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1 Sarah Chang Literacy Lesson Analysis 12/14/12

Lesson Design
What I am going to teach students a strategy for making inferences, which involves combining background knowledge and text clues to make an inference. This strategy will help students refer to details and examples in a textwhen drawing inferences from the text, which is part of the classroom and school curriculum. How I am going to first model the strategy with a text a few times by using a think aloud. I will then switch to a guided reading by asking students to discuss among themselves ways to use the strategy at various points in the text as I am reading the text aloud and then have them share their findings with me. Finally, I will have students practice the strategy with the remainder of the text by themselves. Why I believe that teachers need to be very explicit when teaching literacy. In other words, teachers need to explicitly show students a strategy rather than just tell them about the strategy. This is the reason why I chose to model the strategy with a think aloud. The think aloud will help students understand the thinking that occurs behind the use of the strategy, so that it will be easier for them to later try out the strategy by themselves. I also believe that students need guidance and practice with a strategy before they can try it out independently, which is why I continue with a guided reading after I model the strategy. I want the students to have a thorough understanding of the strategy and be comfortable using it before I ask them to use the strategy by themselves.

2 I selected this topic because I noticed that the student in my child study and some students in the class are having trouble making inferences. I believe that making inferences while reading is very important for understanding the text at a deeper level, so I want to teach a strategy that would make making inferences easier for students. Furthermore, making good inferences is not only part of my classroom and school curriculum, but also part of the Common Core State Standards.

Lesson Plan
Initial Lesson Plan Goals / Objectives Students will be able to combine background knowledge and text clues to make inferences. Standards (and Assessment Anchors, if applicable) Common Core State Standards For English Language Arts Key Ideas and Details 1 for Grade 4 Students: Refer to details and examples in a text when drawing inferences from the text. (This is listed as the Level 2 objective for my 6th grade classroom.) Materials and preparation 1. Tree of Hope by Amy Littlesugar and Floyd Cooper 2. 4 photocopies of Tree of Hope for the students 3. Paper 4. Writing utensils 5. Backup texts in case students find Tree of Hope uninteresting or too easy Classroom arrangement and management issues 1. I cannot choose the classroom arrangement. My classroom teacher informed me that I would use the room that happens to be available the day that I teach. The room would be

3 a quiet private area, which will help eliminate distractions and help my students concentrate. My classroom teacher will quietly inform the four chosen students that they will be working with me and I will take them to the available room for the entire lesson. 2. I will provide students with all materials needed. 3. The four students may disrupt other students as they transition from their original classroom to the classroom that I will be teaching them in. I can ask the students to not talk during the transition. The classroom may be too big. Students may choose to sit very far away from each other even though there are only four students. I can ask students to all sit in the front row, so that they hear me and each other during our discussions. Plan 1) The hook (12 minutes) Who has played charades before? I will pick a student to explain to the group what charades are (if none of the students has knowledge about the game, I will explain what charades are) I will write down the rules of the game on the board. I will act out an emotion and ask the students to guess what emotion I am feeling and to provide evidence to support their guesses. I will give each student a turn to be the actor while the remaining three students make guesses and provide evidence. Who knows what an inference is? I will pick a student to explain to the group what an inference is (if none of the students know, I will explain what an inference is) How is playing charades related to making inferences?

4 2) The body of the lesson (28 minutes) I will hand each student a piece of paper. I will tell each student to divide his or her paper into three columns. I will ask students to label the columns: Background Knowledge, Text Clues, and Inference. I will read aloud Tree of Hope and model the inference strategy two times with a think aloud. o When I read, Florries daddy and mama named her after the great actress Miss Florence Mills, I will explain how I know from personal experience that parents may name their children after people who they admire or respect. For example, my parents named me after Sarah in the Bible because they admired her qualities. I will then model how I connect this background knowledge with the text clues to come up with the inference that Florries parents probably really admire Florence Mills. I will also fill out the three columns in front of the students. o When I read, For he was an actor himself in the old days, those golden days when the Lafayette Theatre up in Harlem was a glittering palace and the ladies in their cutaway shoes and the men in their silk toppers came to catch a show, I will explain that I know that was is the past tense of is and that was refers to something in the past. I will then model how I connect this background knowledge with the text clues to come up with the inference that Florries daddy is probably no longer an actor and the Lafayette Theatre is not as popular as it was in the golden days. I will also fill out the three columns in front of the students.

