Lesson Plan:

Caption Illustration! Say It With A Drawing

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December 31, 1969
by Byron Delcomb
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December 31, 1969
by Byron Delcomb

Learning Objectives

Students will illustrate a picture and create a caption for it as it relates to a nonfiction text.


Introduction (10 minutes)

  • Describe a detailed nonfiction setting to your class.
  • As you begin, have your students visualize your description.
  • Have students choose an image and list a fact that they will use in a sentence. A sentence frame for students could be something like: “In this picture, there is an animal crate. People often keep their animals in them while they are away."
  • Explain that such sentences are captions: brief explanations that provide detailed information about a picture.
  • Have several students share their sentences to the class.
  • Share the Learning Objective.

Explicit Instruction/Teacher Modeling (15 minutes)

  • Show three teacher-prepped stick figure drawing or illustrations with captions on the Caption Illustration! worksheet related to a current piece of nonfiction text that the class has recently reviewed. (One should be lacking in quality, one should be of good quality, and one should be of outstanding quality.)
  • Ask how the captions are alike and different.
  • Ask and note what they think makes a good caption versus a fantastic caption.
  • Fill in notes of student responses on the Captioned Illustration! rubric chart. An example of a student response might be something like: "There is a bouquet of roses. It might be Valentine's Day because roses are traditionally given as a sign of affection."
  • Explain that a "rubric" is a chart that explains features of work for meeting clear expectations.

Guided Practice/Interactive Modeling (10 minutes)

  • Provide 3-5 pictures that everyone should be able to recognize from a sample nonfiction text that does not have captions.
  • Group students in pairs or threes.
  • Ask that your students discuss and write a fantastic caption for each picture using the fantastic caption criteria list.
  • Share 3-5 student models and compare them with student comments on how some captions are alike and different. (Are they alike and different in the same ways? How or how not?)

Independent Working Time (20 minutes)

  • Tell students they will now draw and caption their own pictures from a nonfiction text selection recently reviewed by the class.
  • They will perform this task on the Caption Illustration! worksheet. They should strive to have fantastic captions as noted on the fantastic caption criteria list.
  • Review and clarify any class work time expectations and begin.



Below Level:

Above Level:

Have early finisher and advanced students draft a (+ + ) Exceeding Expectations column for the Captioned Pictures Rubric Chart and re-evaluate their work Have students add more details to their picture with 3-4 highly detailed sentence captions.

Technology Integration

Overhead projectors, document projectors, or digitally projected pictures and lesson materials may optimize presentation.



Teachers can assess by walking around the room, doing brief student check-ins, asking probing questions about student work, and referring them to the Captioned Pictures rubric chart to self-monitor their progress. (Assessment embedded during Independent Work Time.)

Review and Closing (10 minutes)

  • Review the Learning Objective.
  • Review the class-informed Captioned Pictures rubric chart.
  • Have 3-5 volunteers share work.
  • Have all students give themselves a grade and hand in their work.
  • Teachers may review the work later for detailed habits of work.

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