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Making Inferences

What is an inference? How can it help in your classroom? How can you utilize it in different content areas?

Kelsie Roeser

on 4 June 2013

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Transcript of Making Inferences

Helpful Websites for Teachers Books to teach Inferencing What is an Inference? Drawing Inferences Drawing Inferences Games/Activities for students to teach inference By: Breanna, Joshua, Kelsie, Katelyn Making Inferences When the reader takes what they know, and what they are reading to come up with a deeper meaning of the text. Drawing Inferences How does Inferences Enhance Comprehension? In the Woods: Who's Been Here? by Lindsay Barrett George

Four Feet, Two Sandals by Karen Lynn Williams

Mail Harry to the Moon by Robie H. Harris

Suddenly by Colin McNaughton http://www.philtulga.com/Riddles.html (solving online riddles)
Empty comic strip bubbles (newspaper comics

Guess the definition
(Example: “I didn’t want to abseculate again this winter. Last time I did it I broke my arm going down a steep hill.”)

http://havefunteaching.com/fun-activities/reading-activities/inference-activity-1.pdf (cutout pieces) http://www.speechlanguage-resources.com/teaching-inferencing.html

(organizer to use with a text)

(video clips) •It is important to understand that the reading comprehension curriculum that exists in American schools today was built from the strong behavioral and task- analytic notions about learning that prevailed throughout the early and middle parts of this century.
• Smith (1965) documents how reading was viewed as a skill that could be decomposed into a component set of sub skills involved in both decoding and comprehension. Examples of comprehension sub skills included sequencing events in a story, predicting outcomes of a story, drawing conclusions, finding the main idea, and so forth. Further, it was believed that reading could be improved by teaching students each of these necessary sub skills to a minimal level of mastery (Rosenshine, 1980).
•The proliferation of comprehension skills and the comprehension curriculum as we know it today emerged from this task-analytic behavioral conception of reading. Guthrie (1973) described this curriculum as an assembly-line model of skill acquisition. In such a curriculum, it is assumed that each skill can be mastered and that the aggregate of all the sub skills equaled reading comprehension.
•There are several important distinctions between traditional skills and what we have come to call strategies, at least as they are conceptualized in recent work. First, there is a distinction in intentionality. Strategies emphasize intentional and deliberate plans under the control of the reader. Good readers make decisions about which strategy to use, when to use it, and how to adapt it to a particular text (Pressley, Goodchild, et al., 1989). Skills are more or less automatic routines. •Inference is the heart of the comprehension process.

•One of the most common findings of recent reading research is that drawing inferences is an essential part of the comprehension process, even among young children (Anderson & Pearson, 1984). As they construct their own models of meaning for a given text, readers and listeners alike use inferencing extensively to fill in details omitted in text and to elaborate what they read (Anderson, 1977; Anderson, Spiro, & Anderson, 1978; Bransford, Barclay, & Franks, 1972; Brown, Smiley, Day, Townsend, & Lawton, 1977; Kail, Chi, Ingram, & Danner, 1977).

•A classic illustration of this slot filling function can be found in the Kail et al. (1977) study in which second and sixth graders read sentences such as: Mary was playing in a game. She was hit by a bat. Although the game of baseball was never mentioned in these sentences, students had no difficulty drawing the inference that Mary was playing baseball. Even second graders used their prior knowledge to infer that if Mary was hit by a bat in a game, she must have been playing baseball. Studies like this one demonstrate that children can draw inferences, children do not always do so automatically (see, e.g., Paris & Lindauer, 1976). The important point is that even the simplest of texts requires inferencing. •Children as young as second grade can be taught to improve their inferencing abilities. For instance, Hansen (1981) and Hansen and Pearson (1983) helped stu- dents learn to draw inferences by giving them visual and kinesthetic reminders of how to integrate prior knowledge and text knowledge. Similarly, in studies by Raphael and her colleagues (Raphael & McKinney, 1983; Raphael & Pearson, 1985; Raphael & Wonnacott, 1985), experimenters asked young students to identify and label strategies used to answer comprehension questions, especially inference questions, by helping students decide whether a question must be answered with their prior knowledge alone or with a combination of prior knowledge and text information.

•The result was improved comprehension of text, especially students' answering of inferential questions.

•Despite persistent, well-meaning positions that argue for delaying inferential activities until literal comprehension is mastered (e.g., you need to get the facts straight before you can reason beyond the text), both basic and applied reading research supports a strong emphasis on inferential strategies from the beginning of instruction. Math
The Math Standards from the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) identify standards for PreK-12 students that include developing and evaluating inferences and predictions that are based on data.

Pre-K–2 Expectations: In pre-K through grade 2, all students should discuss events related to students' experiences as "likely" or "unlikely."
Grades 3–5 Expectations: In grades 3–5, all students should propose and justify conclusions and predictions that are based on data and design studies to further investigate the conclusions or predictions.
Science teachers spend time helping students develop their observation skills. Inferring and observing are closely related, but they are not identical. Observation is what one sees, inference is an assumption of what one has seen. Observation can be said to be a factual description, and inference is an explanation to the collected data. It's not a guess. If an observation can be termed as a close watch of the world around you through the senses, then inference can be termed as an interpretation of facts that has been observed.
Observation: The grass on the playground is wet.
Possible inferences: It rained. The sprinkler was on. There is morning dew on the grass. Social Studies
Often, inferring is introduced to students by using familiar symbols, activities, and environments from which they automatically draw inferences or make predictions (an inference about the future).
For example, suppose you are about to begin a unit on the Great Depression. You might have students view a picture of the exterior of a mansion and then of a soup line. Then, through questioning, students focus on details, making inferences about the people who live in both places, their socioeconomic status, the kinds of food they eat, the kinds of activities they pursue. •Background knowledge
•Sticky Note Responses
•Each student creates a chart with unfamiliar vocabulary words that they have come across in their reading and the inferred meaning of the words.
•Content reading: Two-column chart headed “Facts” and “Inferences”
•Two-column chart headed “Questions (I wonder)” and “Inferences (I think)” Examples of how teachers can use responses to strategy instruction as formative assessment to inform further instruction:
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