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MAKING INFERENCES ACTIVITIES and LESSON IDEAS

These inferring activities designed to make teaching inferencing fun will have your students excited to practice making inferences and will really help them understand the concept. Inferencing is a challenging skill, but it is fun to teach inference and inferencing using this engaging mystery mail packet.

This blog post will…

  • identify the problems this resource solves
  • suggest how it can help you and your students
  • explain why you will love it and how to use it
  • offer testimonials from teachers like you
  • share what’s included in this resource

Inferencing is a challenging skill for students to develop. It is also hard to get students excited about it. This developmentally appropriate resource makes it fun and engaging!

  • This resource offers many opportunities to practice making inferences.
  • It produces high engagement among students.
  • Your students will get to know members of the school community.
  • It makes a very challenging concept accessible to students.
  • It invites students to be active participants in their learning.
  • It takes a challenging concept and teaches it in a way students understand and then apply to other academic areas.
  • Teachers have reported their administrators and colleagues were impressed with the lesson and that students went home excited to share what they did with their families.
  • It’s been classroom-tested by 1000s of teachers with great reviews about how easy and effective it was. Teachers also rave about how much their students loved it.
  • The excitement level in my classroom was through the roof when a new letter would appear.
  • It is simple to prepare.
  • You will make positive connections with members of your school community.

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.

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.

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.

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

OPTIONAL EXTENSION:

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.

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.

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.

Check out these testimonials from teachers who’ve used it in their classrooms…

I can’t even tell you how much my students loved this. We started by sending the letters to staff and talked about making inferences. The kids loved it so much that after I had gotten back all the staff letters and done them I started to make mystery mail from characters in our read aloud. We did 1 to 2 mystery mails a week and it was many of the kids favorite thing. Since I used it in read aloud it also helped me to teacher character development and characteristics and so on. I highly recommend this product!

– Javana B

Great way to make inference relevant to students and create more of a learning community!

– Buyer

Fantastic activity! My students loved getting the mail and trying to figure out who sent it. And the staff loved being a part of the activity. They would stop by to see the other mail and clues from fellow staff members! It was a HUGE hit.

– Heather B

My students loved doing the Mystery mail! They could not wait to get another letter from someone in our school! It was a great way for students to get to know that other members in our school and be good observers as well.

– Carissa D.

This has become a favorite amongst both teachers and students at my school. This was so much fun! Thank you so much for such a great product!

– Madeline L.

You can read more great feedback from teachers just like you here!

  • Tracking sheet to organize the letter packets
  • Two versions of a cover letter to send out to request “mystery mail”
  • A letter writing template
  • Templates for creating a class chart and recording inferences
  • Two recording sheets for students to make their own inferences

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