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Writing a personal memoir with the help of VTS

Lesson Plan

Teacher: Ms. Santellano and Ms. Bennett

Date: 12/1/16 & 12/6/16

Overview of Visual Thinking Strategies

Teachers will enhance the writing abilities of the students by facilitating classroom discussion about
works of art. VTS is a strategy used by teachers that helps students work on finding evidence based
answers. In this activity the teacher will show a piece of art that relates to the activity or subject that
they are learning about. Then the teacher will ask the students what they see is happening in the
picture and the students will answer with assumptions based on evidence that they see in the art

Education Standards

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


-Establish a situation and introduce a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that
unfolds naturally.

-Use dialogue and descriptions of actions, thoughts, and feelings to develop experiences and events
or show the response of characters to situations.


-Use temporal words and phrases to signal event order.


-Provide a sense of closure.

1. The students will make evidence based assumptions of an art piece using VTS.
2. Using VTS strategies, the students will gain the tools to help them with
descriptive writing.
3. Students will work on a section of their memoir using descriptive words they
came up with relating to the picture they took.
4. The students will feel the freedom to work amongst their peers and not the
pressure to be perfect and also gives them a chance to work with someone they
arent use to working with.

Materials Needed
1. Paper
2. Iphone cameras
3. Printer

Day 1:
(~15 minutes) We will have the students VTS two different art pieces.

(~15 minutes) We will then explain to the students that by just looking at a picture you
can get a lot of detail out of it that you originally didn't see. From there we are going to
show students picture that we took and have them briefly help us create descriptive
words and form sentences.

(~30 minutes) We will then have the students brainstorm with their partners about
meaningful memories that they had at school. If they have a meaningful memory that's
not at school they want to write about then with their partners brainstorm about things
that are at school that might remind them of that memory. After they know what they
will write about we will explain to the students that to take a meaningful photo you have
to take a picture of a main object or theme that is in their memory. Having them think
about the main object in the memory will help them focus their writing and have a more
specific topic. This will eliminate confusing pieces of writing that will change topics
randomly. We will Then have them take two pictures of anything in the classroom or
right outside of the class that relates to the memory they have.

Day 2:

(~20 minutes) We will refresh the students memories about our pictures and
paragraphs that we did as a class and then pass out the pictures to the class. THe
students will then work in partners to come up with a minimum of 5 descriptive words
about their pictures. Can be done on butcher paper with photos on top - gives students
creative space rather than writing on a piece of notebook paper.

(~40 minutes) Students will then use the descriptive words that they came up with to
write 5 sentences about their first picture then if they finish early they can start working
on their second picture. We will then ask for volunteers in the class to share their
pictures and the paragraphs they have come up with to go with the pictures they have
chosen, if times allows.