A few months ago, I was looking for an exciting way to teach students how to make inferences, seeing that students were all struggling with CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.5.1: Quoting accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text. Sure, they were all familiar with what an inference actually was (an educated guess based on what you see and what you know) but theyhad trouble connecting it to things they did in their everyday life.
Here's where Google came to save the day (that's usually how it happens, right?)
I stumbled across Mrs. White's 5th Grade Reading site, where she had listed all the various ways she had taught Inferences. This one in particular caught my eye and I grabbed 2 of my most, how should we say this, creative, students to help me pull this off. They showed up to school one day at 6:00am, armed with baggies full of ketchup, chalk and plenty ideas to turn my classroom into a crime scene. A huge thanks to our 5th Grade Science teacher who was so kind to lend us CAUTION tape. By 7:15am, my classroom was ready to go.
Students began arriving and really had no idea that what was going on in my classroom was staged. Period by period, I had students come the room, which by now was very cold and dark. Desks and chairs were overturned, large items were missing (e.g. my printer) and pictures were knocked over. Students were told they had to be very quiet, filling out a t-chart that listed the clues that they saw (the "what you see" part) on one side, and what they thought those clues meant (the "what you know" part) on the other side). After finishing, students took a seat and began trying to piece together what happened.
The stories they came up with were hilarious, off the wall and at times downright dreadful. I didn't really get too set on having one "right" situation, having too much fun letting the kids get carried away with their imaginations. At the end of the day, I was happy to see them so engaged, so excited to be trying to connect evidence with their own background knowledge and downright amused at them asking if everyday could look and feel like this (I wish! But then my room would always smell like old ketchup haha).
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