Lesson 3: Justifying our inferences using words and images

Links to the Victorian Curriculum – English

Use comprehension strategies to understand and discuss texts listened to, viewed or read independently (Content description VCELY153)

Identify some features of texts including events and characters and retell events from a text (Content description VCELT150)

Identify the parts of a simple sentence that represent 'What's happening?', 'Who or what is involved?' and the surrounding circumstances (Content description VCELA178)

Understand that simple connections can be made between ideas by using a compound sentence with two or more clauses usually linked by a coordinating conjunction (Content description VCELA214)

Links to the Victorian Curriculum – English as an Additional Language (EAL)

Pathway A

Speaking and listening

Level A1:

Level A2:

  • Negotiate familiar social and learning situations using language appropriate to the situation (VCEALC085)
  • Understand key information in a short spoken or multimodal text (VCEALC087)

Reading and viewing

Level A1:

  • Understand aspects of simple, familiar texts (VCEALC031)
  • Understand and explore the basic features of different texts (VCEALL043)

Level A2:

  • Understand information in texts read and viewed in class (VCEALC113)
  • Understand and use the basic features of different texts (VCEALL124)

Theory/practice connections

Language forms a set of resources from which we can draw when making meaning around texts. We organise these resources into sentences to tell us: who or what the text is about, the process with which they are involved, and the surrounding circumstances (Derewianka, 2016). Teachers teaching students in the first few years of primary school can make conscious choices to make these resources explicit to their students.

Additional resources

Colour coding sentences may help students identify sentence level grammar. Red for participants (who/what), green for the processes and blue for the circumstances.

Learning intentions

Today we are learning to give reasons for our thinking, by referring to the text.

Success criteria

I can identify who the story is about, and why and how they are feeling, by using evidence in the word's texts and pictures.

I can explain my reasons in extended sentences.

Role of the reader

Text participant – How am I making meaning from this text? What inferences do I draw in order to identify the character's feelings?

Group size

Small focus group – strategy small group discussion

Lesson sequence

Clearly articulate learning intentions. Today we are learning to give a reason for our thinking, by referring to the text. We will think about the words of the text, and also the facial expressions and gestures of the characters.

Conduct a picture-walk of Little Beauty, to recap the storyline already introduced to students. Remind students of the analysis of facial features and the information we 'read' from a face. Use the flashcards from Lesson 1 to name the feelings that the gorilla expressed throughout the story. Place these on a feelings continuum, which ranges from positive to negative feelings.

Students each take an image from the text of either the gorilla, the kitten or the zookeepers. They discuss the feelings of the character(s) and use the text and the visuals to justify their reasons for nominating the feeling. To help students organise their thoughts, present a proforma (see Proforma 1 Analysing Texts).

  • Who is involved?
  • What is happening?
  • How are they feeling?
  • How do you know?

Assessment: The teacher listens for language structures that include the conjunction because, or complex sentences that help link the identified feeling to the reasoning.
Helpful hint: It is sometimes easier to analyse students' use of grammatical patterns after the lesson. Students voices could be recorded on a digital device or the teacher could transcribe students' oral responses for later analysis.


Students will have different degrees of oral language proficiency. Model sentence structures to show cause and effect. Include sentences with the conjunction because (e.g. The gorilla was pleased because she had a friend). Include sentences with adverbials (e.g. When the gorilla saw the kitten, she held out her hand).

Flashcards with colour coded words may be used to support students' understanding of sentence level grammar.

Links across the curriculum

Health and Physical Education Practise personal and social skills to interact with others (Content description VCHPEP060)

Personal and Social Capability Extend their vocabulary through which to recognise and describe emotions and when, how and with whom it is appropriate to share emotions (Content description VCPSCSE008)

Critical and Creative Thinking Capability Examine words that show reasons and words that show conclusions (Content description VCCCTR004)

Compare and contrast information and ideas in own and others reasoning (Content description VCCCTR005)

Consider how reasons and examples are used to support a point of view and illustrate meaning (Content description VCCCTR006)