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Describing & Inferring Details from a Picture

Using adjectives and inferences to describe a picture is an essential skill for students to develop. Adjectives help add detail and color to a description, bringing it to life and making it more interesting to read. Conversely, inferences help students make educated guesses about the picture based on their observations and prior knowledge. This skill allows them to think critically and engage with the picture on a deeper level. By using adjectives and inferences together, students can create a vivid and compelling picture description, improving their communication skills and helping them better understand the world around them.

Lesson Plan: Describing & Inferring Details

Grade Level: 3rd to 5th*


  1. Students will be able to describe the details of a picture using adjectives.
  2. Students will be able to make inferences about a picture based on the details they observe.


  1. Pictures with a variety of details (e.g., a cityscape, a beach scene, a forest, etc.)
    • Several of these photos will be hung around the room in gallery style
  2. Chart paper and markers
  3. Student graphic organizer and writing utensil

Introduction (15 minutes):

  1. Show students a picture of a park with a girl playing soccer and ask them to describe what they see.
  2. Write their responses on chart paper.
  3. Discuss the importance of using adjectives when describing something and inferences that point out what will happen next.
    • For example, for adjectives, a student might say,  “I see a green park with a big tree.”
    • And for inferences, a teacher might ask, “If the girl is playing with a ball, what might she do next?” A student would reply, “ She would kick the ball to her friend.” 
  4. Provide feedback to the student’s answers, pointing out what was correct and what needs improvement.
    • Repeat steps with different pictures, gradually increasing the difficulty level of the pictures as the students become more confident in their skills.

Guided Instruction (15 minutes):

  1. Explain to students that they will be looking at pictures and describing the details using adjectives and inferences as you just did, but they will be in pairs. 
  2. Students will be matched up in pairs by the teacher and move about the room looking at the pictures on the wall (gallery style).
  3. Students will work in pairs to come up with as many adjectives about the pictures as they can and record them on their graphic organizer. 
  4. Students will work on one to two inferences for each picture and record them on their graphic organizer. 
  5. Finally, students will move to the next photo. Setting a timer would be beneficial to keep students moving in an orderly fashion instead all over the place. 
  6. Have students share their adjectives and inferences with the class and write them on the chart paper.
  7. Positively reinforce for success and redirect those students who need more reinforcement.

Assessment (10 minutes):

  1. Show the whole class the same photo. Have students describe the details using adjectives and one inference on their graphic organizer.
  2. Have students share their adjectives and inferences, making sure to positively reinforce for success and redirect those students who need more reinforcement.
  3. Have students turn in their graphic organizer with their adjectives and inferences as their exit ticket.
  4. Assess their ability to use adjectives to describe the details of the picture and their ability to make inferences based on those details.

Closure (10 minutes):

  1. Review the importance of using adjectives when describing something and using inferences to predict what will happen next. 
  2. Ask students to share something new they learned about describing and inferring details from a picture.


For English Language Learners (ELLs) and students with disabilities:

  • Provide sentence stems and a list of appropriate grade-level adjectives to help them describe the details of the picture. 
  • Provide a simple short list of verbs to help ELLs infer what will happen next. 
  • You could also use simple pictures with simple details as you assess their capabilities.


  1. Have students write a short paragraph describing a picture using the adjectives they observed and the inferences they made.
  2. Have students create their own picture and write a description using adjectives and inferences.

*This lesson can be adapted for older and even younger students by the type of pictures used. Younger students would need simple pictures, while older students can do this same activity with more complicated pictures, adjectives and inferences.

Written by Deborah Andrus
Education World Contributor
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