Lesson Plan

Inspiring Writers Through Photographs

Students will love using visual images to spark creative writing!
Tamara L.
ITRT - Instructional Technology Resource Teacher
Hanover County Public Schools
Ashland, United States
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My Subjects English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, Arts

This App Flow provides students the opportunity to photograph the world around them and use the images to spark creative writing.  Using a variety of websites and apps, students can share their creative thoughts through blogging.

Students will be able to...

  • Access websites to analyze photographs for story creation potential.
  • Capture, transfer, and upload photographs taken on a digital device.
  • Communicate thoughts through digital writing in a blog format.
  • Edit and enhance digital writing by inserting photos in a blog format.
  • Reflect on their creative writing journey through an online poll.
English Language Arts
Grades 3 – 12
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

Introduce lesson with Edmodo by logging into your class group and inserting this website link into a Note. Direct students to click on the link and view photos, thinking about which photos spark their imaginations for storytelling.  Students can reply to the Edmodo note to share their insights.

*NOTE*  Prior to lesson, create an Edmodo group for your class and add website link.  Share code with students so they can set up an Edmodo account and join your group.

2 Direct Instruction

Introduce or review the concept of blogging using this video link on BrainPOP.  Explain to students that they will be sharing their creative writing stories on a blog, but will use their own photos for inspiration.  Discuss the differences between blog types (photo blog, video blog, etc.) and explain that this blog will be focused on showcasing their creative writing skills. 

3 Guided Practice

If needed, show students how to take photos with a digital device.  If your district has a BYOD policy, this is a GREAT opportunity to build a lesson incorporating students' personally owned devices.  Students will need to download the Dropbox app, or have the app loaded to school owned devices such as iPads and/or tablets.

Have students take a photo of something around the school that sparks a story in their mind, similar to images they saw on the website in the "Hook" section.  Model for students how to upload photos from their device's camera roll into the Dropbox app.  This will allow students to transfer pictures from their digital device to a laptop or computer.  

*NOTE* Prior to lesson, create a Dropbox account for your class and share the login/password with students or log in to the Dropbox account on school owned devices. 

If Dropbox is blocked by your district's filter, you can also transfer images using Google Drive or email depending on the device settings.

4 Independent Practice

Free to try, Paid

Provide students the link to your Kidblog and have students login using a laptop or computer (see NOTE at the bottom of this section for more details about setting up student Kidblog accounts.)  While there is a Kidblog app available, the web version is easier to use for typing and adding media.  Model for students how to create a new post, drawing attention to the various editing features of font color/size, spell check, etc.  Show them how to add tags and categories.  Distinguish the difference between Save Draft and Publish.  

Before students begin writing, show them how to import their photo from Dropbox.  Students will go to the web version of Dropbok (http://www.dropbox.com) and use the class account information to login (see directives in Guided Practice).  Direct them to find their photo and download it to their laptop/computer.  Then have them return to the Kidblog website and select Upload/Insert Media and select file.  Students can then adjust the size of the photo as needed.

After importing the photo, briefly review the basic requirements of a creative writing story (Setting, Characters, Conflict, Resolution).  Remind students that the photo they added should directly correlate with their creative writing story.  Also remind students to add a Title.

When finished, students may click Publish to have their story available for viewing on the class Kidblog.

*NOTE* Prior to lesson, complete the following tasks:

  1. Create a Kidblog site for your students and adjust Settings to your comfort level (i.e. public vs. private blog, requiring approval for posts and comments, etc.)  To add students you can either create student accounts yourself with a generic password (i.e. Logins are Student 1, Student 2, Student 3 with all passwords as the school acronym which they can change when they login) or under Settings, share the Class Signup Code and have them create their own accounts.  You can also personalize your Kidblog site by changing options under General, Themes, and Widgets.
  2. Under Review Posts > Categories, create a list of blogging categories if you would like to have students write about various genres (i.e. realistic fiction, fantasy, science fiction, etc.)

5 Wrap-Up

Google Drive
Free, Paid

To close out this creative writing lesson, have students reflect on the various aspects of this lesson (i.e. taking photo, uploading/downloading photo, digital writing, etc.) by completing a survey on Google Drive.  This will provide valuable feedback for the classroom teacher on how to reteach or extend aspects of this lesson related to the objectives stated.

*NOTE* Prior to lesson, create a Google Form including questions that will provide information you want to know about your students' learning process in this lesson.  Make the first question on the poll their name and the second question their class block (if doing this lesson with several different classes).