Informative Writing Unit - The Photo Essay

Rated 4.7 out of 5, based on 43 reviews
43 Ratings
Reading and Writing Haven
Formats Included
  • Zip
  • Google Apps™
220 slides + 32 pages + 7 videos
Share this resource
Report this resource to TPT
Reading and Writing Haven
Includes Google Apps™
The Teacher-Author indicated this resource includes assets from Google Workspace (e.g. docs, slides, etc.).

What educators are saying

Student loved the visual representation of the essay and the freedom it allowed them with their informative essays. The step by step guides were amazing to conveying the idea behind the writing.
This is by far the most fun my kids have ever had on a writing assignment. It totally allowed them to show ownership of their writing and be creative. Thank you!


Looking for a way to meaningfully cover ALL the informative writing standards while also engaging students in the writing process? Enter the photo essay! This informative writing unit takes students on a deep dive as they write about a topic that interests them. They may choose to write about their own lives, a social issue they believe in, or a research question that sparks their curiosity.

Aligned with middle and high school informative writing standards, this informative writing unit takes approximately three to four weeks to complete. A suggested pacing guide is included, but your students may need more or less time, depending on how long their essay will be, the length of your class periods, and their readiness levels.

Because this informative writing unit is, specifically, a photo essay, students will be able to take their own pictures or use ethical image research practices to cite fair use photographs from the web. An MLA reference page and quick tutorial are included.

What is a photo essay?

In photojournalism, photo essays are used in place of words to tell a story or convey information. In this ACADEMIC photo essay, students will use images and multimedia to enhance the message of their informative essay, clarifying meaning to aid in comprehension for the audience.


  • Suggested pacing guide
  • PDF download that contains a note for teachers and all the digital links
  • Introduction to informative writing lesson, video, and activity
  • Descriptive writing lesson, video, and activity
  • What is a photo essay? handout
  • Types of photo essays handout
  • Introduction paragraph video lesson
  • Introduction paragraph brainstorming graphic organizer
  • Introduction paragraph rough draft Google Slides
  • Example introduction paragraph
  • Body paragraphs video lesson
  • Body paragraph brainstorming graphic organizer
  • Body paragraph rough draft Google Slides
  • Example body paragraphs
  • Conclusion paragraph video lesson
  • Conclusion paragraph brainstorming graphic organizer
  • Conclusion paragraph rough draft Google Slides
  • Example conclusion paragraph
  • Photo essay final draft template on Google Slides
  • Editable teacher rubric on Google Slides
  • Editable student self-assessment on Google Slides
  • MLA citation format for Works Cited page
  • 2 examples of photo essays

This unit does include some MLA tips, modeling, and examples. However, if citing research is new to your students or if they need more than a refresher, you will want to supplement with targeted MLA lessons.

Please open the preview for this resource for more specific details.


This resource is created for Google Drive™. Google Docs and Google Slides are included. Some of the handouts are included both as Google Drive documents and PDF files. You can use this resource easily with both face to face and remote learning.

A few of the files included are editable, like the rubric, student self-assessment, and one of the example essays. Most of this resource is created so that students can type onto templates. Those are not editable.


The video lessons in this unit are created for descriptive writing organization. However, to challenge students who are ready for the next level, or just to hit a different type of informative writing, you can also use this unit to write in cause and effect and problem and solution formats.

Photos are inspiring! I hope this informational writing unit entices your writers to engage in thoughtful responses that will help you get to know them better and identify areas of strength and those for growth.

Questions? I'd be happy to help. Just drop me a note through Q & A.

Looking for other unique writing activities for your class? Find these popular writing units in my store.

Scaffolded Argumentative Writing Unit

Email Etiquette

Plagiarism Minilesson

Sentence Types Unit

Descriptive Writing: Show, Don't Tell

And more here!

Stay in touch:






A Couple Tips:

* Be sure to click the "follow" button that is located next to my picture so that you can hear about sales and new products!

* By providing feedback on your purchased products, you can earn points, which ultimately translate into cash toward future purchases...bonus! Plus, I'd love to hear from you.

©Reading and Writing Haven

All rights reserved by author.

Duplication limited to single classroom use only.

Electronic distribution limited to single classroom use only.

Total Pages
220 slides + 32 pages + 7 videos
Answer Key
Does not apply
Teaching Duration
1 month
Report this resource to TPT
Reported resources will be reviewed by our team. Report this resource to let us know if this resource violates TPT’s content guidelines.


to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.
Introduce a topic clearly, previewing what is to follow; organize ideas, concepts, and information into broader categories; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., charts, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.
Develop the topic with relevant, well-chosen facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples.
Use appropriate and varied transitions to create cohesion and clarify the relationships among ideas and concepts.
Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to inform about or explain the topic.


Questions & Answers


TPT empowers educators to teach at their best.

More About Us

Keep in Touch!

Sign Up