Sorting It All Out

Thursday, January 11, 2018
from your Curly pal, Lori

Welcome to your spring semester, friends! It's that time of year where things are new again. We've tidied our spaces, freshened up our seating charts, sharpened pencils, and cleaned out that drawer we promised ourselves we wouldn't junk up again. How ya doin' on that one, homie?
Inference Sort with Answer Page
In interventions, doing the activity with no answer page
allows kids to practice w/o penalty

It's also the time of year where we begin to kick our interventions into high gear. Without asking you to sift through mounds of data, I'm excited to share a great strategy with you that works well in your regular instruction or in an intervention setting. Most students who struggle in reading struggle with inferencing. It's not difficult to pull that idea from any of your data, regardless of the genre.

At my school and across multiple grade levels, we are huge fans of INFERENCE SORTS. This strategy is simple enough and can be used cross-genre with very low prep and a high impact on student learning. 

I'll tell you how to make one, but you can also click here to get your own copy of a sort that I've made for an expository text. If you want to use this particular one you'll need the text titled "The Spider Man Behind Spider-Man" by Bijal P. Trivedi. (When you click the link, it should ask if you want to make a copy. Click YES. Then it's all yours.)

Here's how to prep for an inference sort:
  • To begin, take any text of any length. A shorter text works better for an intervention where you would likely have less time than a regular instructional block. 
    • Or...use this as a pre-teaching strategy for a difficult text that you know readers may struggle with in regular instruction. Help give them a leg up on the next day's learning!
  • From that text, write several inferences that can be supported with details from the text. If you are a Texas teacher, use your STAAR stems for that particular genre and write statements the way they might actually be tested. 
  • In addition, write several statements that sound like inferences but actually cannot be supported in the text. 
  • Cut all of the statements into strips, and that's it!
Hand it over to kids:
  • Let students know that they will practice finding accurate support for inferences in a text. Sometimes, with kids who need intervention, this is half the battle. They need LOTS of practice supporting their ideas with evidence from the text. Also, you're welcome...I just wrote your objective for you!
  • Guide students through the text using an appropriate annotation strategy.
  • In pairs or small groups, ask students to sort the strips.
  • Anything that goes in the INFERENCE pile must be discussed and students should point to a place (or places) in the text that supports it. 
  • To close out your lesson, hand students a blank strip. Provide them with a detail from the text that small groups have not discussed, and ask them to write their own inference. 
We've done inference sorts with expository, fiction, and even poetry! It helps kids who don't read well the first time, who struggle to generate their own inferences as they read, and who really don't like to re-enter the text a second time. 

If you try my inference sort or one of your own, I'd love to hear how it goes! 

No comments