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Explicit Instruction Inferences Lesson Plan

R05 S3C1-PO10: Make relevant inferences about text supported by evidence.
SWBAT demonstrate their understanding of inferences by using text evidence and their own
experiences according to AZ standard Grade 5 S3C1 PO10 4 out of 5 times by inferring
information with guiding questions from small pieces of text.

Student-friendly objective:
SWBAT make inferences by using text evidence and their own experience to correctly answer
questions about a text 4 out of 5 times.

Opening (Anticipatory Set, Connection to Big Goal, Introduce Objective, Expectations)

Anticipatory Set
Show picture of bank robber.
Think-Pair-Share: What happened?

Share out:
What happened? (he robbed a bank)
Did I tell you that? (No)
How do you know? (he’s wearing a mask, has a bag of money, looks like he’s running)
Okay, he’s wearing a mask, has money, he’s running away—SO WHAT? How do you KNOW he
robbed a bank? (get students to draw on their own experience—seeing a movie, for example—so
they make connection between evidence and experience)

What you just did was making and inference by combining evidence in the picture—the mask,
the money, the running man—and your own experience where you’ve seen bank robbers
You make inferences about your world every day.
Today we’ll learn how to make inferences when we read a text.

Connection to Big Goal

Both in real life and in text, we have to be able to use clues to draw conclusions about what is
going on. Smart people and smart readers know how to make inferences, and how to explain
their inferences, which pushes us closer to our Big Goal of being Ready Readers.

Go over the objective

1. Read the objective
- Give students 10 seconds to read it silently to themselves
- Have two students read objective to class
- Have students read it in pairs—partner with longer hair goes first

Great, now that we’ve READ the objective, let me tell you what I think it means.

2. Teacher states objective in her own words

This means that by the end of our lesson, you’re going to be able to use evidence and clues
from a text and put that together with your own prior knowledge and experiences to figure
out what’s going on, and you have to use that knowledge to answer 4/5 questions correctly.

3. Have students state objective in their own words (Think-Pair-Share)

If the principal walked in, what would you tell her we’re learning today?

Set expectations for behavior and achievement

Making inferences is one of the hardest and most important skills for readers because we have
to use clues from the text AND use our prior knowledge to answer questions. This supports our
Big Goal of being Ready Readers for the 6th grade. In order to master this skill today, we have
to follow our expectations:
1. Track the speaker with your eyes
2. Follow directions the first time
3. Participate and take risks

Positive and Negative Consequences/CFU

INM (Input, Modeling, Checks for Understanding, Directions)

1. Key Points
• We make INFERENCES when we use EVIDENCE and our own EXPERIENCE to draw a
• GOOD inferences rely on EVIDENCE and SMART THINKING.
• BAD inferences don’t rely on good evidence.

Now that we know what we’re learning today, let’s look at our key points—those big,
important ideas about inferences.

I’m going to read the first key point:

• We make INFERENCES when we use EVIDENCE and our own EXPERIENCE to draw a
Can you read that out loud with me? (all read together)

How about our second key point. When I say READ, I want you to take 10 seconds and read the
second key point silently to yourself.
• GOOD inferences rely on EVIDENCE and SMART THINKING.

Great, now I want you to whisper that key point to your partner.
Awesome, so we know that good inferences rely on evidence and smart thinking.

Let’s read the last one out loud together:

• BAD inferences don’t rely on good evidence.

Give examples and reference poster for GOOD and BAD inferences that do and do not use

Awesome, now let me give you an example:

If I look out the window and see the trees blowing around and peoples’ hair all messed up, I
can infer that it’s a windy day. The trees and the hair were my evidence, and I know from my
own experience that when things are blowing around, it’s a windy day.

Now, let’s say I looked outside and things looked really calm, and I said it was a windy day,
would you believe me? No! Because I’m not using good evidence

CFU (use partners or whole group based on your judgment):

How do we make inferences?
What’s the difference between a GOOD inference and a BAD inference?

2. Cognitive Strategy

We remember that a STRATEGY is a special way of doing a skill. Today we have a strategy for
making inferences. This strategy will tell us exactly HOW to make inferences.

Go through each step individually and elicit student response/reflection after each.

CFUs throughout--mix it up: have students read silently, read to partner, choral read, and
explain steps in their own words.

Making Inferences:
1. Ask, What am I trying to figure out? By reading the question
2. Read the text and make a connection to what you know
3. Use the evidence (clues) from the text and your own experience to make your
4. Choose the best answer from multiple choice

CFU: put the steps in your own words to a partner—partner with biggest feet starts!
One person shares out.

3. Model applying the skill (rule of 3)

Pete called Ted Tuesday afternoon and invited him

to come to his house after dinner to watch a movie. It
had been a long, boring day, and Ted was excited to
have something to do. After dinner, he hopped on his
bike and pedaled over to Pete's house. The house was
dark, and when he rang the bell, there was no answer.
Ted turned around, hopped back on his bike, and rode

What did Ted Decide?

A. Ted decided the house was haunted.

B. Ted forgot that he didn’t eat enough dinner.
C. Ted’s bike was broken
D. No one was home, so he left.

Reference poster for each step.

Continue to use combination of pair shares and whole group CFUs.

