The Houghton Mifflin reading program includes “making inferences” as the weekly comprehension skill. Their sample lesson concludes with an underwhelming worksheet. Let’s do something better. We’ll ask students to infer from multiple points of view, incorporate visual art, and present their thinking.
Here’s a movie made in 1977, and its trailer is barely watchable! In fact, it almost made me not want to watch Star Wars, a movie I know almost by heart. Perhaps we’re onto something interesting for our students to analyze.
Think Like A Disciplinarian is a method for teaching students to approach concepts from an expert’s point of view. You’ll expose you class to new modes of thinking, teach subject–specific language, and develop questions that delve deeper into problems. As a bonus, students will learn about potential careers.
Like all HM comprehension skills, “Making Inferences” appears yearly beginning in kindergarten, so I know my 6th graders have had practice, and may have mastered, the skill. To differentiate, I turned to Sandra Kaplan’s model of “thinking like a disciplinarian.” Students will be expected to think from the perspective of an expert, making well-informed inferences.
In 6th grade, Houghton Mifflin’s Theme Two begins with the comprehension strategy of “Fact and Opinion.” A quick pre-assessment shows that my class has a solid grasp on the difference between fact and opinion, so how can I up-level my instruction? I realized that my students had an assumption that facts are “good” and opinions are “bad.” So my differentiated lesson became centered on challenging this belief.
By 6th grade, our reading program’s comprehension skills have become a bit basic for most of my gifted students. I’ve been working on increasing the depth and complexity of these skills. In this case, “Noting Details” has become “Explicit Vs. Implicit Details.”
Challenge your gifted students and advanced spellers with this list of 320 homophones arranged into groups of ten. Also includes five task cards for independent work with homophones.
To a young student, Shakespeare is the academic equivalent of Mt. Everest. However, with a little coaching (ok, a lot of coaching), my students are able to dig into the Bard’s words and pull out an understanding of the plot as well as some of his incredible figurative language. I bet yours can too!
Here’s a “critical thinking” question from the Houghton Mifflin selection “Beneath The Royal Palms:” “Why did Alma’s family decide to make nativity figurines?” To me this is asking for low level thinking, certainly not what I would consider “critical.” Now, let’s transform this into a beautiful and rigorous question suitable for your gifted kids.
After creating an above-level grammar group, I was left with the problem of creating a challenging grammar assignment. Inspired by a friend’s self-created language, I encouraged my students to examine the rules of other languages. Some interesting rules they discussed included…