Thursday, September 25, 2008

Inferring through the garbage

I am in love with a new book called Comprehension Connection. This book was recommended by one of my colleagues last year but my principal purchased it for us for a book talk. I am already using its contents. One of its contents was an activity on Inferencing. The author recommends bringing in garbage so the children can examine it and make inferences about the people that it belongs to, here is our conversation:
"I walk by a house everyday, they have the most beautiful yard, they have pretty flowers, and they have nice cars. Their house is immaculate. The thing is, I've never seen the people who live there. So, last night when I was walking by their trash, I took some!"
Here is where every jaw in my classroom dropped to the floor and they stared at me in astonishment. Their teacher had done the unthinkable...taken trash!
"So, I was wondering if you could help me solve the mystery of my neighbors?"
Every head nodded, still, no sound coming from their lips.
Inside the bag I had a Better Homes and Garden magazine, a coffee cup and lid, a tea bag, some receipts to very expensive places, and a band aid. Here are their inferences:
-The people who live there have no children. People with children don't have their "nice" things just out, they keep it up until their children are grown.
-The people who live here are older because they keep things so nice, they don't have to go to work a lot because their so old. That is why their stuff is so nice and why I never see them. They get up very early and they go to be very early at night.
They drink expensive teas and coffees because they don't have children.

About five minutes into this activity one of my boys says,"I don't think that you can get in trouble for stealing someone's garbage, they already put it out, they don't want it, I think it's okay."
Another little girl, "Mrs. Amick, you should get up early and go and knock on those people's door and introduce yourself. Then you should tell them that you took their garbage, because that is the right thing to do."
Have you ever been disciplined by a seven year old? I told them today that I really didn't take someone's garbage. I could see the relief on some of their faces!


Jen Barney said...

I can see their faces... what goobers! I told my kids what you did for you lesson and they were like "ohhh mrs. b if you did that you would be so nasty going through trash." They didn't get that you didn't really do that!?!?! Good grief... second and fifth isn't that far apart!

Unknown said...

Comprehension Connection is a wonderful book. I have done lots of the lessons from this book. I hope your students will enjoy them too.