5 Does anyone have any questions about this inference strategy of using background knowledge and textual clues to come up with an inference? I will then invite students to participate in using the inference strategy at various points in the book. For each of the questions below I will be listening for students using background knowledge and text clues to come up with the answer to my question. I will then ask them to share their findings with me by specifying what goes in each of the three columns. o When I read, Then one night, a pretty young woman handed him up a red, red, rose, I will ask the students to discuss among themselves who they think this young woman is and why they think this. o When I read, Newspapers shouted HARD TIMES! and folks, especially in Harlem, werent thinking about going to plays, I will ask the students to discuss among themselves why they think people were no longer thinking about going to plays. o When I read, Men and women in threadbare coats stood in long linestwice as long as anyplace elsejust for a free potato, I will ask the students to discuss among themselves why they think people would be willing to wait so long just for a potato. o When I read, Been wishin on that tree again, huh? Mama scolded when they got home late, I will ask the students to discuss among themselves why they think Mama was unhappy at them. o When I read, But some folks in Harlem were angry, I will ask the students to discuss among themselves why they think people in Harlem were angry.

6 I will ask students to read the remainder of the book by themselves and fill out the three columns whenever they see the opportunity to make an inference. 3) Closure (5 minutes) I will ask each student to share two of his or her inferences to the group. I will explain how this inference strategy can be used with all texts including poems and nonfiction. Does anyone have any remaining questions?

Assessment of the goals/objectives listed above I will listen to the group discussion during the guided reading portion of the lesson and collect each students paper with the three columns to assess students. I will gather evidence from the group discussion by taking notes on what students say during the discussion and I will ask that each student hand me his or her paper before leaving the classroom. For the data that I gather from the group discussion, I will examine if a student participates in the discussion, if the things discussed follow the inferring equation (Background Knowledge + Text Clues = Inference), and if logical inferences are made. If all students participate, the inferring equation is followed, and logical inferences are made, then I know that I have made progress toward my goal. For the data that I collect from their written work, I will check if students followed the inferring equation and if they came up with logical inferences. This will help me determine if I made progress toward my goal. Anticipating students responses and your possible responses a) Management issues 1. Students may not pay attention during the think aloud. I can monitor if students are paying attention to me during the think aloud and ask students questions if they look like

7 they are not paying attention. For example, I can ask the student what background knowledge I applied to get to the inference. 2. Students may not want to participate in the charades activity. For students who do not want to participate in the charades activity, I can ask them, How can I make this activity more fun for you? and then change some aspects of the activity so that it would engage the students more. 3. The group may get off topic when I ask them to discuss the answer to the assigned question. When I notice that the group is starting to get off topic, I can guide them back on topic with questions such as What textual clues did you find to support your inference? 4. Some students may not want to complete the assignment of finishing the book independently while filling out the three columns. I can offer them incentive for completing the assignment by explaining how using this strategy can help them make inferences and then explaining how making inferences can help them better understand and enjoy texts that they read. b) Response to content of the lesson 1. Some students may find Tree of Hope boring to read. I can bring a variety of other texts to class just in case the students find Tree of Hope boring, so the students have the option of picking another text to work with. 2. Some students may ask why making inferences is important. I would explain that inferences help us read in between the lines, so that we can understand the text on a deeper level.

8 3. Some students may find making inferences with Tree of Hope too hard or too easy. See below for accommodations. Accommodations a) For students who may find the material too challenging, I can work with them individually while others are independently finishing Tree of Hope. b) For students who may need greater challenge, I can give them a more difficult text to work with. (Tree of Hope is a picture book. I can provide this student with a chapter book or poem instead.) For students who finish early, I will first ask them if they found the material too easy. If they say yes, I will provide them with a more difficult text to work with. If they say no, I will provide them with another text that is on the same difficulty level as Tree of Hope to work with. Revised Lesson Plan (Revisions based on Nancy Levitts feedback and my own editing before teaching the actual lesson) Goals / Objectives Students will be able to combine background knowledge and text clues to make inferences. Standards (and Assessment Anchors, if applicable) Common Core State Standards For English Language Arts Key Ideas and Details 1 for Grade 4 Students: Refer to details and examples in a text when drawing inferences from the text. (This is listed as the Level 2 objective for my 6th grade classroom.) Materials and preparation 1. Tree of Hope by Amy Littlesugar and Floyd Cooper 2. 4 photocopies of Tree of Hope for the students 3. Paper

