Teacher Prep: To prepare for day four of the Deconstructed Close Reading formula cycle I try to prepare by identifying one inference and supporting quote for each paragraph. This is the exact same task I will be asking the students to delve into and I feel more comfortable knowing that I have examples to show them on the rare occasion that they made need one. Granted, there have been times where I have racked my brain to come up with a solid inference for a paragraph, only to have the students identify one for the same paragraph with minimal effort. It astounds me every time this happens, but I now know not to worry. I have faith in the children and their ability to take this process further than I can ever imagine it going. They are young and their brains are fresh and they can beat me in a competition to find and support an inference every single time. (Okay, it may take them a month of practice to get to that point, but it always happens, and they can always blow me out of the water by the time the end of the year rolls around.)
Day four of the formula cycle ties directly back to day one. Around half of the inferences come directly from the student’s text-based questions that were asked on day one! We refer back to our annotations and as whole or small groups go paragraph-by-paragraph looking for good questions that we can infer the answers to. Some questions lend themselves well to this process, others not so much. Just make sure to pay close attention (and take notes yourself) on what questions are asked during cycle day one and what conversations follow. Once students have discovered a solid question, we discuss the inference and the record it on note taking paper. We write the paragraph number, then our inference. Directly following our inference we record our supporting quote. The supporting piece of evidence, or quote, is easy to find with the guiding questions. We simply take what was circled (the questions inspiration) and record it as a direct quote.
Of course, this day of the cycle follows the same routine as the previous days. With upper grades I model the first paragraph, we work the second one together and the students work in small groups for the rest. Lower grades complete the process through interactive shared writings as a whole group, while individually recording their inferences and quotes on their own note taking paper. As usual, we regroup after each paragraph to share our inferences and evidence, compare our work, receive feedback from one another and alter our ideas if needed.
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