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Strategy: Use photos to tell a story

I often have my students bring in photographs of them at special times in their lives in order to help them spark their memory (and write a small moment story.) I discourage them from bringing in posed family portraits since, unless you got into a fist-fight with your little sister before the snapshot at Sears, there’s nothing too exciting about posed portraits.

I wouldn’t necessarily use my bridal shower, which occurred yesterday, as a demonstration for my students, but I’m going to use it as a demo so you can see how multiple photographs (not just one) can help you start an entry in a notebook or a story about a small moment in time.

This was the first thing I saw when I walked into my Shower.

My mom and I arrived in Stamford a bit early for the shower. I was asked to wait outside since something was getting set up for me. When I walked in I found that there was a cupcake tree (YUM!!!! One of my favorite desserts!) awaiting my arrival. However, the cupcakes had fallen off of the tree a few times, so they wanted me to pose for a picture before the fell again. (Right after the photo was taken, they were all placed on a paper plate, which had a gown and tux on it.)

During lunch Lori made sure that everyone placed their completed recipe card on the coffee table. A few people began to sign the sign-in plate that Linda bought for me.

Lori (my Matron of Honor) and Linda (my future mother-in-law) led a game about how well Marc and I know each other. Apparently, we did pretty well, but our answers weren’t always the same! Hmmmmm… (That’s a whole other story.)

Emily included a photo of us when we were 15 and 17 (I’m older) in one of the photo coasters she got me.

There was even a personalized recipe box for our new recipes!

My Mom completed our table linens.

I even received a Danish Pancake Pan!!!! (Yum! I can’t wait to make jam-filled or chocolate chip-filled pancakes asap!)

Carrie helped me with the gift opening….

…Margie created a lovely hat for me to wear.

Marcela created this wonderful display, on Lori’s Dining Room Table, of all of the gifts I received at my shower.

This is Marc’s Cousins’ wife, Jo-Anne, and his Aunt Barbara who were guests at the shower.

Lori made some scrumptious desserts for everyone to enjoy! (And I did! You don’t have to invite me twice to get me to eat a chocolate covered strawberry!)

My mother and I join forces when we play the “List as many songs as you can that have the word love, or its derivation, in the title.” We didn’t win a prize though since we only had five songs between the both of us.

I sneak into the hallway to reapply my lipstick before taking some posed photos. I didn’t think anyone was on to my beauty routine. Obviously I was mistaken.

We’re all wearing some sort of brown (espresso brown is the main color at my wedding)! My mom is on the left and my future mother-in-law, Linda, is on the right.

Why did I decide to hold up this sign-in plate for the photo? I really have no idea!??!?!

Carrie urged me to put the plate down. I did. Then we took a more normal photo. These are four of my six bridesmaids. Two weren’t at the shower yesterday since one was moving and the other was in a play.

We’re all kids at heart! Lori wanted us to pretend like we were Charlie’s Angels. We did. (My Dad thinks this photo is really silly. I think silly is good!)

Marcela, Lori and Emily took it a step further and did a GLAM GIRLS pose.

And now Emily, me, Carrie and Marcela are deep in thought a la Rodin.

A lawyer and a teacher –> HOW OLD ARE WE!??!?

After everyone signed the plate, I decided to add a few finishing touches to the plate before I went home and baked it. I wanted to add the wedding date, details about when this plate was signed, etc.

So now that I have all of this… what would I do next?
OPTION A: Well, I can take all of these snippets and try to pick just one photograph and write long about it.
OPTION B: I could use this as a demo in my classroom, but I’m not sure I would at the beginning of the school year… depends how much you want your kids to get to know you. I could show my students how to tell a sequential story using all of these.
OPTION C: Personally, I’d write a notebook entry about each of these and then try to develop one that entry into a personal narrative.

Stacey Shubitz View All

I am a literacy consultant who has spent over a decade working with teachers to improve the teaching of writing in their classrooms. While I work with teachers and students in grade K-6, I'm a former fourth and fifth-grade teacher so I have a passion for working with upper elementary students.

I'm the author of Craft Moves (Stenhouse Publishers, 2016) and the co-author of Jump Into Writing (Zaner-Bloser, 2021), Welcome to Writing Workshop (Stenhouse Publishers, 2019), and Day By Day (Stenhouse, 2010).

One thought on “Strategy: Use photos to tell a story Leave a comment

  1. love, love, love this. i can’t way to post mine — but gotta wait ’til i’m back on line at school with fast ‘net! (i have a series of photos of my little guy back in january — i took them over a 15 minute time span & they prove what a busy boy he really is! still . . . your post inspires me to do this again.)

    btw — totally love your dress! 🙂


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