9 4. Writing utensils 5. Backup texts in case students find Tree of Hope uninteresting or too easy Classroom arrangement and management issues 1. I cannot choose the classroom arrangement. My classroom teacher informed me that I would use the room that happens to be available the day that I teach. The room would be a quiet private area, which will help eliminate distractions and help my students concentrate. My classroom teacher will quietly inform the four chosen students that they will be working with me and I will take them to the available room for the entire lesson. 2. I will provide students with all materials needed. 3. The four students may disrupt other students as they transition from their original classroom to the classroom that I will be teaching them in. I can ask the students to not talk during the transition. The classroom may be too big. Students may choose to sit very far away from each other even though there are only four students. I can ask students to all sit in the front row, so that they hear me and each other during our discussions. Plan 1) The hook (12 minutes) Who has played charades before? I will pick a student to explain to the group what charades are (if none of the students has knowledge about the game, I will explain what charades are)

10 I will write down the rules of the game on the board. I will hand out the rules of charades. (I agree with Nancy; this will save time and eliminate the problem that will arise if I do not have access to a board to write on.) I will act out an emotion (sad) and ask the students to guess what emotion I am feeling and to provide evidence to support their guesses. I will give each student a turn to be the actor while the remaining three students make guesses and provide evidence. Who knows what an inference is? How did you know that I was sad? What helped you figure it out? What clues did you use? I will pick a student to explain to the group what an inference is (if none of the students know, I will explain what an inference is) This is called making an inference and we also do this when we read. Can someone explain how to make an inference when reading? (I agree with Nancys suggestion; I believe that these questions will make the relationship between the game of charades and inferences clearer to the students.) How is playing charades related to making inferences?

2) The body of the lesson (28 minutes) I will hand each student a piece of paper. I will tell each student to divide his or her paper into three columns. I will ask students to label the columns: Background Knowledge, Text Clues, and Inference. I will tell the students that Tree of Hope is set during the Great Depression. Does anyone know anything about the Great Depression?

11 I will tell them that the Great Depression was roughly from 1929-1939. It was a period of time when many Americans were unemployed and struggling to make ends meet. (I agree with Nancy. There is a possibility that the students do not know about the Great Depression, so giving the students historical context will make it easier for them to use background knowledge to make inferences.) I will read aloud Tree of Hope and model the inference strategy two times with a think aloud. o When I read, Florries daddy and mama named her after the great actress Miss Florence Mills, I will explain how I know from personal experience that parents may name their children after people who they admire or respect. For example, my parents named me after Sarah in the Bible because they admired her qualities. I will then model how I connect this background knowledge with the text clues to come up with the inference that Florries parents probably really admire Florence Mills. I will also fill out the three columns in front of the students. o When I read, For he was an actor himself in the old days, those golden days when the Lafayette Theatre up in Harlem was a glittering palace and the ladies in their cutaway shoes and the men in their silk toppers came to catch a show, I will explain that I know that was is the past tense of is and that was refers to something in the past. I will then model how I connect this background knowledge with the text clues to come up with the inference that Florries daddy is probably no longer an actor and the Lafayette Theatre is not as popular as it was in the golden days. I will also fill out the three columns in front of the students.

12 Does anyone have any questions about this inference strategy of using background knowledge and textual clues to come up with an inference? I will then invite students to participate in using the inference strategy at various points in the book. For each of the questions below I will be listening for students using background knowledge and text clues to come up with the answer to my question. I will then ask them to share their findings with me by specifying what goes in each of the three columns. o When I read, Then one night, a pretty young woman handed him up a red, red, rose, I will ask the students to discuss among themselves who they think this young woman is and why they think this. o When I read, Newspapers shouted HARD TIMES! and folks, especially in Harlem, werent thinking about going to plays, I will ask the students to discuss among themselves why they think people were no longer thinking about going to plays. o When I read, Men and women in threadbare coats stood in long linestwice as long as anyplace elsejust for a free potato, I will ask the students to discuss among themselves why they think people would be willing to wait so long just for a potato. o When I read, Been wishin on that tree again, huh? Mama scolded when they got home late, I will ask the students to discuss among themselves why they think Mama was unhappy at them. o When I read, But some folks in Harlem were angry, I will ask the students to discuss among themselves why they think people in Harlem were angry. When I

13 read, Daddyd get quiet when he heard such talk, I will ask the students to discuss among themselves why they think Florries dad got quiet. (When I was practicing my lesson, I realized that I had trouble coming up with an inference for the original prompt, so I changed it to this prompt.) I will ask students to read the remainder of the book by themselves and fill out the three columns whenever they see the opportunity to make an inference. I will first point to a particular place in the text where I want them to make an inference independently before they look for other places. (I agree with Nancy; this will help students get started making inferences by themselves.) 3) Closure (5 minutes) I will ask each student to share two one of his or her inferences to the group. If there is time, each student can share another inference. (I agree with Nancy; this will save time.) I will explain how this inference strategy can be used with all texts including poems and nonfiction. What was it like to make these inferences? How did making inferences impact your reading of this story? What did you learn by making inferences? How did this help you in understanding the story? (I agree with Nancys suggestion. These last few questions will hopefully help students realize that inferences helped them understand the story.) Does anyone have any remaining questions?

