Making Inferences Using Animated Short Films

Want to start a great class discussion and get students buzzing with inferences? Use short films to get those inferences flowing!

During my first week out of three (and to infinity and beyond) that I focus on teaching students to infer, I try to incorporate many different ways to think about how we make an inference when reading. I like to kickstart each day during that first week with a different short film to get our inferences flowing. Students are given an inference chart and asked to record what they see, what they know, and what they infer. Now, I will say that these are a great tool, but when I first started to use these I had an unrealistic expectation…I thought that students would make their inferences in order from the start. In all actuality, they were more quick to make the inference. I found this discouraging at first, but then I realized that if they had the inference, then it would be my job to get them to think about their thinking, asking them to think about what they saw and what they knew that allowed them to infer at all. I don't change the order of the chart, because it's important  for them to recognize that the process actually happens in the order that the chart is in, and so we talk a lot about how this is helping them to understand the process of their thoughts as they make decisions about the text that they are reading. It's really a rather awesome discussion and by the end of the week, they ARE actually filling out the chart in order. Here are the links to the videos that I use, in the order that I use them.

We start with For the Birds, which students have usually seen at least once. It's fairly easy to infer that the larger bird is being bullied and the small birds don't like him because he's different.

Here's the chart that my students came up with. Again, they definitely had the two inferences immediately, but I had them go back and think about why they were able to make each inference. 

Here's one of our inferences from Geri's Game: 

I think this one is my favorite because it is chock full of inferences. Here's one of the many that my our class came up with: 

This is an inference that my class made about the first part, before the second musician entered the picture.

Since I do this one on our fifth day of this, students have made a lot of progress, which is great because this film is a bit longer and there are so many things that can be inferred when you watch it. I have them do this one entirely on their own for a classwork grade. I'd definitely recommend having several pages ready to fill out, as my students had TONS to share! It was awesome to see how much they had progressed in their understanding of this strategy by day #5! 

If you would like to use the charts and examples that I've shared here, please click on the image below: 



  1. This is all truly wonderful!!!! Thank you sooo much!! The kids are going to love this!!

    1. You're very welcome! I'm really trying to get in more posts about the wonderful things that are happening in my classroom so I plan to be sharing a lot more ideas soon!

  2. This is a great resource thank you. I can't get the link in the image for the charts to work. Is there some way to have them emailed?



  3. What a tremendous resource!

    Thank you!


  4. So I'm FINALLY catching up on reading blog posts, and I'm so glad that I saved this one! We've been working on inferences, and I really want to try this!

    Don't Let the Teacher Stay Up Late

    1. It's a lot of fun! Let me know how it goes if you do try it! :-)


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