By Sharena Downey
Drawing conclusions and inferencing is one of the most challenging skills for many students. In order to master this skill, students must learn and know how to make an educated guess based on the clues in the text provided whether it is an image or passage.
QAR (Question Answer Relationship)
When students don’t see the answer in the text, they sometimes believe that an answer is missing. Before teaching drawing conclusions and inferencing, I like to start with a review of QAR (Question Answer Relationship). There are four types of QAR questions: right there, think and search, author and me, and on my own.
Right There: This means the answer to the question can be found directly in the text; it is usually found on one page or in one paragraph.
Think and Search: The answer is in the text, but it can be found in several different paragraphs or pages.
Author and Me: The students use their background knowledge and the passage written by the author to find the answer. This requires students to make inferences, which is why it is important to review the QAR strategy with students so that they know all answer will not be found right there in the text.
On My Own: The students use their prior knowledge, or schema, to answer the question. These are like opinion questions.
After teaching the QAR strategy to students, I start making connections with drawing conclusions and inferences that students can relate to.
Blues Clues, Dora the Explorer, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and many more shows like these are a great way to open the floor for discussions. These popular shows follow the same format: clue, clue, clue, and solve. The clues require viewers to make inferences, and the finale of the shows are the conclusions the viewers make based on the clues found throughout the program. After making those connections, I ask students if they can think of careers that use drawing conclusions and inferencing everyday. They come up with examples such as detectives, doctors, and lawyers. After I get the students thinking and making connections, I give them notes on drawing conclusions and inferencing to complete. Then to make learning fun and rigorous, I throw in the games.
Who doesn’t love playing games? Whether you play video games, board games, or card games, you have a great time, and you it sticks with you most of the time! As a result, I love to let my students play games in my class that will help them learn in a fun way. So, what games do my students play to review drawing conclusions and inferencing?
Clue: An oldie, but goodie! I usually find this game at almost every yard sale I go to, but you can also purchase this game at Target or Walmart. Clue allows students to practice this skill because they have to figure out who killed who, with what object, and in what room by making inferences using the clues provided and questioning. Then they have to go to the pool to draw conclusions on who they think did it to win the game. The students love this game once they get the hang of how to play it.
Who has Games: I created several of these games for my students to play. They really enjoy these activities. The students read the character profiles and scenarios of six characters, and they have to figure out who did it. Yes, they may think they know at the beginning who did it, but as they rotate throughout the different groups and read the profiles and scenarios of the other characters, the discussion really starts. You can hear their thinking process as they discuss with their classmates why they think someone did it or not. It is the best experience ever! My students love this game so much that I keep making more for them to play throughout the year whenever we review drawing conclusions and inferencing. These games can be found here. There are digital and print copies available for most of them.
These are games that I enjoy using to teach my students how to draw conclusions and make inferences. A skill that is challenging, but with continuous practice of the QAR strategy, connections, and games, your students can master drawing conclusions and inferences in no time.