OPTIC Workshop
Important Things To Know:
•OPTICs are about evaluating visual sources
•I won’t grade you on getting the “right answer” – different
interpretations are OK!
•I will grade you on:
• Historical accuracy
• How you explain your answer
• Make an argument: answer the question “What does this
mean?” and explain why (using OPTI)
•Imagine the grader doesn’t know history
Part 1: The students will list components of
the document using OPTICS.
Part 2: Draw a conclusion using all
components of OPTICS and a personal
1. Overview
1 1. Overview
2. Parts
1 2. Parts
3. Title, Caption, Words
3. Title, Caption, Words
4. Interrelationships
4. Interrelationships
5. Personal analysis of reliability
5. Personal inference
TOTAL SCORE: ________ / 10
Overview: Give a brief overview of the visual – a short, descriptive onesentence summary about the visual. Be sure to include a historical
•Parts: Focus on the parts of the visual – divide it into parts and examine
each part separately. List the details that seem important.
•Titles, Words, Captions: What is the visual’s title, and what does it have
to say about the visual? What does the caption or source say about the
author, artist, or creator? What words are in the visual, and why might
they be important?
•Interrelationships: What big umbrella concept connects the whole
visual? How do the parts connect, or relate to each other?
•Reliability: How reliable is this visual? Who created it, and why might
that affect the visual’s message?
•Part 2:
•Conclusion: Draw a conclusion about the visual as a whole,
summarizing it in a paragraph. What does it mean? Explain the meaning
of the visual using your details from OPTI as evidence. (“This visual is
___________ because ___________”)
Part 2: Drawing a Conclusion
•Overview: Start your conclusion with a one-sentence
description—what is the image?. Make sure it includes a
historical overview.
• Think like you’re writing a thesis statement
• Include
• what the visual is (a tapestry, a stone carving, a painting, etc.),
• what is depicted
• historical context (when it happened)
“This rock art from the Tasilli-n-Ajjer mountain range in the
Sahara was drawn by a member of a nomadic tribe to
represent their hunter-gatherer lifestyle.”
Part 2: Drawing a Conclusion
•Parts: Describe important details from the visual and
how they support your conclusion.
•“This detail represents ________” or
“This part looks like this because __________”
“Human figures are depicted wielding bows and arrows,
representing members of the tribe hunting a herd of
cattle, grouped together at the bottom of the rock.
Other human figures are seen bending over because
they are gathering plants or another food source.”
Part 2: Drawing a Conclusion
•Titles, Words, Captions: What does the title, caption or
source say about the author, artist, or creator? What words
are in the visual, and why might they be important?
“Because this Saharan rock art dates to 7000 b.c.e., it was
created in the middle of the Neolithic Revolution. However,
the invention and cultural diffusion of agriculture around the
world took thousands of years, so the tribe depicted may not
have discovered it yet.”
Remember to answer if the visual is reliable – otherwise
you can’t get this point!!!
Part 2: Drawing a Conclusion
•Interrelationships: What big umbrella concept
connects the whole visual? Use the title and parts.
How do they relate to each other?
“The divisions of humans into hunting and gathering
groups, as well as the human figures drawn running
after cattle, indicate that the society depicted was
nomadic, following packs of animals that they hunted
for a food source.”
Part 2: Drawing a Conclusion
•Personal inference: This is a very important step—it’s where you
tie everything together. What does this image tell us about the
time period when it was created? Include outside knowledge.
Think hard about this – theorize.
“This visual demonstrates how the Neolithic revolution was a
gradual process. The invention of agriculture led nomadic groups
to settle in one place and develop more complicated societies,
eventually creating the first civilizations near river valleys. This was
a gradual change over thousands of years, and not all societies
invented or picked up agriculture. The society that drew this
picture probably left it as a record of their nomadic, huntergatherer lifestyle as they passed through the area.”
A Few Final Thoughts
•Be specific!
• If you make an argument about a part of the visual, explain
• Watch for historical accuracy
• If you say something historically inaccurate, you can’t score
points from it
• Paleolithic vs. Neolithic (8000 bce)
•Be confident in your point
• No “I,” “I think,” “This may be,” “like”
•You can do it! Mr. Storck believes in you! :D