English Language Arts
Material Type:
Assessment, Lesson Plan
Middle School
  • Lesson Plan
  • Narrative Writing
  • narrative-writing
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial
    Media Formats:

    Education Standards

    "A Defining Moment" Photo Journal

    "A Defining Moment" Photo Journal


    This is a lesson plan to end a unit on Narrative.  During the unit, students came up with a time in their lives that was significant ("a defining moment") and will tell their stories digitally -- through a photo journal using Google docs. The lesson is a remix of Google's Applied Digital Skills lesson "Create a Photo in Google Docs". 



    In this 50-minute synchronous lesson, students will begin to create the skeleton of their "A Defining Moment" photo journal. This lesson goes along with our Narrative unit. 


    Background for Teachers

    To teach this lesson, you will need an understanding of narrative techniques, including plot structure and story elements. The learning intention is for students to showcase their comprehensive knowledge of narration through a photo journal. The theme of the story is "A Defining Moment" from their lives, told through at least 7 pages.  

    Tech-wise, you'll need an understanding of how to utilize Google documents (the platform for the photo journal) and how to add a Google LTI into your Canvas course.


    Step 1 - Goals and Outcomes


    Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences.

    Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. 

    Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and present the relationships between information and ideas efficiently as well as to interact and collaborate with others.


    Learning Intentions & Success Criteria

    • I will... create a digial photo journal based on a "defining moment" from my life.
    • So I can...produce a narrative to develop real experiences, using effective technique, descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences.
    • I'll know I have it digital photo journal is complete. 

    Step 2 - Planning Instruction

    Step 2 Planning Instruction

    Student Background Knowledge (Content)

    Student background knowledge will have been activiated throughout the unit. This is a culminating project, so students will have alerady come up with the topic -- a "defining moment" from their lives to write about. Students, also, will have already learned about plot structure and narrative techniques at this point.

    Student Knowledge (Tools)

    All students will need to have an understanding of how to use Google docs. They will also need to know how to access the assignment through Canvas, our Learning Managment System. 

    Strategies for Diverse Learners

    * If needed, struggling students can work with a [precision-partnered] peer to accomplish the task.
    * More advanced students can use Adobe Spark as their medium.
    * Students who need more time to finish the project will receive the accommodation of a later due date.

    Step 3 - Instruction

    Step 3 Instruction

    Show Success Criteria: Share example of a finished digital photo journal (a student example or teacher-created example).

    Brainstorm what makes a good digital story. Go over rubric.

    Give students time to create their "defining moment" photo journals.

    Circulate the room, answer questions, and formatively assess throughout the period.

    Check-in to see who needs more time and how much more time. (Homework? Next day?)

    Presentations TBD (Whole class? In groups?)]

    Step 4 - Assessments

    Step 4 Assessments




    Create a Personal Narrative

    • IDEAS: Story is concise and focused.


    • SENTENCE FLUENCY: Narrator uses a variety of sentence structures.


    • WORD CHOICE: Narrator uses descriptive, detailed words to express meaning. 


    • VOICE: There is definitely a human character behind the words/narration. 


    • ORGANIZATION: Story is told in a logical sequence. 


    • PRESENTATION: Story is clean, formatted well, and free of grammatical errors. 


    Photo Journal Requirements

    5 pts.

    Photo Journal is complete with 7-10 sequence events (pages) including text and images for each event.

    2 pts.

    Photo Journal is incomplete, but includes some elements of sequenced events, text, and images.

    0 pts.

    No Photo Journal was created.



    3 pts.

    Photo Journal was shared with the class.