Test Prep 180: Inferring Using Picture Prompts

Inferring is such a hard task. Subconsciously we are making inferences at any given moment of the day, yet asking a student to infer what an author means or reading between the lines, is so, so difficult! 

One thing I have done in my class to make inferring a bit easier....well, more accessible because it never truly is "easy"....is to use picture prompts.  You find an interesting picture -- it could be from a magazine, newspaper, the internet, even one you took -- and place it on the doc cam.  The students look at it and write one sentence describing what they think is going on.  This becomes the topic sentence.  The sentences which follow are a compilation of evidence from the picture, justifying the inference.

teachinginroom6.blogspot.com  Teaching in Room 6 Using a picture like this is a great way to get the kids started.  In most cases, students have some sort of connection to people getting married -- either in real life, through television, or some other way.   Seeing a picture like this, they can make the inference that two people just got married.  The clues are that the woman is wearing a white dress, the man is in the tux, there are people watching and dressed nicely, and there are flowers all around.  All evidence that a wedding probably just took place.


teachinginroom6   5th grade blogThis is an example, written by one of my students, using the above picture.  It isn't the most exciting paragraph, but it does include evidence for how the student knew that a wedding was taking place.  She also picked up on the happiness of the couple from the smiles, and the fact that they just got married (which I can vouch for, as this is *my* wedding ;) )


Stephanie Moorman 

Another spin this, to even get the students simply thinking about the evidence as opposed to the writing a paragraph part is to have the students use a graphic organizer to list out the inference they are making and then all of the evidence to support it.  It is a bit faster to do this way.

On the graphic organizer you will notice that it says "Type of Prompt".  This is because you can actually use this with paragraph prompts as well.  The students can be given a paragraph that they might see, say, on The TEST, and make an inference directly from it.

If you would like to see even more picture prompts, head on over to The Diary of a Not So Wimpy Teacher and Classroom Magic.  They are co-hosting a linky party where many other bloggers are bringing together their ideas for using picture prompts in their classroom.  There is also an entire pinboard dedicated to it here (there are a BUNCH on pinterest too...just search for writing prompts and they should come up)

Classroom Magic”BLOGPhotobucket

If you would like to read the rest of my series on how I incorporate test prep into my classroom, click here.


  1. Love your post with the linky party!!

  2. LOVE the graphic organizer!!!!!! I'm so going to use that. Thanks for sharing!


  3. This is great! thanks for linking up!

  4. Great ideas Stephanie. So glad I found your blog!


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