Even though my students thought they were quite familiar with inference skills by 5th grade, I would still use this activity so that they could really grasp how important it was to take an inference clue and run with it!
I would divide the students into groups of four and provide a shoebox for each group filled with a shoe, piece of clothing (shirt, dress, etc) and other apparatus. Generally I would just go to our junk drawer at home and grab tools, school supplies, gift cards, greeting cards, unopened letters, bug spray, hairspray, jewelry and anything else I could think of to provide enough inference clues to place in the shoeboxes. My husband is used to having a few articles of clothing or tools missing here and there, all in the name of good education, of course!
After the students viewed their shoeboxes full of clues, they were asked to inference as many clues about the "mystery person" who owned their shoebox as they could. They are told that their mystery person was headed on a journey and is now missing but has left their shoebox of clues behind.
The students were then asked to fill out a "Bio Card" on their subject based on their shoebox clues. After that they created a sketch of their mystery person and then wrote a story about where the mystery person went on their journey based on the inference clues from the shoebox.
I also have several other reading inference skill resources at my Teacherspayteachers Store , check out each product below:
Inference Reading Class and Individual
Fun and rigorous whole class and individual inference activities.
Reading Inference Unit
Inference Introduction, Lesson, Activities, Creative Writing and Practice Test
Reading "Inference" Skills Enrichment Projects
Fun, creative writing enrichment projects in which students are asked to use their amazing inference skills.
I've also created a set of free "Reading Text Structures" posters that you may download below. It is great to keep the posters up all year long. Every time you read a story, ask your students to refer to the posters to review the important reading text structures that they will be tested on later in the year.