Here’s a quick interpretive inference activity that can be for ANY grade level, ANY language and for ANY lesson. The best part, it only takes a few minutes to prep!

Picture + Thought Bubble = Inference Activity!

Recently I’ve been really digging into the “Integrated Performance Assessment (IPA) Rubrics” from the “Implementing Integrated Performance Assessment” book by ACTFL. I went through the criteria and marked which activities I used in a unit that worked on it. I found that I had very few for “Inferences.” Next I went looking for new ideas and strategies. I found some elementary teachers’ blogs that had some great suggestions. My favorite one is this one that I’ll call “Whatcha thinking?”


Basically it’s a picture with a thought bubble. Done! Learners write in what they think that person is thinking (in the TL of course). They could do this on dry-erase boards or a gallery walk where there are many thought bubbles for everyone to add theirs. I would want to hear what my classmates came up with!

Why I Like It:

  1. They can complete it at their proficiency level (emojis could even be used).
  2. Lets them be creative.
  3. Fun way to develop inference skills.
  4. They can incorporate their cultural and background knowledge, especially with pictures showing the target culture.

Super Easy Set Up:

  1. Find a picture.
  2. Add a thought bubble.
  3. Provide any sentence starters or phrases they may need (I think…Oh no…).
  4. Show it to class! They will fill in the bubble with what they “infer” the person is thinking.

Let’s do one together! For the picture below (since this may be very relatable to a lot of you right now), what do you think he is thinking…

Possible Answers:

“Great… I’ll be late again, but at least I have an excuse.”

“Is this my car?”

“Oh no. My scrapper is INSIDE the car.”

“Why didn’t they call a snow day?!”

“According to the weather, this is a “dusting.” Yeah, right!”

There you go… Another idea to add to your teacher toolbox!


Below are some already made that you can download and use. I think this would be a fun class starter. Also I’d have them submit some pictures. I think they’d get a kick out of seeing their picture on the board.

[easy_media_download url=”https://www.creativelanguageclass.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Thought-Bubbles-Infer.pptx” color=”green_light” text=”Download Images” width=”400″]


What activities do you like to use for inferences? 

Share an idea or picture below!