Monday, June 14, 2010

Inference lesson/poetry

This poem, Buying a Puppy, was in the 4th grade state standardized test (MCAS) one year. The open response question asked "What feelings does the speaker have throughout the poem?" In order to thoroughly answer that, the student would need to have the ability to infer characters feelings by identifying clues in the text .The poet does not come right out and tell us how the speaker feels. You are expected to infer.The students would also have to use their background knowledge about what it would be like to get a puppy. As you can see from the poster, I had the students locate the text based evidence. For example, the speaker (child in the poem) doesn't know why Pa wants a scrap of meat and an old towel. The leap is that the student has to understand that the poet is showing us the speaker (child in poem) is confused. Many fourth graders have a difficult time understanding that being confused is a feeling. Text based evidence for other feelings like feeling loved, happy or excited are also in the poem. This poem has many good example of show don't tell, a technique I try to get my students to use in their writing (personal narratives). Christine


  1. Great idea! I love how you used the sticky notes to really show the students the emotions. My students have a difficult time with this as well. It is always hard for 4th and 5th graders to infer. I think I might try the stickies!

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  2. This is great! I love the idea of using poetry to teach inferring. Perfect! I'm a new follower. You blog is loaded with so many great reading ideas! Thanks for sharing.

  3. I just found your blog and it's amazing! I love it as there's so many great ideas and the best part is-they're not for sale!!!!

  4. My third graders loved this poem and we had so much fun going through it point by point, looking at the figurative language, drawing conclusions and making inferrences. Thank you for posting!