Activity: Visual Writing Prompts

This activity supports Common Core in English Language Arts — CCR Anchor Standards for Writing – CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.3. Inspired by Daily Teaching Tools and Visual Writing Prompts.

Grade level: Appropriate for all grade levels.

Duration: One class period.


Use historic photographs – perhaps portraits or action scenes – from Recollection Wisconsin to inspire creative writing activities with the following prompts, or invent your own prompts. To locate photographs that will inspire creative contributions from your students, try our thematic boards on Pinterest:

Suggested visual writing prompts

  • This individual just had the best day of his or her life. Write about the events of his or her day.
  • You have to spend a day babysitting this child. What do you do to keep him or her occupied?
  • Describe where these people will be in 5 years (as a group or individually).
  • Describe an average day in this individual’s life.
  • If this individual was a character from a book, who would he or she be and why?
  • By day, this individual is a normal person. By night, he or she is a monster. What does this monster look like? Where does it live, what does it eat, and what does it do?
  • By day, this individual is a normal person. By night, he or she is a hero. What does this hero look like? Where does it live, what does it eat, and what does it do?
  • This person is in a popular advertisement. What does he or she sell?
  • What is this person’s worst habit?
  • What is this person’s favorite hobby?
  • This individual is secretly a famous person. What does he or she do that makes him so famous?
  • This photo is a snapshot from a dream or nightmare that you had. Describe the rest of it.
  • You are an alien from outer space. This is your first day on earth, and this is where you land. Describe to your alien peers what you see.
  • You are lost in this strange town. Describe your interaction with the townsfolk.
  • This town is where you unexpectedly arrive for a vacation. How do you make the most of your time?

Life on a Wisconsin Farm on Pinterest

Wisconsin School Days on Pinterest

Wisconsin in Action on Pinterest

Wisconsin Performances on Pinterest