Writing Inferences

feelings for writing inferences

This is a great game to stimulate “SHOW DON’T TELL” thinking and also gives listeners an opportunity to make inferences.

Making inferences is a difficult skill for many students.  This game teaches students how to write their own descriptive actions.  The actions help the reader know how the character is feeling.

Having student write these descriptive actions to imply a feeling strengthens their ability to detect descriptive clues in passages that they read.

Short Teaching Video

Show your students this 6 minute video that teaches the concept of making inferences.

Common Core State Standards

Note that his game can address the following Common Core Standards:  CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.2.3, W.3.3.B, W.4.3.B and W.5.3.B

Show Don’t Tell

“Show don’t tell” is a common phrase used when teaching children how to write.  It means that students describe how a character feels by writing the characters’ actions rather than telling us their feelings directly.

Playing the Game

First, divide the children into groups of 2-3.  Give each group an emotion on an index card.

one feeling for writing inferences

The children have 5 minutes to write 3 actions that a person would likely do if feeling the emotion on the card.

The actions should be written in sentence form.  Here are samples:

The young girl sat glaring at the ground.

She crossed her arms and shouted.

Then, she walked away without saying a word.

After the 5 minutes.  Each group gets to read their sentences.  The rest of the class has to guess which emotion the actions describe.

(This also creates an opportunity for the listeners to infer which can be a difficult skill for kids in school.)


Here’s a list of emotions that you can use:













Print the Instructions

Here are the instructions for you to print out and use.

Feel free to add ideas of your own!

Writing Prompts

We played this game after writing the Pet on a Porch fantasy prompt.

Pet on a porch-fantasy writing

Check out more guided writing lessons under these genres!


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Personal Narratives

writing inferences in personal narratives

Science Fiction

writing inferences in science fiction