Teaching Inferential Thinking with Feelings

"Inferring is about reading faces, reading body language, reading expressions, and reading tone as well as reading text"~Stephanie Harvey, Strategies That Work

Hi everyone!  It's Kim, again, from Elementary Antics and I'm excited to share one of my fave reading lessons today.  (My other favorite lesson is the Great Garbage Mystery!) Using feelings to teach inferring is one of my favorite lessons from Strategies That Work that I used year after year to introduce inferential thinking to my students.  I love that you explore different feelings and show students how you infer and use inferential thinking in everyday life.

Start off by choosing some feelings that you think your students are familiar with. Write them on a sticky note. (Once you call your students to your meeting area for the lesson, you may want to review some feelings with them.) Choose one student or ask for a volunteer. Pick one of the feeling sticky notes and put it on their back. I usually begin with easy ones- happy, sad, mad. Turn the student around to show the rest of the class what the feeling is.  The student doesn't know what feeling is on his or her back. Make sure they know that the class knows they cannot say ANYTHING about what the feeling is, but tell them to start thinking about things that made them feel this way.

Then, ask the class, "Who has a clue for (student)?"  Have students raise their hands and give clues and examples to help the student figure out what feeling they could be wearing on their back.  Each student begins their clue with, "I felt this way when....." and finishes their clue.  I always remind the students how to start their clue multiple times so they do not accidentally say the feeling.

So, if the feeling is mad, some clues might be:
".... my sister hit me in the head."
".... my brother took my iPad and deleted my favorite app."
".... my mom said I had to go to bed early for no reason."
".... I got a bad grade on my spelling test because I didn't study."

After about 4-6 kids have shared I ask the student, "What can you infer the feeling is?"
They usually know it and answer.  Then I will ask, "How did you know that's what it was?" And they will use one of the clues to explain.  The kids love this game and it really shows them how we can infer in so many situations.  It's a perfect lesson to build up to inferring using the text in subsequent lessons.

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