Assessment of the goals/objectives listed above

14 I will listen to the group discussion during the guided reading portion of the lesson and collect each students paper with the three columns to assess students. I will gather evidence from the group discussion by taking notes on what students say during the discussion and I will ask that each student hand me his or her paper before leaving the classroom. For the data that I gather from the group discussion, I will examine if a student participates in the discussion, if the things discussed follow the inferring equation (Background Knowledge + Text Clues = Inference), and if logical inferences are made. If all students participate, the inferring equation is followed, and logical inferences are made, then I know that I have made progress toward my goal. For the data that I collect from their written work, I will check if students followed the inferring equation and if they came up with logical inferences. This will help me determine if I made progress toward my goal. Anticipating students responses and your possible responses a) Management issues 1. Students may not pay attention during the think aloud. I can monitor if students are paying attention to me during the think aloud and ask students questions if they look like they are not paying attention. For example, I can ask the student what background knowledge I applied to get to the inference. 2. Students may not want to participate in the charades activity. For students who do not want to participate in the charades activity, I can ask them, How can I make this activity more fun for you? and then change some aspects of the activity so that it would engage the students more. I can also allow them to say pass. (Nancy made me realize that some students may be uncomfortable participating in the activity and I should not force them to do something that they are uncomfortable with.)

15 3. The group may get off topic when I ask them to discuss the answer to the assigned question. When I notice that the group is starting to get off topic, I can guide them back on topic with questions such as What textual clues did you find to support your inference? 4. Some students may not want to complete the assignment of finishing the book independently while filling out the three columns. I can offer them incentive for completing the assignment by explaining how using this strategy can help them make inferences and then explaining how making inferences can help them better understand and enjoy texts that they read. b) Response to content of the lesson 1. Some students may find Tree of Hope boring to read. I can bring a variety of other texts to class just in case the students find Tree of Hope boring, so the students have the option of picking another text to work with. 2. Some students may ask why making inferences is important. I would explain that inferences help us read in between the lines, so that we can understand the text on a deeper level. 3. Some students may find making inferences with Tree of Hope too hard or too easy. See below for accommodations. Accommodations a) For students who may find the material too challenging, I can work with them individually while others are independently finishing Tree of Hope. b) For students who may need greater challenge, I can give them a more difficult text to work with. (Tree of Hope is a picture book. I can provide this student with a chapter book or poem

16 instead.) For students who finish early, I will first ask them if they found the material too easy. If they say yes, I will provide them with a more difficult text to work with. If they say no, I will provide them with another text that is on the same difficulty level as Tree of Hope to work with.

Observations of Student Learning

(The last line of each column is what the students came up with as their final answer.)

Nancy Levitts Notes Observations 17 Thoughts, Suggestions and Questions

Has anyone ever played charades. 11:10 Has child explain Says guess what you are Hands out rules of the modified version. Students read rules Students asked some questions about nouns. Look up when you are done. Im going to act out an emotion. Kids say crying sad. What made you think that Child said because you were crying. First student Scratching. Student: monkey So what made you think that Kids scratching How is that related to a monkey? Child explain a monkey scratches Boy #2 Gives an idea Kids shout out cat, dog Miriam: I was smashing something. What made you think that she was smashing something. What clues did you use? Sniffing This is what making an inference is Child said it might say they covered their nose
Putting pieces together Child-Why are we playing charades Because you have to make an inference We are using different actions to pick up on those clues Its called background knowledge + text clues + inference Kids make this sheet and labels columns. Gave instructions as to where to write the labels. 11:24 Reads Tree of Hope Asks if anyone knows about the depression I am taking a guess I don;t think it is slave so after the slavery still when people were still racist There was some racism but that was not

It seems like they had a hard time picking what to act out. Can you think of ways to make this easier?

