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Teaching Inferences With Commercials April 10, 2014 by Michelle Waters — 10 Comments
Are your students struggling with the concept of making inferences in their reading? Show your students that they already know how to make inferences with these videos!
Amplify Your Student's Voices Through Personal Narratives 3+ Week Unit
Learn More... To those of us who love reading, making inferences from text seems easy enough. But to students who struggle with reading because of a learning disability, or who just dislike reading, making inferences from text can be like trying to find clues in a dark room. That said, I have learned that those same students who don’t “get” an inference from text will make that mental leap in a flash if you show them a video. What a boost to their confidence! So I always introduce my students to making inferences with videos, like the one above. I play the video for the students, then ask them: “What happened?” Invariably,
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they will call out: “The dog ate the bird!” This is where I play devil’s advocate. “What do
you mean?” I’ll ask. “I didn’t see the dog eat the bird. Did you see the dog eat the bird?” The kids will acknowledge that they didn’t see him eat the bird. “Then how do you know he ate the bird?” I ask. That’s when they share the clues.
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We see the bird. We see the dog.
Then we hear the squawk.
The lady screams.
We see the feathers fly.
The bird is gone and the dog is licking his lips.
My students absolutely know how to make an inference. What they have trouble doing, is
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envisioning what they read so that they can make the same inference from what they see
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in their heads. So I build them up, show them that they are smart and that they can make an inference in a snap. Then we work on transferring that skill to reading text.
Students struggling with inferences? Show them they already know how to make inferences with these CLICK TO TWEET videos!
Ideas for using commercials to teach inferences
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Note: One of my readers, Nancy de Arrigunaga, made this amazing infographic of the
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ideas below. Feel free to use this in your classrooms, particularly if you are at a 1:1 school:
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The commercial above is just one that you can use. I like to show a few commercials,
make the project fun for them, help them to understand that they really are good at making inferences. I suggest you try some of these other commercials with your classes: Don’t tell
’em about the cat:
Making A Difference
I have to tell you I’ve been using your website for two years now. I teach emotionally disturbed middle school
What did the dog do?
students and anything I take from your
How do you know the dog killed the cat?
site is an automatic hit. Thank you so much for sharing your ideas! You have
Why did the dog give the man a bag of chips?
no idea how grateful I am for your site. My kids are so hard to motivate and
Graduate makes an assumption:
your material does the job!!! ” – Maria Capretta, Middle School Teacher, District 75, Staten Island, New York
The Mission Advocating for
What does the graduate think his gift is?
the growth and
What is his actual gift?
education of our nation's students. And chocolate.
This is some serious cheese:
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What happened to the mosquito? What caused the mosquito to explode Download the associated Teaching Inferences With Commercials Graphic Organizer.
Michelle Waters I am a secondary English Language Arts teacher, a University of Oklahoma graduate student, and a NBPTS candidate. I am constantly seeking ways to amplify my students’ voices and choices.
Filed Under: Pedagogy
Tagged With: Inferences
Encourage Students to Overcome Stereotypes through Personal Narratives Do you need an interactive, student-centered project that will encourage empathy, resisting stereotypes, social justice awareness and group collaboration? Go beyond just reading dusty tomes written by dead people and regurgitating boring details. Delve into a TED Talk, a related poem, and follow them up with highly engaging student discussions.
Learn More... Amplify Student Voices Through Narrative and Argumentative Writing Projects Looking for an interactive project that will foster student empathy, encourage activism, and build group collaboration skills as part of a writing project? Delve into highly-engaging spoken-word poetry, music videos, TED Talks, and an essay written by young author Jordan Womack. This unit contains everything you need to guide students through reading and viewing modern literature covering social justice topics, responding to daily essential questions, planning and writing a culminating essay, video, presentation, or children’s book that encourages students to tell their stories and take a stand for others.
Sherry says May 18, 2014 at 10:16 pm My students LOVED this lesson and so did I. They were so engaged, it was great to see. I did this with 4th and 5th graders. Reply
Mrs. Waters says June 3, 2014 at 6:21 pm Thank you so much for sharing, Sherry. (And sorry for the delay in replying. The end of the school year is rough.) I love hearing feedback from other teachers! Reply
Katina McKibbin says March 30, 2016 at 1:13 pm Thank you for sharing these videos! They worked great as an introduction to inferencing with 8th graders. Our next step will be looking at short passages to make inferences with. Reply
Ashley Sikayun says September 29, 2016 at 4:15 am Love this -very helpful to my students! Thank you! Reply
Nancy de Arrigunaga says March 9, 2017 at 3:17 pm This was such a great resource that I created a presentation to use with my students based on your ideas. Since its a come around, go around kind of world, Its my turn to share. Maybe you can use this digital resource version to deliver to your students: http://magic.piktochart.com/output/20846867-new-piktochart Reply
Mrs. Waters says August 20, 2017 at 8:07 pm Love the chart! I’m adding it to the post with credit to you. Thank you! Reply
Jeff R says November 2, 2017 at 2:58 pm Used this in my seventh-grade ELA class. Getting these helped with their confidence after not initially getting it when we tried to infer from text. Reply
Lori says November 7, 2017 at 11:13 pm This is a great introduction to inferences for middle schoolers who struggle with inference! It’s entertaining, so it grabs their attention and lets them see that they do make inferences all the time. Reply
Rebecca M says November 14, 2017 at 8:25 pm Love it! Using it tomorrow
Michelle Waters says November 14, 2017 at 8:28 pm You’re welcome! Reply
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