Digital Skills: Developing Online Assessment Skills in Everyday Classroom Activities Western Reserve Public Media

Literary Instagram
This lesson follows the study of the English Restoration Period when writing in diary format became popular.  While there a several relevant “diary style” texts that can be used for this lesson, the original lesson was done following the reading of Samuel Pepys’ Diary.  Students will use biographical information and information from the text to create an Mock-Instagram Account of the diary.  The idea behind this lesson is that in the Restoration period, the diary/journal style of literature flourished, but had Pepys and other Restoration era writers been alive today, they would be more likely to chronicle their events on social media rather than on paper.

*this lesson could easily be modified to fit a variety of literary texts as well as biographical research*

I can:
  • Use biographical information about an author to create a profile to include significant life events.

  • Use my knowledge of an author or character to locate and/or create pictures and/or videos to visually represent the information.

  • Use details from text to create a mock social media account to accurately represent the plot, setting, and character actions present in the text.

  • Draw inferences from text to create a dialogue to represent the reaction of multiple characters from the text.

Tech Skills:
  • Mouse skills

  • Editing skills

  • Word processing skills

  • cut/paste and formatting to fit a template

  • Using search engines to locate visuals

Materials and Resources:
Grade Level:
  • 10th & 11th Grade
Subject Area:
  • ELA (can be used in multiple subject areas)


After reading excerpts from Samuel Pepy’s Diary, students are assigned work in partners to chronicle the date they have been assigned using the instagram template.  Each pair will be assigned one diary entry. 

The Restoration Era in England saw a rise in “diary style” writing, and while many of these famous writings like Gulliver’s Travels and Robinson Crusoe were largely fictional, Samuel Pepys’ Diary was a personal account that chronicled not only his day-to-day life, but also some larger historical events like the Great Fire of London.  His account allows the reader to see his personal accounts against the larger historical context.

As we look at diary style writing that was used in the Restoration Era, we can compare the rise in that type of writing to present day “journaling” using social media.  Students will imagine that they are Samuel Pepys.  They will use the biographical knowledge as well as the text to make an Instagram profile and account to represent their reading.

Students will be provided with both a blank Instagram Template (with assignment requirements embedded) and a partially completed template. 

As a class, the elements of the template will be discussed and students will be required to use lines from the text as “captions” or explanations.  They are also encouraged to create original dialogue between Pepys and other people who are mentioned in the text. 


  • Students may use images that are historically accurate, but are also encouraged to use images that are more generalized when possible.  In the example, there is mention of Pepys breaking one of his wife’s baskets.  The example uses a simple picture of a crushed basket to represent the event.

  • The template requires a minimum of 9 different images. 

  • Students are required to caption the photos as well as to provide “conversation” in response to the photos using people Pepys mentions in his diary.

  • Students are encouraged to use direct quotes from the text as much as possible.



RL.11-12.2 Analyze literary text development.

W.11-12.6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products in response to ongoing feedback, including new arguments or information. 

W.11-12.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

SL.11-12.5 Make strategic use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest.
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