Activities and Lessons
for Language Arts

Making Inferences
~ Pam Cucco

I keep trying to make the point that these strategies of comprehension are not just for reading text but are necessary life skills that help everyone to think deeply and carefully so.....

I brought in five unfamiliar kitchen gadgets and asked them to sit at a power table so that four kids looked at the same tool. EAch was given a recording sheet where they drew pictures (visual image), labeled their observations,(determined importance) made connections to other tools that they were reminded of, and listed questions they had about the tool. Then they shared their questions and observations and came up with a power table inference.

It was a fun project because although only one group actually guessed what the gadget was really used for....many used their recordings to think creatively and critically. Although not correct.... many had wonderful alternate uses.

Then I asked each group to make an inference about their group work. The overwhelming response was that their own thinking was enhanced by sharing not only their individual inferences but that their questions were the ones that drove their thinking. They also eluded to work habits and body language that either made or broke their power table's initiative.

Not bad for first graders!

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