First I’ll ask myself, what am I trying to figure out?
To know that, I need to read the question.
Now I know I’m trying to figure out what Ted decided.
What did I do to know exactly what I’m trying to figure out? (read the question)
And what AM I trying to figure out? (what Ted decided)

Now that I know I’m trying to figure out what Ted decided, I have to read the text and make a
connection to my own life.
(Read text)
I connect to this story because once when I was ten years old, my friend Emily invited me over
to play on a summer night, but when I went to her house, it was dark inside and the car was
What was my second step in the strategy?
HOW did I connect the story to my life?

Now I have to use evidence from the text and my own experience to make an inference.
The same thing happened to Ted that happened to me—he went to his friends house and it
was quiet and dark—that’s the evidence. In my situation, I figured out that Emily wasn’t
home, so I think Ted’s friend Pete probably isn’t home.
I just made an INFERENCE using EVIDENCE (reference key points poster).
What was my inference? (nobody’s home)
What evidence did I use support that inference? (dark house, no car in driveway)

Finally, I’ll look at my answer choices to see which one is correct. (D)

A. Ted decided the house was haunted.

This isn’t a good inference. There’s no EVIDENCE that the house was haunted.
Even though it was DARK (point to word in story), I didn’t read anything about
ghosts or spooky things.

B. Ted forgot that he didn’t eat enough dinner.

Again, there’s not good evidence to support this idea. Although the story talks
about Ted going to Pete’s house AFTER DINNER, it doesn’t say anything about him
being hungry or not getting enough dinner.

C. Ted’s bike was broken

The story actually said Ted hopped on his bike and pedaled over to Pete’s house,
so I know his bike wasn’t broken.

D. No one was home, so he left.

This one makes sense to me. In the story, Pete’s house was dark and there was no
answer when Ted rang the bell. The same thing happened to me at Emily’s house—
it was dark inside, and so I inferred that no one was home. There is good
EVIDENCE for this inference.

I just used our strategy to make an inference.
How did I know that answer A wasn’t a good answer?

Go through each and have students JUSTIFY my responses by indicating good and bad evidence
referenced during the modeling.

GP – Gradual Release of Responsibility

Students are responsible for:
Step 1 of cognitive strategy (story 1)
Steps 1 and 2 of cognitive strategy (story 2)
Steps 1, 2, and 3 of cognitive strategy (story 3)
All steps of cognitive strategy (story 4)

Let’s do some examples together.

I want you to help me a little more each time in using our cognitive strategy to make
Let’s do the first step together.

Call on different students for each question:

So, what’s our first step? (ask what are we trying to figure out)
Who can tell us, where should we look to find this out? (read the question)
Who can read that for us? (Why were the plants wilting?)
What are trying to figure out?
Engagement: Have kids show me with their bodies what “wilting” means. If there are students
who don’t understand, use body language to illustrate concept.

Teacher proceeds with modeling other three steps as in INM.

This can go relatively quickly so kids are seeing me apply the process cohesively, so I won’t do
as many thorough CFUs after EACH step, but should ask students to explain HOW I’m justifying
inferences with good evidence.

Story #1 - Katie spent hours working on her garden on Saturday. She watered all of her plants
five times. Even the ones that you are only supposed to water twice a week. On Sunday, she
found that some of her plants were wilting.

Why were the plants wilting?

A. They did not get enough water.

B. It was too hot.
C. They were watered too much.
D. They were dissatisfied with life.

This time I want you to do the first two steps of the cognitive strategy.
When I say INFERENCE, I’m going to watch as you and your partner first ask yourselves what
you’re trying to figure out, then read the text and make a connection to your own lives.
Partner with the biggest hands goes first.

Give students opportunity to practice these independently and take note of who is practicing
correctly, and spot-remediate as you can.

Story #2 - Tim had just received a new bike. As he rode it down the rode, he noticed that the
brakes did not work. He crashed and cut his knee. He started crying.

Why did Tim cry?

A. He was in pain.
B. His bike was scratched.
C. His mom yelled at him.
D. He was embarrassed.

Use student examples to highlight correct application of cognitive strategy in CFU, asking
specific students:
What did you do first? What were you trying to figure out? (why did Tim cry)
What did you do next? (read story)
After you read the story, what did you do? (made connection to my life)
How did you connect to this story?
I can relate to all of you and to this story as well, because I have fallen off my bike lots of

Model remaining two steps of strategy using similar approach as in INM.

With remaining stories, have students practice the first three steps, then all four.
As with story two, monitor student practice, redirect when possible, and use higher level CFUs
so kids justify their thinking.

Story #3 – Joey’s sister was crying. Joey had told her she was not smart and smelled funny.
Joey’s mother told Joey to apologize or he was going to be grounded for a week. Joey said no
and walked away.

How would you best describe Joey?

A. Joey is happy and funny.

B. Joey is rude and mean.
C. Joey is a supportive brother.
D. Joey is a helpful son.

Story #4

"Achoo!" Patti sneezed. She sneezed again and then a third time. She felt very warm and her
head hurt. She dragged herself out of bed and called her boss. She told her boss she wouldn't
be going to work.

Why did Patty call her boss?

A. Patti is sick.
B. Patti was up last night.
C. Patti hates her boss.
D. Patti is going to Disneyland today.

Students apply skill to 5 short texts independently.
Think-Pair-Share student definitions for inference.
What are the steps we go through to make one?
How will this help us become Ready Readers?