Beacon Lesson Plan Library

A Picture is Worth a Fantastic Story

Elaine Padgett


Students select one of the photographs they have taken of friends, pets, parents or objects and write a story. The photos provide visual prompts and a supportive framework for their writing.


The student writes stories about experiences, people, objects, or events.


-Writing paper
-A pencil for each student
-Chart paper
-Individual student dictionaries
-Art paper (Construction Paper)
-File folders with pocket


1. Create a letter requesting paarental permission for photography project (see Associated File)
2. Purchase disposable cameras.
3. Send cameras home for students to take photographs.(Teacher does this activity, too.)
4. Develop film when cameras are returned.
5. Label a folder with each student's name.
6. Sort pictures and place in individual student writing folder.
7. Gather all other materials listed in materials section.


1. Prior to this writing lesson, students and teacher take home disposable cameras and take pictures of pets, friends, parents, toys and other objects of interest. Teacher has film developed. This activity is done during the last month of school. If disposable cameras are not available, the teacher could supply photos made with a digital camera or have the students bring photos from home. Remind the students that they are already using beginning, middle and end in their writing and to apply this skill in writing this story.

2. Gather students around for a large group activity.

3. Choose a photograph from teacher file.

4. Allow the students to observe the teacher-made photograph.

5. Students make observations about the photograph.

6. The teacher writes a story on chart paper using student input, deomonstrating a beginning, middle and end.

7. Students return to their seats.

8. Hand out individual writing folders, which contain pictures taken by student.

9. Explain that you are giving them a piece of writing paper.

10. Each student selects a photograph from his or her writing folder.

11. Remind students that writers think about what they want to write before they begin.

12. Encourage students to make a list of ideas and thoughts they want to include in their story.

13. As students begin to write, circulate around the room to assist if needed.

14. After students write their stories, they may work with a friend to reread and revise their stories. The teacher also works with individuals or small groups to help them revise their stories.

15. Stories are glued to art paper with related photo after revisions

16. Allow students to share their work in small groups.

17. Repeat steps 10-16 until stories have been written about all photographs.

18. Mount each studentís photos and stories in individual booklet form as a finished project

19. Evaluate each childís booklet.


Formatively assess writing of story by observing student's writings to make sure:
-Writing relates effectively to the selected photograph.
-Story has a beginning, middle and end with some details.


After the students have written and published a story about each photograph they have taken, the pictures are mounted on art paper along with the stories, then compiled into booklet form. The students will select the story they think is the "best" work in the booklet and tell why they think it is the best.

Web Links

Have film developed and access photos online at this site.

Attached Files

Sample Parental Permission Form     File Extension: pdf

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