Observations

The main factor. Everyone was worried about getting a job and getting food on the table Starts reading about main characters name, I immediately think about naming, I was named after Sarah in the bible, thinking about this I come to the inference that her parents admired Miss Florence Mills. Anyone know what background knowledge I used? Wrote this down on the board So when I come to this sentence I noticed the author switches to the past tense, and the text clue he was an actor, leads me to believe he is no longer an actor and the theater is probably not there anymore or not popular Can anyone recalls the background knowledge and text clue and inference Child said- not that popular now Student fill in their charts, Sarah writes it on the board. 11:39 Any questions about this strategy. Child says Text clue is what the book exactly says and inference is what you think
Now it will be more active Discuss as a group who you think this young women is Fill in the background knowledge So I think that the BK is what you know so far We have to think of who t Maybe it is an ex I think the lady who handed him a rose could be his ex wife, or ex girlfriend Wouldnt this be an inference So what do we know Hannah: could be Miss Florence Mills, kids argue that she was an actress We know this lady hands him a rose. Is probably his mother or ex See daddy met Mama that means it was her MOm. This is his Mom. This is what I am writing for text clue daddy met Mom at the Lafayette theater Other child says mystery women, BK is taking what you know and

18 Thoughts, Suggestions and Questions Provides background knowledge about the depression.

Might help to post this question on the board.

Observations

Know and what you learned Is this a flashback We know it is a flashback. Reads the part of the text. For inferences no right or wrong as long as you can back it up. We know flashbacks are important. Is a text clue a flashback 11:47 Brings them back to filling in the chart Read BK says more of a text clue To clarify text clues is written in the text, background knowledge is what you know from prior experience. I think the red, red rose is a clue So summarywhat was your BK It was a flashback when Dad met her Mom and handed a red red rose text clue handed a red rose To Florence. Dad may have worked with his mom. Did you use this BK and text clues I think the red rose Remember the original question who might this women be What is the answer -the mom Background of the flashback And at the Lafayette theater. Do we all agree. We dont know if that was the mom giving the red rose. Maybe he met this girl first. Someone want to write it on the board Miriam writes on the board 11:57 I just want to clarify, lets look closely at the text, that is contradicted by the text, we know that he met Mama at the Lafayette If is is written in the text it is not an inference.
Remember the question was who gave the red rose. So are you trying to say the mom or strange women. I think it is mama cause in the text it says Daddy met Mama at the Lafayette. Child re writes on the board.

19 Thoughts, Suggestions and Questions Is this the type of conversation you were hoping for among the students?

Sarah mentions how the lesson took more time then expected and decides how to wrap up what was done so far so students can get back to the class For reflection how could this lesson of moved quicker? What could you have done differently?

Where were students getting confused what was hard for them?

Observations

12:03 Who can tell what BK is What you know. What did you put What are text clues Clues from the text So what did you guys put, so in the text it say What is an inference, We think either mama or strange gave hime the rose Takes the post it off, so that was your Mama Before I let you go
In a couple sentences what is BK, text clues and what is an inference Last question how can you use this strategy.

20 Thoughts, Suggestions and Questions Why did you decide to ask these questions?

This will give you insight into what they understood about this strategy in terms of what each of these elements are. And your final question provides insight into how they could use it.

Gives them the name and a photocopy of the book Type to enter text

Type to enter text

21

Lesson Analysis
I was surprised by how often I had to deviate from my lesson plan and make decisions on the spot because there were many things that I had not accounted for while I was writing the Classroom arrangement and management issues, Anticipating students responses and your possible responses, and Accommodations parts of the lesson plan. Right at the start of the lesson, one of the four students showed up rather late and I did not know what to do with the three students who showed up on time. I ended up deciding to not start the lesson until the final student arrived so that she would not be behind everyone else. I was not exactly sure why she came so late, but a possible reason might have been that she did not want to participate in my lesson. If this were the reason, she would probably be even more reluctant to be a part of my lesson had I not waited for her. She probably would also have missed part of the hook of the lesson (the charades part), which I thought would be the most fun part of the lesson and an opportunity to make her excited about the lesson. When I asked the students to divide the sheet of paper that I handed them into three sections and to label the three sections background knowledge, text clues, and inference, one of the students took a lot longer than the other students to accomplish this task. He actually counted up all of the lines in the paper and tried to divide it by three. I was not sure if he was trying to be funny or if he just wanted his three sections to be perfectly divided. I wanted the group to move on to the next part of the lesson, but that was not possible until he was done folding his paper. I also did not want to accuse him of wasting time especially if he was genuinely concerned about his paper being folded perfectly, so eventually I decided to ask him nicely if he wanted me to fold his paper for him. He said yes without hesitation.

