Sunday, January 22, 2012

What’s in My Teacher’s Bag {Making Inferences}

First of all, what is is about returning from Christmas break that just makes that lightbulb turn on in my firsties’ sweet little minds?!  I don’t know if it’s them or me, but they came back from the holidays with their game faces on!  I love it!  We’re *finally* getting through almost everything in my lesson plans, which makes me feel like a super teacher (…for the first time in months!). 

Anyway, when I introduced making inferences a couple weeks ago, I started with a little lesson involving the contents of the ridiculously large bag I tote back and forth to school every day.  {This is not a new lesson - my teaching friend did this with her “trash” last year.}

After defining inferencing to my kiddos, I showed them my bag and began to pull out its contents.  I explained that they were going to make inferences about me based on what was inside.  This was a great way to kick off our weekly skill, and they did a great job with it.


Next, I gave my pumpkins a little follow-up writing activity where they drew 2 pictures of things I had in my bag, along with what they could infer about me.


Alternately, you can do this activity by letting your students sort through you “trash.”  You can download copies of these inferencing activities by clicking the pictures below (both documents are included):


{ETA:  Camille let me know that my lesson is an adaptation of an idea from Tanny MacGregor, the author of Comprehension Connections: Bridges to Strategic Reading.  I haven't read this book before, but just wanted to make sure I acknowledged her creativity!}

A great follow-up to a week of learning about inferences is The Inferencing Investigation.  I did this activity with my kiddos last year, so you can read all about it HERE.  It also includes another free printable.   Admittedly, we haven’t got to it yet this year, but I still plan to do it!

* * * * *
Unrelatedly, thanks so much for your sweet words on my last post.  So. Not. Necessary!  I know that bad teaching weeks are just par for the course, but it bears mentioning that they do happen.  And when they do, you just have to do lots and lots of yoga breaths and maybe have a glass of wine.  Or two ;)  However, I’m one of those people that copes with my problems by talking through them (shocking, I know), so it’s difficult to have this blog and not talk about them!   Anyway, y’all are the best.  Hands down. 

Have a great week!  {I can’t believe tomorrow is already Monday!}


Allyson said...

What a cute idea! I love that you used what you had on hand, and your chart is too cute!


Danielle said...

What a GREAT activity thanks for sharing!

Gladys said...

Love your cute! I did the Snow Case Files last year and it was such a hit...I plan on doing it again this year!


Anonymous said...

Love this idea! Doing it with my class tomorrow! Thanks!

Booky4First said...

So great--and just what I needed. I am sitting here trying to figure out how to incorporate inferencing with our next unit on inventors.

Elisabeth said...

Thanks for sharing!! LOVE IT! :)

You are the best!


Traci said...

Love this! Thanks.
Dragonflies in First

Kristin said...

This is such a great idea! Thank you for sharing!
A Teeny Tiny Teacher

Michaela said...

cute bag! Love your ideas. Hope this week is better for you than last. We all have those weeks, it's nice that we can all relate and support each other. :)


Camille said...

I love your chart. Just wanted to make sure that you are aware the trash and bag ideas came from the book Comprehension Connections by Tanny MacGregor. It is an awesome book in which Tanny creates many concrete beginning lessons for each reading strategy. Here is a link to her book on Amazon:

An Open Door

Miss Foote said...

Love this! I have done it with the "neighbor's garbage" before and had kids come up with inferences about my (fictional) new neighbors. So fun!

Chickadee Jubilee

Abby said...

@ Camille - I didn't know that! I'll have to check her book out. Thanks!

~Jessica Hubble~ said...

You ALWAYS ***ROCKSTAR*** it out Mrs. Abby!!!
Another FAB lesson!

I always look forward to your post...and I am NEVER disappointed :)

I just started my new blog a week ago...all you amazing bloggers inspired me to put myself out there!

I hope you can stop by my blog when you get a chance!

Reagan Tunstall said...

Thanks for the cute freebie! :) BTW, Your bag is super cute! Even bigger than my yellow bird! (my current bag o' choice)
Hope it's rainbows, unitards, and unicorns...

Mrs. S. said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I am doing this tomorrow morning!! AWESOME! You ROCK! :D


Stapler’s Strategies for Sizzlin' Second Graders!

Emily said...

What a great idea!! I love the inference about your diet coke ("you drank it all")...haha!!

Erika said...

I might have to clean my purse out a bit before doing this great activity. I'm afraid what I might pull out! :)

2B Honey Bunch
The Best Endings

Meridith said...

Love this idea! I am going to do this activity this week to help with my unit on drawing conclusions!
I hear you on the bad teaching week. Mine was this week. I hope the lightbulbs come on this week for me... I am afraid for this group of babies.

Mrs. Saoud said...

Comprehension Connections is the BEST book! It is worth the buy and read. A group of teachers at my school have worked on a book study using her strategies. You'll love the creativity she inspires!

Primary Graffiti

Heather's Heart said...

Abby, the book Camille is talking about it great! I have done the trash lesson from there modified a little. The book has a concrete object for each strategy.

As always, your anchor charts ROCK!

Hop over to my blog for a Vowel Munchers *freebie*! The Love Monsters clip art is adorable!

Heather's Heart

Lyndsey said...

Hi Abby,

Oh my goodness! I absolutely adore you and your blog. You are always full of such amazing ideas.

