Making Inferences

Inferences are my favorite!  There are so many fun ways to teach students how to infer during reading.  It requires some higher order thinking skills, so it can be difficult for students to grasp.  I have some ways and ideas to make teaching making inferences super fun and engaging!  Making inferences is almost like being a reading detective who has to solve a case.   The author might not directly state something in a text.  The reader has to use the text evidence, along with their schema, to make an inference.  Making inferences can also help a student draw a conclusion.

I like to kick off the unit with a Pixar short film.  (You can find lots of these on YouTube.)  I actually show one to kick off each day of the unit as an attention grabber.  They are super quick, fun, and get the students thinking.  They are inferring and don't even realize it yet.  This is a great one to use, but there are tons more out there that would work.  You will want to stop throughout the film to ask students inferential questions.


As with every new concept, I always make an anchor chart for us to refer to all throughout the unit.  I introduce inferences with this chart, and then I have the students talk about it.  I then chant the parts of how to make an inference with a motion for each part and have the students echo me.  We do this a lot! After about a week of doing that, they will know what an inference is for the rest of the year!  It's crazy how it helps them remember!  You can just randomly ask them during the year, and they can use the terminology and everything.  They're amazing!

making inferences anchor chart

Since first writing this blog post, I have updated my resources that I use.  Here is a new anchor chart I have created that you can print as a poster, along with some posters that you can display during the unit.




Another fun activity that I love to do to begin a lesson is the Mystery Bag.  I put something in the bag and students have to infer what is in the bag based on the clues I give them.  I try to make the object in the bag be something that goes along with the story we are reading.  



The character on the anchor chart from above is Miss Nelson from Miss Nelson is Missing.  That is the first book I use as a read aloud for my students to practice making inferences.  Make sure they have not read it before.  If someone has heard it, tell them to keep what happens a secret!  This book is perfect for making inferences.  I use it first because there are always students who have read it before, so I like to use it for the whole group introduction.  As I am reading the book, I am completing a graphic organizer, modeling how to properly make an inference and record my clues and schema.  Students are filling one out with me on their clipboards at the carpet.  You could even make an anchor chart you fill out by sharing the pen, but I like to use one of these to make them familiar with the format.  

We added the graphic organizer to this fun Miss Swamp craft.  I can't help but love Miss Swamp.



During my inference unit, I like to incorporate lots of different books and read alouds.  These are some of my all time favorites.  Chris Van Allsburg may be my favorite author.  His books are so mysterious and amazing!  So much inferring is required!

making inferences books



The following day, I start releasing a little more independence.  We, of course, repeat over and over what it means to make an inference using whole brain strategies.  We do another story and craft, and then they participate in a cooperative group activity.  If time is an issue for you, you could have them do this during small group instruction or even during centers.  It would also be a great early finisher activity students could easily grab and work on.

I create 3 or 4 case files like the one below and fill each with graphic organizers and a book or passage.  



   
Students read the book or passage inside and complete the graphic organizer together.  The first time I do this unit, I like to use all picture books.  When I do this unit again, I might vary it with other books and passages.  The great thing about my inference pack is that you can use it over and over throughout the year.  There are too many activities to fit in one week.  I like to put a question in which they have to infer in the file.  It gives them a purpose and keeps them focused.  It's the "CASE" they have to solve!

Below are a few different graphic organizers you can use with any read aloud for making inferences.



Students wear these little name badges while working.  They fit in a name badge holder or you could just paper clip them to their shirts.  I also give them bookmarks to use for their independent reading books.




I love to incorporate crafts into my instruction.  Below are some other books that are great for making inferences.  Piggie Pie and Corduroy are great for having students feel like they have to solve a mystery in the story.



At the end of each lesson, I try to do some sort of exit ticket to check their understanding.  I may read a short passage or story and ask them an inferring question about it.  They write their inference on a slip of paper and clip it up. Last year, I had a board for exit tickets.  Each student had a clip for their exit ticket.  It was quick and simple.  It's also really great for observations!





I have actually done some of these activities for observations, and my administrators always really love it!  I have gotten great scores because of the rigor, pacing, and variety of activities and assessments.  I hope this helps you out and makes teaching inferences easier and more fun for you and your students!  If you need any of these inference activities, click the pic below.


It's been a busy but fun weekend.  Fall has definitely been in the air!


I went with some teacher friends to the Nashville GoNoodle meet-up.  It was so fun!  Mr. Catman was there, so that was really cool to sees the man behind the mask!  Go Noodle has been a lifesaver in the classroom, so it was really fun to see the people behind such an amazing site.


I also went to the Strawberry Patch Barn Sale in Hartsville, Tennessee with my mom, sister, and friend.  So many fun booths and yummy food.  It definitely made me excited for fall!



3 comments

  1. Inferencing is such a hard concept for some of my students to grasp. This seems like a great way to engage the students and teach it. Thank you!

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  2. May I ask a question here? With the Pigeon Impossible Making Inferences video...what do you say after they watch the video or before? Is there a Big Question? Do they take notes on video?

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