Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

It's OPTIC-al

Chelsee Wilson | Published: September 16th, 2020 by K20 Center


Cover Image

It's OPTIC-al

This strategy allows students to use observations and inferences to analyze photographs, art, and visuals in the classroom.

It's OPTIC-al


Students use the acronym OPTIC as a graphic organizer to guide them in making observations and inferences when analyzing a visual. This allows them to make connections between the source and the classroom content while also giving them practice evaluating visual documents and sources. 


  1. Have students write the word OPTIC vertically on the left-hand side of a blank sheet of paper as large as possible, as they would with an acrostic.

  2. Provide students with a photograph, artifact, art piece, or other visual that relates to the topic you're teaching.

  3. Have students list the Observations they make about the visual next to O.

  4. Once their observations are listed, have students then list the details they notice (the visual's Parts) next to P on their graphic organizer.

  5. Have students assess the Title of the picture and how it relates to the visual as a whole. If there is no title, have students create one using their observations. They should list this next to T.

  6. Have students determine the Interrelationships of the visual, or how the parts work with one another to convey the artist's message. They should write this next to I.

  7. Have students come to a Conclusion about the visual to write next to C, identifying the time period, importance, message, etc., in this section.

Effinger, S. (2016). O.P.T.I.C. Retrieved from