In class we have been practicing making inferences and citing text evidence to support our thinking. My partner teacher and I thought we would start basic and use comics to introduce the topic of making inferences or drawing conclusions. Easier said than done.
I projected the first cartoon and read the words out loud. I asked the kids, “What’s going on in this comic?” A couple of kids chuckled. The rest were silent. I read it again, and accidentally said, “Humpty Dumpty Funeral” and got a few more chuckles. Mostly because I said “Humpty” which they thought sounded funny. I then asked for a show of hands, “Who knows what the word Dumpty is referring to in this cartoon?” I kid you not. 5 kids in the room had heard of Humpty Dumpty before, and even they were confused when they tried to recall anything from the story – which is THREE sentences long! I called it a victory when all BUT 5 kids knew that eggs were a key ingredient in making an omelet.
In the second example, things went from bad to worse. I went through the same process. The kids knew what a morgue was and they were able to figure out that a coroner worked with dead bodies. The rest of the picture was a bit more tricky. I asked them, “Why do you think the other two characters are dressed like that? Who could they be or what type of people to do you think they are?” After quite a while, they came to the conclusion that the guy was a king. For the time being I was willing to accept that. I then asked about he girl in the drawer. “Who could she be? Can you think of any scenario that would involve a king, or a prince, and a woman who appears to be dead?”
Finally! A hand shot up. Student: “Ohhhh! I get it. She must have eaten something bad at the Renaissance Festival.”
Day 2 of this lesson: We try this comic again. We establish that he’s a prince or king and that she looks like she’s dressed fancy so she could be a princess. I asked them to think about the different princesses they know and the girl in the picture could be. A student pipes up, “I get it. She’s supposed to be Cinderella.”