Library of Congress

TPS Quarterly

The Library of Congress > Teachers > TPS Program > TPS Quarterly > Learning Activity (Elem. 3-5)

Every Picture Tells a Story


Students analyze a Lewis Hine photograph and use their observations to produce a creative writing piece. Working in pairs, students analyze the photograph before using the bibliographic information to answer their initial questions. Using their observations and imaginations, students create comic strips that describe what happened just before and just after the photograph was taken.


After completing this learning activity, students will be able to:

  • analyze a historical photograph;
  • construct new understandings connected to prior knowledge; and
  • develop characters using dialogue.

Time Required

One 45-minute class period; activity extension idea requires additional class periods.

Recommended Grade Range



Culture, Folklife


Language Arts


Standards & Benchmarks

Historical Understanding

Standard 2. Understands the historical perspective

Language Arts

Standard 1. Benchmark 8. Writes narrative accounts, such as poems and stories (e.g., establishes a context that enables the reader to imagine the event or experience; develops characters, setting, and plot; creates an organizing structure; uses transitions to sequence events; uses concrete sensory details; uses strategies such as dialogue, tension, and suspense; uses an identifiable voice).


Sara Suiter, 2010-11 Library of Congress Teacher-in-Residence, fourth grade teacher from Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom Public Charter School in Washington, DC.

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