnic baskets usually have food. Wow!  And I said almost nothing other than, "Hold on, let me write that down!"

Now for the second picture:

And their thoughts:
She is an artist because she has art stuff.
She is running from someone who wants to take her stuff.  (Love this one!)
It is raining, and she does not want her stuff to get wet.
Her art supplies are in the case because I have a case like that with my art stuff in it.

Again, I said very little!  Oh the power of their words!  I love when they teach me to stop and listen, and studies show that kids learn more when THEY do the talking.  We all have to remember that sometimes!

After looking at the pictures, we talked about how they drew the conclusions about the pictures.  We made this anchor chart to help them remember how we make an inference.  

Once we did that, we started looking at various passages and finding key words that helped us draw a conclusion.  I thought this would be mundane, but they loved doing it.  They really enjoyed talking about the why.  And that is the important part, the why.  Kids learn so much better when they can explain their thought processes.

What are some strategies you use to help students grasp the concept of making an inference?  How do you get students to explain the "why"?  What else could help you teach your children about making inferences?

Come back tomorrow when Carla talks more comprehension!