September 8, 2015

Through the Keyhole Lesson- My Most Popular Writing Prompt

Teaching students to make inferences is a core component of thinking critically.  Using visual writing prompts encourages students to think divergently, and when given time to look and think about the image, students partake in debate about the meaning of the work.  This goes way beyond, “What do you see?”  It asks students to justify their thoughts and develop a rationale for their response.  Any one of the questions on the reproducible critical thinking worksheets (see below) may become an extended writing assignment.  Yes, very young children can do this, -I’ve done it- it works!

My visual writing prompt, Through the Keyhole, has numerous details to engage students in conversation and thought.  Simply show this image on a Smartboard or use a boxlight to project it.  Follow the guidelines below to use the illustration in class.  Be sure to download and print out the corresponding worksheets.


Through the Keyhole Writing Prompts Lesson Denise Cassano

Through the Keyhole, Denise Cassano,


A girl peers through a keyhole, only to come across her greatest fear.  Is she a victim, or does she find her strength and become a hero? What causes the mysterious shadow- friend or foe? Who is in the mirror?


  • Ask students to look carefully at the image, they may even take notes
  • Use the corresponding worksheets below to guide student interaction
  • Ask students to share their thoughts on the image
  • *Students must explain why they think the way they do.

Print Out Reproducible Worksheets:

Though the Keyhole Critical Thinking Questions

Connect the Dots by Making Inferences

Any one of the questions from the worksheets can be expanded into a more detailed writing assignment.  Students may even write rebuttals, disagreeing with the opinion of another student. Again, he/she must explain why. Encourage different answers and different opinions.  Say, “What if…?” and propose a contrary viewpoint.  Your students will love it.

– Denise Cassano

Want more visual writing prompt illustrations?

Click on the image below and see 15 more writing prompts- start writing!

Writing Prompt Illustrations








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