Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Classified Clues

Deborah Shaw


Using classified advertisements, students work in groups to draw conclusions and make inferences about the writer of the ad and to whom the ad may appeal.


The student makes inferences and generalizations about what is read.


-Plant that is dead or dying
-Table/desk for displaying dead plant where all students have a good view
-Overhead projector or chalkboard
-Overhead projector pens
-Blank transparency for recording answers during discussion
-Transparency with inference definition (See Preparations)
-Copy of classified ad (ex: garage sale) on overhead transparency
-Copies of classified ads (enough for each group of students to have two different ads)
-Copies of Classified Clues worksheet, one per student (See Associated File)
-Pencil or pens
-Index cards (optional)
-Glue (optional)


1. Collect classified ads from newspapers that contain lots of information that would give clues to who wrote the ad and who might read the ad. Clip and separate into categories (garage sales, employment, buying and selling, etc. (Option: glue ads onto index cards)
2. Choose a classified ad with lots of information that would give clues to the person who wrote the ad (example: Moving Sale - baby clothes, tools, furniture, etc.) and put on transparency.
3. Make a transparency with inference definition in bold type and easily readable.
4. Find a dead or dying plant and bring into classroom.
5. Print out the Classified Clues worksheet. (See Associated File)
6. Make copies of Classified Clues worksheet for each student. (See Associated File)


1. Place dead or dying plant on table or desk in plain view for all students to see.

2. Go back and sit down and start staring at the plant for about one minute. (Students should start staring at the plant along with you, if not, direct them too.)

3. After one or two minutes, generate discussion by asking students what they can tell you about the plant. (Answers should include, it’s dead, brown, in a pot, etc.)

4. Write their responses on the blank overhead or chalkboard.

5. After five or six responses, ask students why the plant is dead or dying.

6. Write five or six reasons on the transparency or chalkboard.

7. Ask students if we really know why this plant died? (No) Lead into discussion about how we used the information in front of us to come to our own conclusion about the plant.

8. Explain that this is called making an inference.

9. Display transparency with definition of inference. Read definition and lead into discussion about how we make inferences every day. (For example: forming an opinion when we first meet new people, walk into a new place, watch people in the mall, looking at a new food before tasting, etc.)

10. Put transparency of classified ad on overhead. Read to class.

11. Ask questions such as, “What can you tell about the ad?,” “Who may have placed it?,” “Who may read and answer the ad?,” etc. Point out the clues or information in the ad that helps to answer these questions.

12. Underline these clues. Continue discussion by restating that we draw conclusions or make inferences about things everyday based on information that is presented.

13. Have students break into groups of two.

14. Hand each group a copy of two different classified ads (several groups can use the same ads if necessary) and each student a copy of the Classified Clues worksheet. (See Associated File)

15. Instruct students to read the ads, find the generalizations or clues and use the clues to make inferences to complete the worksheet. Students are successful when: a) three clues or generalizations are listed, and b) appropriate inferences are noted for both ads.


Students are formatively assessed after completing the Classified Clues worksheet. Students make generalizations from the ad and state those as clues on the worksheet. Students then use the generalizations or clues to make inferences about the ad.

Students are successful when:
-three clues or generalizations are listed, and
-appropriate inferences are noted for both ads on the completed worksheet.


After completing the Classified Clues worksheet (See Associated File), students can work independently to write their own classified ad, making sure that each ad contains specific generalizations or clues that can be used when making inferences.

Attached Files

This file contains the Classified Clues worksheet.     File Extension: pdf

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