Lesson Plan:

Inferring With Pictures

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March 16, 2015
by Brittany Schwartz

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to make inferences using details in a picture and their schema.


Introduction (5 minutes)

  • Tell students that they will be learning about how to make inferences when looking at paintings.
  • Remind them that an inference is an idea that is created by using your background knowledge (schema) and evidence from the text or a picture.
  • Explain that making inferences from paintings is different than making inferences from text. When making inferences while reading, it’s important to use text evidence and your schema. When making inferences from art, it’s important to use details and your schema.
  • Tell students that a schema is what they already know (their background knowledge).
  • Tell students that it is important to infer using pictures while reading, which is why we are practicing this skill with paintings.

Explicit Instruction/Teacher Modeling (10 minutes)

  • Display the painting Christmas Morning Breakfast by Horace Pippin.
  • Explain that even though there aren’t any words to tell you what is going on in this painting, you can use evidence in the painting and your schema to infer what is happening.
  • Using details from the painting and your schema, make inferences about what is happening. For example, you may say that you infer this family is poor because there aren’t many decorations in the house and there are only a few presents under the tree.
  • Record these inferences with your evidence on the chart paper.

Guided Practice/Interactive Modeling (10 minutes)

  • Have students discuss other inferences they could make from this painting using evidence and their schema. Some great discussion questions include: Why do you think the artist drew that? What do you think is happening right now in the picture? How do you think the people in the picture feel?
  • Once you feel that the students are able to support their findings with evidence, split them into small groups. Give each group a new painting to analyze.
  • Tell students that they should make inferences using these paintings and then record their supporting evidence on post-it notes.
  • Walk around the room, assisting groups and helping them form deeper inferences from their evidence.

Independent Working Time (30 minutes)

  • Ask students to choose an independent reading book to read.
  • Students should make inferences and support their findings with evidence from the pictures and/or the text in their books.



  • Enrichment: Students who read at a higher level should choose independent reading books that challenge them. Ask these students to make inferences using both the text and images.
  • Support: Help students who are struggling choose skill-appropriate independent reading books. Encourage these students to make inferences using images from the book.


Assessment (10 minutes)

  • Once students have completed making inferences as groups and individuals, bring the class back together.
  • Have each group share their inferences with supporting evidence from the paintings they studied during the guided practice section of the lesson.

Review and Closing (5 minutes)

  • Remind students that whenever they read they need to remember to use their schema and evidence from the text or pictures to make inferences.

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