Writing Lesson W4: Looking for Options

Lesson: Looking for Options
Time: About 50 minutes
Objective: Students explore several options for writing a story and then follow through on the most promising one

Writers know that the first idea isn’t always the best one.  In this lesson, students are challenged to come up with three different ideas for writing about the current Mystery Picture.  They then follow through by writing a story based on the option they think has the most potential.


1.  Share the most current Mystery Picture with students.  It can be found by clicking on the Top Link Mystery Images and then on the Mystery Image link near the bottom of the page.

2.  Ask students what the image is about.  Student responses must include setting, a character, and a source of conflict.  For example:

  • This picture is about a middle-aged artist from Pennsylvania who suddenly discovers that she can no longer paint anything except trees.
  • Or, this picture is about a boy from India who woke up every night just in time to see the shadow of an unusual insect crawl across his window.

3.  You can generate ideas like this during a class discussion or you can ask students, after a couple of examples, to generate lists of their own.

4.  Students record the three ideas they think have the most story potential.  Then, they write a 10-20 sentence story based on one of the ideas.

Download Student Response Sheet for this Lesson:  Looking for Options

Comments about this lesson or ideas for extending it are welcome below.

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