Thursday, October 29, 2015

Cowboy Boot Inferring!

How can we become better readers by learning from a rugged, dirty, cowboy boot?

Last year, I wrote a blog post about my most FAVORITE professional book E-V-E-R!  Check it out here  It served as inspiration for this lesson today...

This morning, I plopped my husband's riding boots (the ones he usually has spurs on...the ones he usually has trampled through mud and cow manure in...the ones that don't exactly look or smell quite ordinary...) and asked my learners the question, "Who wears this boot?"  As the boot was passed around the class, many of the learners began firing off observations.  I guided their observations into inferences.  One sweet girl said, "Ewww!  It's muddy!" so I helped her infer that whoever wears this boot has walked through the mud.  One little guy noticed the dried green lump on the bottom of the boot and informed the class he knew that was cow "poo."  So we used inferring language and said we knew that whoever wears this boot has stepped in cow manure.  Before long, the entire class was using inferring language and telling me what they know about the boot.

 We recorded our inferences down onto a chart.  After we filled up our page, we then had to cite our evidence for our inference.  Once we did that, we realized that sometimes an author doesn't always tell us everything we need to know about the "behind the scenes" action of a text.  So, we have use our background knowledge (we call it schema), add it to text clues from what we're reading, and the result is an inference.  We are really trying to open up our minds to think deeper and more rigorous about what we're learning.

Tomorrow, we'll collect some inferring thinking stems to help us start our thinking.  I am really excited about the thinking of this group!

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