The Ladder of Inference

The ladder of inference is an excellent tool for the development of students’ analysis of issues and texts. It gets students to differentiate between facts and opinions, ensures they can recognise perspectives and perceptions and then judge their inferences critically.

The tool is described in this MindShift blog , but I found the videos provided on the i-think site really useful in understanding the whole process.  For an idea of how the ladder of inference can be introduced to students, have a look at Beth Grosso  as she shares her  introduction to the ladder of inference . The students in the video are already evidently aware of the practice, but it will provide ideas on how to integrate the practice of using this structure in the class.

To enable English Language Learners to benefit from this tool, ensure they are given the language to express themselves. The young grade 4 learners featured in Grosso’s class are relatively articulate but are clearly making a conscious effort to use their specialist vocabulary to express themselves. It will help to have words such as “perception” and “internalise” up on the word wall to assist students as they express their thoughts.

I love her use of the fish hiding behind the seaweed to illustrate the point that some facts are there, but not seen clearly as we make our observations. This visualisation of the way we view facts will make it easier for students to understand the concept.

I can’t wait to try out this tool in the classroom.


A Taxonomy Tree: A Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy Graphic

A Taxonomy Tree: A Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy Graphic by TeachThought Staff

I just love this layout of the good ol’ classic. Its inspired me to keep it on hand again as I plan for the terms Intensive Language unit. Check out the action verbs and weave them into student activities.

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See on Scoop.itOnline resources for innovative classrooms

4 Reasons to Start Class With a Poem Each Day

This article says it all. I have introduced poems into my early ESL classes and it has gone down well with the students. Last term, I found two poems that I felt were accessible to students that fit in with the science theme, earth sciences, that I was covering at the time. The poems on Autumn and Spring were short and easily understood given that we had been exploring the vocabulary of those topics. One poem was very accessible and suitable for the language level of the whole class. I projected that poem on the screen and after reading the poem aloud, I got them to locate information eg. words linked to what people do during the season, what we can see etc. It was a great review of learnt concepts and introduction to new ones. With the second poem, I decided that it may be too difficult for some of my struggling students, so I introduced it in small groups. I got a small group each to rotate activities, and each group came to me to listen to and talk about the poem. This intimate exploration of the poem worked well as students felt comfortable exploring their interpretation of the poem.

Make a daily habit of starting every ELA class with a poem — they’re short, intense, connect to other reading, and inspire student writing.

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How I Use ‘Check For Understanding’ Questions In My Teaching –

How I Use ‘Check For Understanding’ Questions In My Teaching by Dan Henderson, Author of That’s Special: A Survival Guide To Teaching As adults we often take for granted our wide range of vocabulary and the comprehension that comes with applying knowledge while writing. Too often in my younger years […]

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A rather honest and refreshing read. The perils of not checking for understanding are presented through this sharing of a harrowing classroom experience.  We should never make assumptions about what our students take away from their learning experiences. Rather, we should find ways to pre-empt any misconceptions, and clarify issues after the lesson.

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High School Teachers Tune In Students With Podcasts

Podcast assignments can show teens another way to tell stories.

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This news article explores the use of podcasts in high school classrooms. There are suggestions on how to do this and some links that I will explore. This will be a valuable tool for esl learners but I’ll have to explore further into the prior knowledge and skills that these students will require before to enable them to access the value of the tool.

See on Scoop.itOnline resources for innovative classrooms

Incorporating the teaching of grit

I am blessed with the opportunity to teach students who are driven to want to achieve. As newly arrived immigrants and refugees given a new chance to make a new world for themselves, motivating them to work hard is rarely a problem. But now that I’m teaching a slightly higher level of students, those who have been in the system for about a year, I have had the opportunity to see how some of my earlier students are faring after a year. 

A few are losing their way, especially when they are older (about 18) and see how frustratingly slow their progress is. All they want to do is get into mainstream as soon as possible, before they are too old to fit in. This is how I see the relevance of this issue of teaching grit. Watch this video Duckworth at Ted Talks featuring Angela Lee Duckworth on Ted Talks as she talks about grit. Then look at how this concept is incorporated by a teacher in the classroom in this video  Teaching grit posted on 

This term my english unit focuses on biographies. As always, I have built the programme with the constant awareness that students must see their learning as relevant to themselves.  I have deliberately chosen characters who can be relevant to my students own experiences. I will begin my unit, looking at Amelia Earhart, and tying it to my students desire to do something more with their lives and with a look at the role of women and the dreams that women should be allowed to pursue. Within the video, there is a reference to the need to being useful in our aspirations for our future. That is a take that I will be incorporating into my programme too. 

Scroll down the page of this post on Teaching grit for a curriculum pdf and some other useful resources.