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MYSTERY MAIL: A Super-Engaging Inferencing Activity (reading foundation skill)

MYSTERY MAIL: A Super-Engaging Inferencing Activity (readi
Grade Levels
1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th
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31.63 MB   |   13 pages

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION

Please visit my daily blog, The Clutter-Free Classroom {www.CFClassroom.com} for daily tips, photos, and ideas to organize and manage your classroom. This product was featured on 10/3/12.

Inferencing is such an important skill to develop in order to be effective readers and critical thinkers. I wanted to create an activity that would engage my students and anchor their learning. I also wanted to provide them with a fun, interactive understanding of what it means to infer so that when I discussed inferencing in language arts lessons I could always relate it to this project.

The excitement level in my classroom was through the roof when a new letter would appear. It was so fun for me to see how quickly their skills developed. By the third envelope the quality of their inferences was so much higher than when we opened the first. I used the materials from this packet to create a visual display in the classroom that could be used as a reference for the students in the future.

This packet includes the following:
*a tracking sheet to organize the letter packets
*two versions of a cover letter to send out to request "mystery mail" (one version is written from a single teacher/classroom and the other can be sent by a grade level team)
*a letter writing template
*templates for creating a class chart and recording inferences
*2 recording sheets for students to make their own inferences

It’s very easy to prepare, manage and execute. Here’s what I did:

1 Start by making a list of staff members you want to include. I teach third and invited all of their former teachers and classroom aides, the principal, specialist teachers and other staff members that they know well and come in contact with often to participate.

2 Prepare a “packet” for each of them by simply securing the blank letter template, the cover sheet and an envelope together with a paperclip. Distribute them to the people on your list. I included lots of people because I wanted to create stations at the end of the week, but you could just ask 3-4 and model this as a whole class lesson.

3 I copied the header and the 3 object pages onto colored paper and created a visual display to record our thoughts. When the first few letters arrived I removed one object at a time and attached it to the display. We recorded our inferences with each object. After all three were displayed we concluded who the letter was from based on our inferencing skills.

4 Finally I read the letter and revealed the sender. So. Much. Fun!

OPTIONAL
5 You could simply do the above as your lesson as it was highly effective. I opted to continue because their interest level was so high. I provided each student with a copy of the inferencing page and as I revealed each item they illustrated and labeled it the boxes at the top of the page. After all three items were revealed, they recorded their own inferenced thoughts and ideas about the sender based on the object and predicted who sent it.

6 Again because my class was so motivated by this project I decided to take it a step further. I created an “inferencing workshop” by placing envelopes and recording sheets at different stations. I numbered each envelope and students enjoyed using their inferencing skills independently. This makes a great activity for early finishers.
7 As an added twist, you could continue the fun throughout the year by creating envelopes as if they were sent by celebrities or characters from books. You could also have the students create an envelope. My class was chomping at the bit to make their own envelopes and let their friends infer their identity.

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Total Pages
13
Answer Key
Does Not Apply
Teaching Duration
N/A

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MYSTERY MAIL: A Super-Engaging Inferencing Activity (readi