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In this reading comprehension lesson, students make inferences from “artifact bags”


Language Arts  


3, 4  

Title – Artifact Bags
By – Felicia Cossifos
Primary Subject – Language Arts
Grade Level – 3-4

Concept / Topic To Teach:

  • Inferencing

Standards Addressed:

  • ELA Standards 3 & 4

General Goal(s):

  • Be able to make inferences about a person based upon objects.

Specific Objectives:

  • Students will be able to:
    • Assemble an artifact bag of their own
    • Make inferences about others
    • Confirm or disprove their inferences
    • Explain the significance of each item they placed in the bag
    • Apply their knowledge to texts

Required Materials:

  • Brown paper lunch bags that are unmarked
  • Assembled bags

Anticipatory Set (Lead-In):

  • Homework assignment to create their own artifact bag.

Step-By-Step Procedures:

  • Teacher distributes unmarked brown paper lunch bags with instructions and a letter home
  • Students choose 5-7 items that tell something about them. (ex. Disney sticker, baseball, tennis racket picture, t-shirt with their favorite team’s logo.)
  • Items are placed in the bag and the bag is returned to school without a name on it.
  • Teacher chooses a bag and takes out the items one at a time, modeling:
    • I can infer that this person likes the Mets (something with a logo on it)
    • I can infer that this person went to Dorney Park this summer (cup from Dorney Park)
    • I can infer that this person is a girl (hair ribbon)
    • Etc.
  • Students then get three guesses to decide who the bag belongs to.
  • The owner of the bag then comes up and tells about each item and why they placed it in the bag.
  • At that time teacher explains whether or not her inferences were confirmed or disproved.
  • Once teacher has modeled 2-3 bags, students are then given the opportunity to make inferences prior to guessing the identity of the owner.

Plan For Independent Practice:

  • As class begins reading either trade books or anthology stories, teacher begins making inferences and invites students to make their own
  • Can also be assigned as a topic in reading response journals based upon independent reading.

Assessment Based On Objectives:

  • Observation throughout the year

E-Mail Felicia Cossifos !

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