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Friday, November 16, 2012

Inferring with Poetry

I found that my students were really struggling with inferring. They tend to take things very literally. I thought that poetry would be the very thing to expand their thinking. Interestingly, they unanimously decided that they loved poetry and since have requested more! The following lesson uses texts at a fourth-fifth grade level, but could be easily adapted for any grade level.

To begin, I read aloud one of my favorite poetry books: Fold Me a Poem. This book includes a variety of poems about making different origami animals.

Initially, I read aloud a few poems from the book to the students for enjoyment. Previously, I had copied one of the poems, "Camel," onto chart paper, but did not include the title. I read aloud the poem to the students and together we tried to figure out what animal the boy was making. We used highlighting tape to identify the clue that helped us identify the animal.

I always have students provide reasoning for their inferences. Next, we read two poems by Langston Hughes. His poems are challenging for students, but certainly not out of reach. The first poem we read was "Dreams."


Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.


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