Terry Bisson’s story, They’re Made Out of Meat, is a perfect way to put inferring into practice. After reading the story aloud, students are asked to draw what it was about.
Having been introduced to Inferencing through the prior slide deck, students will now have an opportunity to put those skills into practice, while providing visual representations that will allow you to quickly assess where their understanding of the text is.
English Course Pack: Unit One – Literacy Skills
This assignment is part of the The Full English Course Park. This piece is part of Unit One: Literacy Skills, which focuses on creating a strong foundational understanding of literacy skills, PEE paragraph writing, and embedding quotations as textual support.
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1.07 – Made out of Meat – Short Story Visualizing and Inferring
Step One: Read the Story
This seems like an obvious step, but one look at this story will point out why it might not be as straight forward as you think. This story is written as a dialogue. It’s a back and forth conversation between two — well, that would be telling…
Explain to students how this story is laid out, and ensure that they they understand that there are different voices speaking back and forth to each other. Once they understand that piece, you should be able to move forward with the text.
Feel free to ask two students to take on the roles, or to read the text yourself with different voices.
Step Two: Drawing the Text
Once the story has been read, students are asked to draw a picture that represents what exactly is going on. This will present you with a number of different understandings. As you walk from desk to desk, observing student work, you will discover which students have difficulty moving beyond what is literally communicated, and which ones are picking up on specific clues that get to the centre of this tale.
Optional Step: Watch the Story
Students can be challenged to share their images with each other, and then if you’d like you can watch one of the many versions of this story that has been created over the years.
Step Three: A Written Explanation
Scaffolding the learning, students are now asked to provide two sentences, and their corresponding line numbers, that helped them reach that understanding. They are then asked to explain what those lines made them realize.
This understanding may have changed since watching the video, which students should be be told is perfectly fine. Adapting one’s understanding based on new information is always important.
Through this process, students have used visual depiction to prepare them for written expression.
Step Four: A PEE Paragraph
Building upon the quotations students have selected, and their explanations, they are asked to create a PEE paragraph. While a sample template has been provided, students should be encouraged to move beyond this formulaic piece if they feel comfortable. They are to include all required pieces for a strong PEE paragraph.
Step Five: Extending Beyond
Students can be challenged to combine their visuals and their paragraph on one 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper. The paragraph (or just the quotations) should be integrated into the visuals in an engaging way.
This final product will be a very strong demonstration of learning in the Media category.
By creating a media piece, students will have shown if they understand the literally stated understanding of a text, or if they can use the context clues to form a stronger understanding. This also provides an opportunity for class discussion which can and should lead students to reconsider their beliefs. By explicitly pointing out how personal belief can change when presented with new information, students will have a stronger grasp on this transferable skill.
English – Unit One: Literacy Skills
1.17 – RICH Reading Log (English Lesson)
RICH Reading Log honours Personal Choice Reading. Reading Indenpendent CHallenges is a form a Personal Choice Reading that students engage in during almost every class.…
1.16 – The Movie Poster Assignment (English Lesson)
Designing a movie poster requires attention to detail, use of symbols and symbolism, an understanding of how to merge text with visuals, and how to…
1.15 – Movie Posters: Slide Deck (English Lesson)
Movie posters are incredible media texts, because they combine both art theory, and advertising. They can be appreciated as pure visual texts, but also as…
1.14 – Teaching the Media Triangle (English Lesson)
The Media Triangle is an important tool that students will use to discover the messages and meaning of any text. Rather than simply looking at…
1.13 – In-Class Writing: Topic Journals (English Lesson)
Topic Journals are an excellent way to gauge students’ Reading and Writing skills, through in-class writing opportunities. Topic Journals will focus on text-to-theme, as well…
1.12 – The Swan as a Metaphor for Love: Short Story – Connecting (English Lesson)
The Swan as a Metaphor for Love is a short story written by Amelia Gray and can be found online at Joyland Magazine. It is…
1.11 – Connecting: Slide Deck (English Lesson)
When students connect to text, they build deeper meaning both with the text, and with what they connect it to. By teaching how to make…
1.10 – Determining Importance & Summarizing: Slide Deck (English Lesson)
Building students’ literacy skills by focusing on Determining Importance and Summarizing allows them to read for meaning, and decode in an effective way that leads…
1.09 – Taylor Swift: Short Story – Questioning (English Lesson)
Taylor Swift is a short story written by Hugh Behm-Steinberg and can be found online at Gulf Coast Magazine. It is a strange story about…
1.08 – Questioning: Slide Deck (English Lesson)
The Questioning slide deck follows the same framework that all the literacy skills slide decks do. It starts by asking students what the skill entails,…
1.06 – Inferring: Slide Deck (English Lesson)
This slide deck introduces students to the literacy skill, Inferring. It is designed to be moved through slowly, scaffolding an understanding of Inferring for students…
1.05 – The Drawbridge: Character Monologues (English Lesson)
The Drawbridge Character Monologue assignment builds upon the now-familiar text that was explored in 1.04 – The Drawbridge: PEE Paragraphs, asking students to consider the…
1.04: The Drawbridge: PEE Paragraphs (English Lesson)
The Drawbridge PEE Paragraph activity brings together all of the learning that has taken place so far. The beginning of the lesson should be run…
1.03: Embedding Quotations: Slide Deck (English Lesson)
Embedding Quotations is a necessary skill that students will use throughout their years in secondary and post-secondary education. This slide deck introduces the idea of…
1.02: Alligator River (English Lesson)
Alligator River is a short story that will have your class yelling at each other, screaming at each other, becoming enraged at each other. And…
1.01: The Nametag Project (English Lesson)
The Nametag project begins the school year with students creating a piece that visually represents who they are and presents the challenge for them to…
English Course Packs: Full Units
Unit One: Literacy Skills
Unit Two: Poetry (In Progress)
Unit Three: Literature Circles (In Progress)
Unit Four: Creative Writing & Choose Our Way Tales (In Progress)
Unit Five: Essay Writing (In Progress)
Unit Six: Culminating Tasks (In Progress)
Michael Barltrop has been teaching since 2006, integrating comics, video games, and TTRPGs into his classroom. He has been the head of English, Literacy, Special Education, and Assessment & Evaluation and Universal Design. Feel free to reach out through Twitter @MrBarltrop!
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