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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words

It seems the kids are still in vacation mode. I'm having a hard time reining them back in. However, day 2 proved a bit better than day 1. Small progress is better than no progress, right? Despite the struggle, we carried on with the curriculum and continued exploring the idea of making inferences. We reviewed schema and talked about how we must use schema and clues from the text to make inferences while reading.

To isolate this skill I decided to focus on using picture clues to make inferences about people's emotions. This is by no means reinventing the wheel. Using pictures is a well known way to teach inferencing and I first saw the idea in a fabulous fellow 4th grade teacher's classroom. :)

First, I showed several photos on the Smartboard such as...
The students made inferences about the children's feelings and specifically told me the clues from the picture that helped them infer. They came up with some interesting scenarios. 

Then I gave them some posters with all different pictures. 

They worked in small groups to make inferences about what was happening in each photo. How were the people related? How were they feeling? What were they doing? Why were they doing it? Most importantly, they had to tell me the clues and their schema that helped them make their inferences. 

This activity took a lot of prompting. I found the kids were being very superficial at first. The only emotions they wanted to use were happy and sad. I had to prompt them to think of other emotions and push for that higher level thinking. This was much harder for them than I expected. They weren't truly able to read into the pictures and dig for deeper meaning. Although the lesson wasn't a "home run", it did tell me that we need more work on inferencing and that is helpful. It was a good formative assessment.  

To wrap it up we had some fun. What better way to activate your schema and practice inferencing than by playing charades? I found these awesome action cards from Into The BookInto The Book.

I laminated, cut and tossed into a box. The kids enjoyed acting them out for the class. We had a few giggles and maybe even learned a little something. 

My inferencing adventures are definitely not over. I'm off to think of a better way to help my kids understand this concept!

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