This lesson helps children to make inferences using different clues which develop over time. Physical prompts lead to visual, before ending on a text.
Extracts of text
Children begin by entering the classroom with a shoe on their table (I had 5 mixed ability groups and therefore 5 different shoes). Begin by getting children to discuss who they think owns the shoes. Why could they be the owner? What could we learn about them from their shoes? If their opinions differ, why is this? (Ideas could be noted on a3 paper in the group at this stage).
Next, give children a picture which is relevant to the shoes on their table. Does their opinion change? Why, or why not? What further inferences can they make? Encourage children to discuss within their group.
Finally, reveal the text to the children which has more in depth looks at the character and prompts them to make further, more complex inferences about the characters they see. Again, has this changed their opinion and if so, why? What further information have they learned using this information?
The activity could end here, or the children could then create a written piece explaining the inferences they have made across all three prompts - their own text providing an image of the character.
To extend children, instead of simply writing their inferences they could write as if they were the character - 'a day in the life of...' or extending the text they have been given, developing it in the style of the character and demonstrating their feelings. This will show their understanding of the inferences they have made.
I wrote each of these extracts myself to match the shoes I had! They could be any shoes...
...or even another item!
This is such a flexible lesson as it could be adapted for most year groups, to suit different topics/books and also to match what items are easiest for you to utilise.
(I am happy to email any resources as I can't get them to attach on here - please just contact in the replies!)