21st Century Integration Model

Title: What's a Picture Worth?
Subject: Language Arts
Grade Level: 3 through 5
See Dog Days of School, an
example of digital story telling.

Lesson Summary

The act of creative writing can be so much more powerful when students have visuals to connect to their stories. This lesson involves using hard copy pictures to paste onto paper along with captions to create a visual story or photo-essay. However, another way to create a photo-essay is with the free and easy to use software, Microsoft Photo Story. Have students use the image search in netTrekker to save a multitude of pictures into a folder. The students can then pick particular images from the selected set and import them into Photo Story. They then must weave a story based on a writing prompt and their pictures through the process of creative writing. Using Photo Story, they can write in captions or, if a microphone is available, they can narrate the pictures with their own voices. Last they can apply background music for that dramatic quality and save it as a video. Also known as digital storytelling, this method brings to life the creative process.

Original Lesson Plan

Original Objectives

Students will be able to: understand the purpose of a photo essay; sequence a series of events; understand the format in creating a photo essay which includes a caption for each picture; complete a photo essay as a creative activity by using photos, magazine pictures or drawings to illustrate a story; and read and enjoy a photo essay.

21st Century Skills Integration Objective(s)

Student will demonstrate ICT Literacy through the proper use of iCurio and Photo Story. Student will demonstrate critical thinking skills by developing a creative writing Photo Story.


  1. Before lesson: Begin by downloading and installing Microsoft Photo Story 3 on all student computers that will be utilized for this lesson. Once installed, launch it and familiarize yourself with the application, using the tutorial, Using Microsoft Photo Story 3 if desired.
  2. Create a folder on the student computers for each student's photo-essay images.
  3. Lesson Extension: When you are ready to begin the lesson, have the students login to iCurio. Check to make sure every student is on the elementary page before they begin searching. Instruct the students to do a keyword search on "writing prompts", and have them select the resource titled "Boggle's World: Creative Writing Worksheets". Students can use any of the writing prompts listed for their essays.
  4. Next, have the students click on the image search and allow them to explore for images.
  5. Teach them how to save their desired images into the folder created in step 2.
  6. Once the students have enough images saved, they can begin using Photo Story 3 by importing the images into the software. Instruct them on how to edit them and how to click and drag the images into the order they prefer.
  7. Using the back and next buttons (located at the bottom of the screen), they can navigate the different steps and add captions, narration, music, or motion.
  8. Remind the students to save the project as they work, just in case. When finished, have them continue to the last step and save it as a video into their folder (located on the student computer).
  9. To conclude the lesson, have the students present their photo-essays to the class.