I LOVE Tanny McGregor's book, "Comprehension Connections." I actually posted a topic about it a few monthgs ago all about making inferences and questioning. She is PHENOMENAL! In her book, she also offers an awesome "recipe" for making inferences.

Check out the link to my post:

You rock...and you continue to inspire us all!!!

Lisa at Stories From Second said...

We have the same teacher bag! :)
We are doing inferences again this unit, and I've already done inferencing with my neighbor's trash (from Comprehension Connections), so I can't wait to do this activity with my kids! Thanks so much for sharing the printables!
Stories From Second

ksteacher81 said...

Thanks for the great idea! I plan on using this and the No David inferencing activity from First Grade Parade this week.

Primary Paradise said...

Thanks so much Abby for the freebie. I'm going to check out the book Comprehension Connections too.

Sara said...

Love, love, love that idea! I've been trying to figure out how to get this concept across to my kiddos and this is PERFECT! Thanks!

Kindergarten Is A Hoot

Shauna said...

Love your ideas! Thanks for sharing! Where did you get that rockin' bag?

LovelyNB said...

Thanks for sharing your wonderful ideas--I love it!

Team Carroll said...

Doing this TOMORROW!!! I love, love, LOVE it!!! Thanks for the printables!! My kids will LOVE this!!! Love ya, girl!

Cara :)

Patricia said...

Abby, this is so adorable! Thanks for sharing; can't wait to use it!

Have a great week!

primary practice

Jodi said...

This is such a great and simple idea. I love the chart! You are so talented at taking such a difficult concept {inferencing} and adapting it for first graders. I will definitely be doing this lesson!!! :)

Fun In First

Jen R. (The Teachers' Cauldron) said...

I love doing that activity! Though, I've usually done a brown lunch sack with 3 things in it...but your anchor charts are always so flippin' cute!!

♥ Jen
The Teachers' Cauldron

Christine said...

Isn't it great when things start rolling after break?!? I have been telling myself to just wait until January and the day will start moving. Thank you for sharing you days and your struggles. I find myself nodding my head and saying "Amen, sister!"


Hopping into First Grade

Sandra Guntorius said...

I just loved this idea, I did it with my kiddos the next day. It was awesome.
Hope you don't mind I blogged about it and linked it back to you.

Lauren Morse said...

I purchased your inferencing pack just last week. I'm in the process of making my case files to use this Friday. I can't wait to try it out. Thanks for all the great ideas!

Thea said...

Adorable idea and I really love your bag. Is that a thirtyone bag?

I am going to use this tomorrow. We are doing inferences this week, and I know my class will love it!

Mrs. Secrist said...

Where is that cute bag from?!

Jaimie said...

Fabulous idea, I haven't done this! Can't wait to try it, thanks!!

Jacy said...

LOVE your Thirty-One large utility tote!!! Selling Thirty-One just paid off my entire grad school!! Whoop whoop!! And I'm totally doing the what's in the teachers bag idea since I'm the official "bag lady" at school- lol! Thanks for another fabulous idea!! You are too awesome!

Michelle said...

I love this activity! I haven't read that book either, but now I want to add it to my "need to read" list.


Mrs. Steinmann's Grade 1 said...

Hi Abby,
Thanks for the inspiration. My school is focusing on teaching inferring and I've been slacking a bit... after reading your post I was inspired to do the "purse lesson". I blogged about it and gave you kudos.
I also purchased your Snow Day investigation unit. What is on for my Saturday??? Taking my two sweet girls out for lunch and a movie so that I can gather evidence! (While I really should be working on my report cards!)
Thanks again

Mrs. Mason said...

I saw this idea here and did it with my class! They absolutely LOVED it! Im new to this blogging thing and really like your blog and activities!

Leslie Ann said...

I did this with my kids today and it went perfectly! I just blogged about if you want to check it out :) You're just beyond creative girl! Love, love, love it! :)

Andrea said...

Great idea and cute bag!! Can't wait to try this out! Also, I'm your newest follower!

Cheers to School

Jo said...

My Year 4's even loved this activity! Thanks for sharing :)

Anonymous said...

Mrs. Mullins should learn how to spell "license"

Mandy Low said...

Hi Abby
Thanks for the wonderful idea! I am a special education therapist from Singapore. Just used your idea to teach the concept of inference to my group of children with autism. They enjoyed it although it was very hard for them. Getting lots of inspirations from the site for my following lessons.

Natalie Tanner said...

Great idea for making a tough abstract skill more concrete for children. LOVE!

I use a lot of teacher ideas on my website where I write about traveling with kids. It is so important for keeping skills up while on the road, right? :)

I'm going to link this to my website and I would love a shout out from you!

Natalie, The Educational Tourist

Natalie Tanner said...

Great idea for making a tough abstract skill more concrete for children. LOVE!

I use a lot of teacher ideas on my website where I write about traveling with kids. It is so important for keeping skills up while on the road, right? :)

I'm going to link this to my website and I would love a shout out from you!

Natalie, The Educational Tourist

Natalie Tanner said...

Great idea for making a tough abstract skill more concrete for children. LOVE!

I use a lot of teacher ideas on my website where I write about traveling with kids. It is so important for keeping skills up while on the road, right? :)

I'm going to link this to my website and I would love a shout out from you!

Natalie, The Educational Tourist