Recently, 3rd Grade teacher, Mrs. McCollough, and I began collaborating on a lesson that would give students an opportunity to practice a skill they had been working on...inference. Students were ready for some fun practice. So we began the lesson with one of my absolute favorite websites, Storyline Online. I first mentioned this website two years ago in a blog post, Storyline Online: Such a Fantastic Resource For Students and Teachers! It is a "must have" tool for every elementary teacher's digital toolbox! The site is a collection of picture books being read by well known actors and actresses. Each book comes with a helpful activity guide with suggestions for teachers.
One of my favorite read aloud books is read by actress Rita Moreno. She reads Amanda Noll's book, I Need My Monster! Rita Moreno's reading of the marvelous book is sooo comical! I laugh out loud every time I see it! I noticed that Storyline Online recently added the sequel Hey, That's My Monster! read by Lily Tomlin.
I Need My Monster is about a boy, Ethan, who has a monster under his bed named Gabe. One night his monster goes fishing, so the boy auditions four new monsters to be his substitute monster. Throughout the auditions, the reader gets inferential clues about Gabe.
As students watched, they were asked to write down what information was revealed about the monster Gabe. Many inferential clues about Gabe could be gathered as Ethan interviewed each of the four monsters.
- Monster One - "do you have long teeth and scratchy claws?"
- Monster Two - "I was hoping to see a horrible shaggy arm with sharp, ragged nails"
- Monster Three - "I definitely need a boy monster."
- Monster Four - "Do you have a long tail?"
We stopped the story right before Gabe's appearance was revealed. Students shared their inferential clues about Gabe. Then, they demonstrated their understanding by drawing a picture of Gabe using the iPad app YouDoodle. Even though each student's version of Gabe was unique, they had the common elements - scary jagged claws, long teeth, shaggy fur, long tail, and not to be forgotten, he was a boy.
Finally, students had a blast watching the end of the read aloud. They were able to compare their version of Gabe with the book's illustrator. What a fun way for student to learn about inference!