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Lesson Plan

Utilizing Visual Images for Creating and Conveying Setting in Written Text

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Utilizing Visual Images for Creating and Conveying Setting in Written Text

Grades 3 – 6
Lesson Plan Type Recurring Lesson
Estimated Time Two 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Kathleen E.S. Church

New Hartford, Connecticut


National Council of Teachers of English



Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice



Setting is an essential element of literature for both readers and writers.  The aim of this lesson is to help young writers effectively communicate the concept of setting in narrative writing to their readers through the use of visual image prompts (photographs).  The students are first asked to describe the setting of their photograph.  Then, through the process of sharing, attempting to replicate the images through drawing after hearing their partner's description, and conferencing with a partner, students decide if their word choice, literal and inferential descriptions, and details accurately conveyed the setting to their audience. This lesson is meant to be an introduction to setting, which could be followed up with more intensive instruction through a literature unit or writing assignment.


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Visual images for students selected from National Geographic Kids Photo Galleries: Students use images from this gallery to communicate the concept of setting.

Doodle Splash Student Interactive: Students use this interactive to recreate a preexisting image.


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Our students live in a world where information comes to them in visual and auditory form much more frequently than in written form.  Thus it is not surprising to see evidence that they sometimes have difficulty making the connection, via imagination, between written word and the experience that it represents.  Students have difficulty telling about or drawing accurate pictures of the setting of stories they have read.  They have even more difficulty creating their own description without lapsing into fuzzy abstractions and clichés.  Photographs can become subject matter for talking about and writing as well as exemplars for writing.  This lesson allows students to explore setting through photography and explain their reasoning and connections.


Further Reading

Lesesne, Teri. "Finding the Thread: Character, Setting, and Theme." Voices from the Middle 8.1 (September 2000):78-84.

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