Sunday, August 24, 2014

Making Inferences and Freebies

First, have you noticed?  Teaching with Blonde Ambition got a much needed facelift!  Thanks to Christi Fultz for a wonderful blog design!  She TOTALLY nailed it and it depicts my personality perfectly!!!  :)

So many teachers have asked me to blog about my lessons and how I teach various skills.  Also, teachers have asked what order I teach the standards.  Well, I am going to answer a few of those questions today.  First, I have my pacing guide that I use for teaching ELA that I am going to share with you.  This is MY pacing guide and the order that I teach the Common Core Standards.  I emphasize the word MY because this is strictly the order that I have chosen to teach the standards.  I do a lot of spiral teaching, but this gives you my plan and when I introduce each standard.  Once I have taught a standard, I continue to integrate the standards throughout the school year.  Click here to download my pacing guide.

So, this past week, I started teaching how to make inferences.   I am going to give you a peek at what our week looked like. Here are some of the activities we did in class last week to learn about inferences.

To introduce inferences,  I began with a concrete definition for making inferences.  The first activity I started with was "Making Trashy Inferences."  This was not my original idea.  My teammate found it online somewhere and told me about it.  But, basically as a class, I modeled how to make inferences by using my neighbors' trash (totally made up).  I told the kids that I have new neighbors in my subdivision that I haven't had the opportunity to meet.  I explained that my English mastiff likes to bring their trash to my house, so I have collected the trash and brought it in for them to see.  I told them that I hoped they could help me learn more about my neighbors by using the clues/evidence plus their background knowledge to make inferences about them.  I showed the kids a trash bag full of various items like a baby clothes hanger, birthday candles, a Wal-mart bag, receipts, etc.  I pulled the items out of the trash bag and we discussed as a class what they all might mean about my neighbors.  They filled out a handout that I created while we did this activity.  After it was over, I told this kids that I wanted them to be "trashy" readers......snoop through the clues in the text to make inferences about what they read.  Side note:  The kids really believed my story about the neighbors.  In fact, they asked if I would go introduce myself so I could find out if their inferences are correct.  LOL!!!  It was really painful to tell the kids that I did have new neighbors, but the trash wasn't theirs. :)

After this activity, I used an activity from Babbling Abby.  I had my students work more independently to make inferences about me, their teacher, using items from my purse.  We did this whole group, but the kids made their inferences independently.  I held up an item and they completed their inference chart.  Then, I had the students get with a partner and discuss the inferences that they made.  We came back together whole group and discussed them.  If you would like to use these handouts, you can download them here.

The next day, I used Deb Hanson's Making Inferences Powerpoint lesson, as my mini-lesson.

Also, I used this adorable video to teach the kids a song to help them remember how to make an inference while reading.  It's to the tune of Call Me, Maybe.  The kids were really liked it!

After we learned about making inferences, we created our interactive notebook page for my Interactive Notebook file.

Then, the kids worked in learning stations to play games and practice making inferences using small amounts of text.  Here are some of the resources I used for those learning stations.

I used task cards from Rachel Lynette and Teaching with a Mountain View.

This board game came from Edupress.

This adorable board game came from Fun in 5th Grade.  I love this game because the cards have QR codes on them, so the kids can use the scanner on the i-Pad to check their answers.  They LOVE this!!!!!

For some more concrete practice, I used inference activities from Lindsay Flood- Whose Pocket Is Whose?, The Magician that Made a Mistake from Cara Taylor, Who Wears This Shoe? inferencing activity from Fourth and Ten, and Have Your Cake and Inference Too! activity from Christina Bainbridge.

Okay, so this is basically my week in a nutshell.  Everything is still slow moving as we learn classroom procedures and expectations.  We worked on reading stamina as well.

Next week, I will share with you how we take this skill from concrete and apply it to reading literature and informational text.  :)  I will also be introducing theme and main idea.  Stay tuned!

Have a fabulous week!!!!


  1. Great post, Nicole. I have your set, and I believe this just became my plan for teaching inferences. I have a few go-to mentor texts I love to use as well that I tie to a writing prompt after. It's so important to practice, practice, practice. Inferring is the hardest skill for my kids.

  2. What an excellent post! Thanks for all the great ideas for teaching inferences. Cute video!!
    Grade 4 Buzz

  3. I love this!! I am curious, what do you do in small group with your students? I am a Language Arts/Social Studies teacher. I am trying to schedule my day around everyone's pull out schedule. So I am just interested in how you structure your small group instruction.

    1. I do a Daily 5, kind of schedule. In learning stations, the kids work on a hands-on, writing, read to self, work with the teacher, and respond to reading. I give the students about 20 minutes in each station. They do not get to every station all in one takes two, so I meet with the kids two times a week and my intensive kids meet with me three days. During small group instruction, I utilize Storyworks magazine a lot. I don't have a lot of guided reading books, but I have two years worth of Storyworks and we still subscribe to them. They are great! I also use leveled readers from Reading A-Z. While I am working with the kids, we read the material and generally work on the skill that I am teaching. I will look at blogging about that in the next couple of weeks, so you can see how that works. Thanks for your question. :)