Today, my associate teacher (AT) explained the term 'inferencing' to her students. This is one of the first few times I have seen her teach, and I find it quite captivating at how she scaffolds and questions her students to the extent where they start answering their own questions.
She first asked them to provide her with strategies that would help someone use inferencing to understand a situation that they are in. Answers like body language, facial expressions, and subjectivity were some responses. She then asked the same question, but in regards to fictional books. How does the author communicate meaning without explicitly stating the obvious? Answers like character speech, how the author writes, and the narrator (side note: I wrote narrotor on the board and the class started giggling).
Afterwards, she showed them this small video about inferencing, and then asked every student in the class to read one page from a book called 'Woolvs in the Sitee' by Margaret Wild. The book is written in a way that is hard to understand, as the protagonist- a young, lonely boy named Ben- does not spell properly. He uses words like 'rite' and 'bisikils'. Or sentences like 'I ransaks the cubords. grabs a bag. stuffies in warm kiothing. tinned food. matchts. a torch. Before I leaves. I scrawls a messij in the dust. I've gon looking for yoo. Yor frend Ben'. The point of letting the students read this picture book (which provides very dark pictures) is to allow the students to practice inferencing. What do they think is happening? How is the author trying to communicate meaning through the little proper words she uses?
Finally, my AT reads them a short, descriptive paragraph about a man who returns in the morning and places his boots in a plastic bag because 'Alice' yells at him. He then takes his dusty overalls and puts them in the washer, then heads up the stairs to shower and have dinner. The objective of this exercise was to see the different inferences of all the students in the class. Some students thought that Alice and the man were married because they lived together, others thought that it was a mother and son relationship. Some students assumed that because he wears overalls, he must be a farmer. Others thought that the man was a painter who worked over night. The activity was interesting and started a debate between the students because they tried to prove each other wrong about their inferences. Needless to say, I think the students understood the concept and will hopefully be using inferencing when they read their novels for their literature circles.
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