Outside/Inside is such a useful chart for elementary and middle school readers. This chart is interactive and helps students be able to understand that they can explicitly pull out excerpts from the text and make inferences about the author’s point of view. When you create this chart with students, they should be at a point where they have been introduced to the concept of point of view. This chart helps them move beyond mere identification and focus on supporting the inferences about point of view. Point out to students that they are working not just on standard six, but that they are integrating the skills of standard one. Textual evidence and inference are a constant when analyzing text.
Making this Chart:
- I created this with sixth grade students.
- I drew the images in advance by looking at cartoon pictures of a living room and of a landscape.
- When I sat down with my readers, I asked them what they though the images represented. After a brief discussion, I recorded the words outside and inside on the chart.
- I explained that clues on the outside help you make decisions about the inside. I asked students what inferences they would make about a woman with glasses standing in front of a chalkboard facing students. Of course they decided that she was probably a teacher or administrator. I also led them to the notion that inferences could be incorrect as well.
- We looked back at a text that we had already read. For this chart, we had revisited two different articles about Black Friday shopping.
Keeping the Focus:
This inevitably becomes a discussion of stereotypes as well. With middle school students, this is a shift that can go totally off track, so carefully bring them back to the standard if it goes too far of topic. I really like for students to understand that an inference could be wrong. I want them to understand that I am not looking for the same cookie cutter inferences. What I am interested in is that they can provide me with textual evidence to support their inferences about the author’s point of view.