22 I later told the students that Tree of Hope, the book that we were going to read, was set during the Great Depression and I asked if any of them knew what that was. Students started to make guesses about the Great Depression based on the cover of the book. This was not the original purpose of the question. I just wanted students who actually knew about the Great Depression to share their knowledge and then to quickly move on to the reading of the book. Students started bringing up slavery and racism because there was a black girl on the front of the cover. I had to somehow stop this off topic conversation and steer it back to what the Great Depression actually was. The conversation was taking up too much time, but I did not want to blatantly tell the students that they were wrong because they were using good reading practice by using the cover of the book to make inferences. I ended up telling them Not quite, and then proceeding to them about the Great Depression. I deliberately picked the words not quite because I did not want to completely discredit their answers since I thought that their inferences had some merit even though their conclusions were incorrect. I modeled the inference strategy with the Florries daddy and mama named her after the great actress Miss Florence Mills example. Originally, I was just going to write the background knowledge, text clues, and inference categories on the board after I explained what each one was in relation to the example that I just told them about, but then I decided to ask the students to repeat the background knowledge, text clues, and inference that I just told them. I wanted to make sure that they were paying attention to me. I was surprised when they struggled with this task. I then wrote everything on the board and told them to copy it down. One of the students took a really long time copying the information down, but I did not want to proceed until he was done even though all of the other students had finished a while ago. I made this decision because I remembered how I always feel really stressed out when a teacher does not give me enough time

23 to copy the information down and I did not want him to feel stressed out or rushed during the lesson. Later I asked students to guess who the pretty young women who gave the red, red rose was. I wanted to students to work as a group to figure this out using the inference strategy. I was originally not going to intervene, but I decided that I had to when some students told other students that the inferences that they made were wrong. I had to correct this misconception, so I told the students that there was no right or wrong answer for making an inference because an inference is in a sense just an educated guess that is supported by evidence in the text. The purpose of this intervention was also to give the students who were told that their inferences were wrong more confidence. I did not want them to change their inferences just because another peer told them that their inferences were incorrect especially if they had evidence to back up their inferences. I was also very surprised by the fact that I did not even get through half of my lesson plan. I only got to the first point in the book where I wanted the students to work as a group to come up with an inference using the background knowledge and text clues strategy because the students took longer coming up with the background knowledge, text clues, and inference than I had anticipated. I never accounted for the possibility that students would get confused between the three categories when I was writing the lesson plan. I had only written down accommodations for the scenario where only one or two students found the material too challenging. My plan was to just work with these students individually while everyone else worked independently, but I had never thought that all of the students would find the material too challenging. I ended up having to wrap up the lesson rather abruptly because their teacher needed them for the class debate and I had ran overtime. (The lesson was only supposed to be a

24 maximum of forty-five minutes, but it ran to a little over an hour.) I decided to wrap up the lesson by asking the students to define background knowledge, text clues, and inference with one sentence each. I then asked them to answer how to use background knowledge and text clues to come up with an inference. I thought that this was the best method to gather written evidence on how much each student had taken away from the lesson. Other students responses to my lesson also surprised me. None of the students really wanted to participate in the charades activity, even though I had thought that they would have been excited to play the game. Three of the four students still ended up participating, but I am not sure if I had indirectly forced them to participate. Also, when I initially asked the students to work as a group to discuss the answer to my question, it was difficult to get them to talk to one another instead of talking to me. The students were all talking to me one at a time instead of talking to each other. The initial goal of the lesson was for students to be able to combine background knowledge and text clues to make inferences. This goal was not met because most of the students mixed up background knowledge, text clues, and inferences during the group work. For example, one student wrote, When Florries dad met her mom, he was handed a red rose as background knowledge even though it was a text clue. Students were also debating whether flashback would go under background knowledge or text clues. Students also seemed to have some general confusion about inferences. Three of the students wrote down that Daddy might have met Florries mom at the Lafayette as their inference even though the text directly stated that Daddy did meet Florries mom at the Lafayette. The confusion among the three categories and about inferences made it difficult to understand how to use the strategy. When I asked students to write

