This is such a great visual for all grade levels to use. When students have book talks and really dig into a text, I like to eavesdrop on their conversations, interjecting to ask if they information they shared or discussed was explicit or the inferred. Students immediately look at the chart and I can also see their brains checking off the characteristics of each. This really takes something that feels abstract and makes it much more tangible and easy to quantify.
Engaging Students with this Chart:
- Create you book ahead of time, but nothing else. Be prepared for what you will write, but do your best to make this a shared experience. Students need you to literally think aloud and question yourself.
- My conversation usually begins like this:
“I want everyone to be completely silent and watch me. I am going to walk around and I want you to think about what types of decisions you can make about me based on clues that you notice. When you have made a decision about me, write it down. We are going to call those decisions, inferences. So write down what you infer about me based on clues (evidence) that you see.”
I spend 2-3 minutes demonstrating a strong dislike or like for something in the room. I typically select one gender or one side of the room that I demonstrate a preference for. I circulate around the room and visually look unhappily at one side of the room. I avoid contact with their desks, while offering over exaggerated smiles and visual clues to indicate which group I prefer. I ham it up and have some fun here. If it doesn’t feel silly, you aren’t doing it right! This activity should be light hearted and fun. When we are done, students will identify that I had a preference for one side of the room over the other. I challenge them, almost defiantly, about this inference.
How do you know? I didn’t say that! What evidence do you have?
As students share response, I point out that my preference for one side was an inference. I explain that inferences are not directly started, you have to look for clues. We create the chart together and refer to the wordless scene often throughout the year.