Analytical Essay - The Pictures Generation and the Selfie

Composition I- Non-Fiction

Open Education Resource

Lesson Plan: By Prof. Alexandra Della Fera

Passaic County Community College

English Department


Lesson:   The focus of this lesson is to provide reading material and strategies for idea development for an analytical essay.  The reading will be based on the article “The ‘Pictures Generation” and students will be also asked to select a selfie image of themselves or of another person.   The class discussion will foster a community of idea sharing which will translate well as supporting points in response to the writing prompt which will be given to students. 


Instructional Goals:       

1.      Students will be able to extract ideas from the article and from class discussion of the article to help develop their ideas on the assigned topic.


2.      Students will be able to utilize a close reading of the article for supporting quotes which can further develop their ideas for their assigned essay. 


3.      Students will be able to brainstorm their ideas through a free-write as a pre-writing activity for this next essay assignment.    This will happen after class discussion of the reading, writing prompt, and selection of a selfie image.


Rationale:  Many students have a difficult time with idea development for their body paragraphs.  Therefore, having a class discussion and offering examples of images to highlight the ideas of the reading will help foster a community of idea sharing which will then translate into concrete supporting points for individual essays.



1.      Google Images

2.      Reading “The Pictures Generation”

Instructional Procedures:

1.      The instructor showcases some images of photographs before and after photo-shopping has manipulated the image.

2.      Students are asked to free-write in five minutes about what they think of these over-produced and manipulated images.  A short class discussion ensues about originality and authenticity in photographs.

3.      The class collectively reads the article “Appropriation (“The Pictures Generation”) and ties in ideas from the previous discussion.

4.      Students are asked to go to their computers and/or phones and select a selfie or photograph of someone whose image has been manipulated in some way (i.e. Snapchat, Apps, photo-shop, etc.)

5.      Students are given the writing prompt that coincides with the photograph that they have selected and they begin a free-write as a pre-writing activity for this next essay assignment.

6.      One final discussion ensues to share these ideas. 

7.      Students are instructed to go home and create an outline for this next essay. 



Students will be assessed on this lesson by how they perform on their next essay.  Specifically, body paragraph development and evidence of a close reading will be the focus. 


Writing Prompt:          

Choose an image that has been altered from its original state through any photographic manipulation.  This image can be of yourself (a selfie) or of another person.  Analyze this manipulated image and explain how key concepts from the reading “The Pictures Generation” are highlighted in this photograph.  In your analysis, be sure to explore the ideas of authenticity, originality, and the boundaries of reality. 


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