Apr 21, 2015

Bringing Trash to School

With Earth Day being tomorrow, it seems most appropriate to discuss how we can reuse our trash.  Just bring it to school!

After our experience with the metacognition lesson , Karen and I decided we wanted to try out some direct inferring lessons with our firsties.

We decided to spread the lessons out over four days and leave the fifth day open to find out what they learned from the week.  After rereading the chapter from "Comprehension Connections" on inferring, we made our plan.  Each day we wanted to open the lesson with a different shoe.  The repetitive nature of that lesson would really help our students become confident in looking for evidence and using schema. We knew that they would enjoy this but wanted to quickly jump into making inferences within text.  So here is what we did:

On Monday Karen brought in her son's shoe:


We asked them..."Who do you think wears this shoe or what do you know about the person that wears this shoe?"  Immediately they came up with lots of ideas.  But with these ideas came another question..."how do you know?"
As they provided information to us, we recorded what they were saying as either evidence or schema.

 Then I read "The Secret Shortcut" by Mark Teague.  We made inferences about the text citing our evidence along the way.  I was really happy with the transfer of knowledge to the book.

Karen brought in her dog's shoe on Tuesday.  The kids had a lot of fun with this one.  Another Inference/Evidence chart was made.  Then they moved on to images.  There are a lot of great images out there on Pinterest or Google that can be used for inferring.  We had used some with a child that looked bored with his plate of food or an image of sunburned feet.  Basically, the kids need to gather evidence from the photo to infer.  Here is an example (of my child):

What can you infer from this image?

On Wednesday, we used a flip flop from Karen's daughter.  But our little firsties had confidence in this routine and came up with some great inferences quickly.  We did not write them down on chart paper this time but moved right along to more visual images.  We ended the lesson with the book "Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothes."  My sister had suggested it for this lesson and it was a great fit!


Thursday is when we brought in the real challenge, the real test.  Could they infer about my new neighbors across the street from the trash that I stole at the end of their driveway?  (This is just a made up story that I actually stole from the "Comprehension Connections" book).
Of course, we started the lesson with another shoe: my 4 year old's gym shoe.  They were getting good at this :)
Then came the trash.  I dumped out the whole black bag on the ground.  There was quite a bit of shock and disbelief on their faces. 

 After some discussion, we decided to organize or group the trash.  Then make inferences based on the groups of trash and evidence that we had.


Recording: My sister suggested using big butcher paper to place all the trash on and write the inferences right there next to the trash.  I ended up just making the same chart that I made for the shoe lessons.  This worked out fine for us.

By Friday we felt pretty confident that they did understand what it meant to make a good inference.  We decided not to do another shoe.  But our firsties had a different idea about that.  It could not be skipped.  So we inferred about a water shoe.
Then we watched two commercials that my sister recommended to us.  They were very powerful commercials to us (the adults!) and the kids were able to make some interesting inferences about the videos.  But we did keep asking them..."What is your evidence."  Here is the first one from YouTube:


Here is the second one from YouTube:


I think this is a good one to stop midpoint and ask them to infer about what is happening.  Then after the video I asked them "Do you think the adult planned this or the children?"  This was a very challenging question for our first graders, especially when I asked them to provide evidence.  I would be interested to hear what your students have to say.

To complete our week of inferring, we asked the kids to do a sort.  They had to read/listen to a sentence and infer whether the event occurred during the day or night.

I will say it has been a lot of fun to co-teach these types of lessons with our first graders.  I feel so lucky that we have the opportunity to learn so much from each other.  And I truly think the kids enjoy having two teachers up there acting goofy and pulling information out of them.

One final note...two or three weeks after this lesson one of my students found some random flip flops in a desk (we move classrooms).  And someone shouted out "we need to look for evidence!"  Ha!!!
Maybe we did something right.




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