A Back to School Activity Idea involving MAKING INFERENCES! {FREEBIE}

When my daughter was in transitional kindergarten, she proudly marched into our house with a "Me Bag" on about the fifth day of school.  She was beyond excited!  The bag contained instructions that she was supposed to fill it with items that would tell her 5-year-old classmates more information about her and her interests.  As you might guess, she knew exactly which items she wanted to place in the bag- a beloved Olivia book that we read over and over, a stuffed animal, oatmeal cream pies to share with her classmates, and her princess crown that Daddy had purchased for her when he took her to Disney on Ice.  I had to suggest that she add a family photo to the bag, so she could share about her family.  :)

As we were gathering the contents for the "Me Bag", I found myself thinking of an upper elementary version of this activity.  After all, ALL students are eager to tell us about themselves when we embark upon a new school year.  As I further planned this activity to do with my students, I knew I didn't want it to become a traditional "Show and Tell" activity.  It quickly occurred to me that this could be an effective inferencing activity!

I typed up a planning paper:
Click here to download this planner!

The next day at class, I showed the students my bag, and told them that I was going to show them the contents of the bag without saying anything.  By looking at the contents of the bag, they should be able to make an inference about me.  It was their job to infer and figure out what it was that I wanted them to know about me since I couldn't say any words.  (They looked a bit confused, but I knew that they would understand once I showed them what was inside my bag.)

I proceeded to pull out the items, one by one.  I pulled out a spatula and wrote the word "spatula" on the board.  Next, I silently pulled a container of cupcake liners from the bag and wrote "cupcake liners" on the board.  Finally, I pulled out a recipe book from my bag and wrote "recipe book" on my board.  By this time, hands were shooting in the air all over the place!  I asked what it was that I wanted them to know about me, and they said all shouted some variation of "You like to bake!!"


(I fanned through the pages of the magazine, just so that they would see there were recipes inside.)
To drive home the point of the lesson (making inferences), I asked them, "But how did you know?  I didn't say anything!  Did you read my mind?"  They explained that the items were like clues, and they had to put the clues together to figure it out. I was overjoyed when another student said that all of the items were from a kitchen, so that's how he figured it out (yay for background knowledge!). I took the anchor chart off my desk and put it on the board.

I filled in the anchor chart and said, "So you made an inference!  You used your clues and your background knowledge" to infer!!"  (I had them guide me in writing the the appropriate words in the boxes.)

Then I told them that they would have the opportunity to have their classmates make an inference about them.  I showed them the planning paper that I had filled out in preparation of this lesson. 

Then I let them start their own planner.   I had to provide a little guidance at times, but overall, they did extremely well, and they loved this activity!  Plus, we all learned something about each other!

As each student showed their items, we filled in the chart. 
Best of all, I was able to refer back to this activity several times during the school year when we discussed making inferences while reading.  I would often say something like "But how did you know?  The author didn't tell you that Brian was feeling jealous of his big brother?"  And they would answer something like "We inferred!" or "The author gave us a clue when he said..."

Be sure to download the planner if you want a free copy!  Just click on the picture above or its caption!

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5 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for this terrific activity for inference. Inference is always such a tough skill to teach. I like the idea of having them bring things in to share that the whole class has to use to make inferences. You always have the neatest ideas, Deb!

    Ali
    Teaching Powered by Caffeine


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  2. This is just excellent! I am already so excited to use this activity idea with my fourth graders. Thank you for sharing it!!

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  3. I love, love, LOVE this idea!!! I cannot wait to use it with my students. Thank you!!!
    ~Amanda from His and Her Hobbies

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  4. This is awesome!!! I love this idea! I will be using this activity this coming week! Thank you for sharing :)

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