25 down how to use background knowledge and text clues to come up with an inference, none of the students wrote down the correct answer and one student did not even answer the question. However, based on the students written responses, I think that three of the students (Hannah, Donald, and Shamir) now have a basic idea of what background knowledge, text clues, and inferences are while the fourth student (Maryam) now has a thorough understanding of the three and is the closest to understanding how to use the inference strategy that I was trying to teach them. When I asked each student to define background knowledge, text clues, and inference with one sentence each, all students were able to give responses that were basically correct. I also think that two of the four students now have a rudimentary understanding of the inference strategy because they made the connection that background knowledge and text clues help make inferences in their written responses. Maryam gave the most detailed responses. She wrote, I think that background knowledge is what you take from what you already know and already have learned, and put it with the text to make a fact in the story. It is clear that she understands that background knowledge is something that one already knows before reading the text. She also begins to make the connection between background knowledge, text clues, and inference in her definition of background knowledge by writing, and put it with the text to make a fact in the story. Although an inference is not exactly a fact because a fact is something that definitely is true. However, I do not believe that Maryam actually thinks that an inference is the same as a fact because in her definition of inference she wrote, An inference is what you think about the story that may or may not be true. This indicates that she knows that an inference is not always true. In her definition of text clues, she wrote, I think text clues are what the text says directly

26 without having to make an inference because its already right there for you. It is very clear that she understands that text clues are clues explicitly found in the text. In contrast, Hannah and Shamir both wrote, Background knowledge is what you know. This response tells me that they know that background knowledge is something that the readers know, but it does not tell me that they know that background knowledge is something the reader already knows before even looking at the text. Donald wrote, Background knowledge is what you know from the story. This shows me that he is still a bit confused about the difference between text clue and background knowledge. All three students basically wrote that text clues were clues that came directly from the text, which shows that they understand what text clues are. All three also basically wrote that inferences are what you think, which shows that they have a basic understanding of what an inference is.

Response to Observer Notes/Comments on My Lesson Observations 27 Thoughts, Suggestions and Questions

Has anyone ever played charades. 11:10 Has child explain Says guess what you are Hands out rules of the modified version. Students read rules Students asked some questions about nouns. Look up when you are done. Im going to act out an emotion. Kids say crying sad. What made you think that Child said because you were crying. First student Scratching. Student: monkey So what made you think that Kids scratching How is that related to a monkey? Child explain a monkey scratches Boy #2 Gives an idea Kids shout out cat, dog Miriam: I was smashing something. What made you think that she was smashing something. What clues did you use? Sniffing This is what making an inference is Child said it might say they covered their nose
Putting pieces together Child-Why are we playing charades Because you have to make an inference We are using different actions to pick up on those clues Its called background knowledge + text clues + inference Kids make this sheet and labels columns. Gave instructions as to where to write the labels. 11:24 Reads Tree of Hope Asks if anyone knows about the depression I am taking a guess I don;t think it is slave so after the slavery still when people were still racist There was some racism but that was not

It seems like they had a hard time picking what to act out. Can you think of ways to make this easier? I think that I should have put prewritten nouns into a plastic bag for the students to pick and given the students the option to pick a different noun if they did not want to act out the one that they initially picked. Alternatively, I could have also just told each student what to act out.

Observations

The main factor. Everyone was worried about getting a job and getting food on the table Starts reading about main characters name, I immediately think about naming, I was named after Sarah in the bible, thinking about this I come to the inference that her parents admired Miss Florence Mills. Anyone know what background knowledge I used? Wrote this down on the board So when I come to this sentence I noticed the author switches to the past tense, and the text clue he was an actor, leads me to believe he is no longer an actor and the theater is probably not there anymore or not popular Can anyone recalls the background knowledge and text clue and inference Child said- not that popular now Student fill in their charts, Sarah writes it on the board. 11:39 Any questions about this strategy. Child says Text clue is what the book exactly says and inference is what you think
Now it will be more active Discuss as a group who you think this young women is Fill in the background knowledge So I think that the BK is what you know so far We have to think of who t Maybe it is an ex I think the lady who handed him a rose could be his ex wife, or ex girlfriend Wouldnt this be an inference So what do we know Hannah: could be Miss Florence Mills, kids argue that she was an actress We know this lady hands him a rose. Is probably his mother or ex See daddy met Mama that means it was her MOm. This is his Mom. This is what I am writing for text clue daddy met Mom at the Lafayette theater Other child says mystery women, BK is taking what you know and

28 Thoughts, Suggestions and Questions Provides background knowledge about the depression.

Might help to post this question on the board. I agree. I should have written this question out on the board because the students ended up coming up with an inference that did not address my initial question. This may have happened because they forgot what the initial question was.

