Teaching: There's a Cat for That - Teaching Inferences with LOLCats

Sara Kelleher work in the Campus Talent Recruitment Department and is a former Teaching Fellow

To a select group of people under the age of 14 (and some in the 24-44 years old range), I have quite the reputation…as a cat lady.

It’s not that I love or dislike cats, or even see myself having multiple furry creatures to accompany me during this “growing up” process; it’s that cats, specifically the virtual “LOL” kind, can teach some pretty great lessons.

Although I have since moved from Teaching Fellow (apply today!) to the Talent Department, one of my favorite teaching memories involves above mentioned “great lessons.”

In brainstorming ways to teach inferences, the whole process of reasoning from premises to a conclusion, I had students look at photos like the one below and using context clues, justify the caption.

For example:

From the birthday hat, facial expression, arm and leg movements, we can reason the cat below is uncomfortable.  Our prior knowledge tells us that cats do not typically wear hats, or clothes of any kind, so we can reason he is probably not happy.  Also, given our prior knowledge of birthday parties, we know that birthday cake is usually served.  Thus, “But I want Cake!” is a justified caption that makes us laugh because it is a hyperbole for a feeling of disappointment if we miss out on the sweets.

Your turn!  Using inferences, what caption do you think effectively captures the below image?

Submit your captions to the above picture and share stories of creative lessons plans you've used!