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What Are They Saying? Teaching Dialogue with Photos

Students are usually acquainted with dialogue in narrative writing from the first story they are read as a toddler. However, writing dialogue effectively to enhance a story can be a complicated skill to master. In this activity, students will practice developing and writing dialogue to convey a story.

write-about-this-categoriesThe Activity

Have students find a picture in the Write About This app that shows two-three people (or even animals!) in a potential conversation situation. If they can’t find a picture they like, students can pose for a photo in a Custom Prompt to be the basis for their writing. In this case, emphasize that they can show different facial expressions and use body language to help convey a potential story for the characters.

Once a picture is selected, instruct students to write a dialogue between the individuals in the picture that tells an interesting story.
Key Questions for the Writing Response

  1. What are the personalities of the characters in your picture? How can you convey these personality traits through dialogue?
  2. Is there a conflict or dilemma for the characters? What can make your dialogue dynamic?
  3. Is your punctuation for the dialogue correct? Does the dialogue sound natural and authentic to the characters?

The Product

Students will use the audio recording feature of the Write About This app and “act” out their written dialogue in audio format with the help of their classmates. These can be shared with the class in conjunction with showing the image. Fellow students will see the creativity of their peers in how they developed a story from the image.

What’s Next?
Supplementary extension activities can include:

  • Have students use the dialogue they wrote as inspiration for a fully written story.
  • Have students act out their written dialogue in front of the class.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.3b Use dialogue and description to develop experiences and events or show the responses of characters to situations.

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