Observations

Know and what you learned Is this a flashback We know it is a flashback. Reads the part of the text. For inferences no right or wrong as long as you can back it up. We know flashbacks are important. Is a text clue a flashback 11:47 Brings them back to filling in the chart Read BK says more of a text clue To clarify text clues is written in the text, background knowledge is what you know from prior experience. I think the red, red rose is a clue So summarywhat was your BK It was a flashback when Dad met her Mom and handed a red red rose text clue handed a red rose To Florence. Dad may have worked with his mom. Did you use this BK and text clues I think the red rose Remember the original question who might this women be What is the answer -the mom Background of the flashback And at the Lafayette theater. Do we all agree. We dont know if that was the mom giving the red rose. Maybe he met this girl first. Someone want to write it on the board Miriam writes on the board 11:57 I just want to clarify, lets look closely at the text, that is contradicted by the text, we know that he met Mama at the Lafayette If is is written in the text it is not an inference.
Remember the question was who gave the red rose. So are you trying to say the mom or strange women. I think it is mama cause in the text it says Daddy met Mama at the Lafayette. Child re writes on the board.

29 Thoughts, Suggestions and Questions Is this the type of conversation you were hoping for among the students? No, but I think I know why the students came up with the idea of a flashback. They are currently talking about flashbacks in their class and it is nice that they are trying to apply something that they learned in class to my lesson. However, I was hoping that the students would come up with text clues that were quotes that came directly from the text and background knowledge that was more concrete. I should have pushed the students to elaborate on what background knowledge they were using to come to a conclusion that it was a flashback.

Sarah mentions how the lesson took more time then expected and decides how to wrap up what was done so far so students can get back to the class For reflection how could this lesson of moved quicker? What could you have done differently? These questions are addressed in the Reflection & Planning part of the paper. Where were students getting confused what was hard for them? Students seem to be getting confused between background knowledge, text clues, and inferences. It was hard for them to classify what was a text clue, what was background knowledge, and what was an inference. I should have clarified by writing the definitions on the board. I should also have written down the initial question, so that they would have remembered that their inference should address the question.

Observations

12:03 Who can tell what BK is What you know. What did you put What are text clues Clues from the text So what did you guys put, so in the text it say What is an inference, We think either mama or strange gave hime the rose Takes the post it off, so that was your Mama Before I let you go
In a couple sentences what is BK, text clues and what is an inference Last question how can you use this strategy.

30 Thoughts, Suggestions and Questions Why did you decide to ask these questions? I decided to ask these questions because I wanted to see how well the students understood each category and I wanted to clarify any misunderstandings.

This will give you insight into what they understood about this strategy in terms of what each of these elements are. And your final question provides insight into how they could use it.

Gives them the name and a photocopy of the book

31

Reflection & Planning


I think that an appropriate follow up lesson would be to redo this lesson after doing a series of separate mini lessons on background knowledge, text clues, and inferences. Based on the students written responses, I think there is still room to improve three of the four students understanding of what background knowledge, text clues, and inferences are. I also believe that it is important to keep these three mini lessons separate to avoid the confusion that arose in my initial lesson. In each mini lesson, I would provide a definition and ample opportunities for students to identify the category in discussion. For example, in the mini lesson on background knowledge, I would have students identify their background knowledge at specific places in the text. Once the students have mastery on what background knowledge, text clues, and inferences are, I will redo the lesson on the inference strategy. If I were to teach this lesson again, I would change several things to save time, so that the students actually have the opportunity to work in a group on more than one example and the opportunity to work on using the strategy independently. Students took a long time coming up with a noun to act out for the charades activity, so next time I will have prewritten nouns for the students to pick. Students also took longer than I anticipated to fold their papers into three sections and to label those sections. Next time, I will have premade worksheets that already have those three sections labeled. One student in particular took a long time to copy the examples that I had written on the board. In the initial lesson, I had waited for him to finish before proceeding, but I think that I should have just announced in the beginning of the lesson that it was okay to not have everything on the board copied down and that they could always copy it down after the lesson was over. I would then make sure to not erase anything that I had written on the board.

32 To avoid the confusion between background knowledge, text clues, and inferences, I should have written down the precise definitions on the board. I also liked Nancys suggestion of incorporating the charades activity into the strategy and of cutting out strips for each example in the text. Next time, after each student acts out a noun for the charades activity, I will have the other students identify the background knowledge and text clues that they used to come up with their inference (the noun that the student was acting out) and then to write out each category on the board. Furthermore, for each example in the text, I will include one strip for background knowledge, one strip for text clue, and one strip for inference and have the students put the strips in the correct categories. Once the students are comfortable distinguishing among the three categories, I will start to have them come up with inferences as a group without the strips. I will also make sure to give each person a copy of the text. I think part of the reason why some of the inferences made contradicted what was written in the text was that I only gave them one text to share. If each student had a copy, it would be easier to tell when someones inference contradicts the text.