English Language Arts, Reading Literature
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
High School
  • Art
  • Grade 12 ELA
  • Literature
  • Truth
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial

    Viewing Change Through Five Lenses

    Viewing Change Through Five Lenses


    Why is adolescence a moment of change? How do teenagers experience change in themselves and their surroundings? Students will explore viewing change through five lenses: community, persons, body, events, and choices. Then they’ll look at website-creation or portfolio platforms they can use to publish their projects.


    • Read the lesson and student content.
    • Anticipate student difficulties and identify the differentiation options you will choose for working with your students.
    • Prepare materials for the poster activity.
    • Familiarize yourself with the website-creation or portfolio platforms students can use to publish their stories and read through the sample multimedia stories, making sure that you will be able to point out different features to your students.


    • Encourage students to brainstorm any associations they can think of from the title of the project.
    • Facilitate a discussion that elicits students’ ideas, but do not yet introduce what the project will be.


    Think about the title of this unit, Project: Self-Portrait. Complete a Quick Write.

    • What do you think this title means?
    • What predictions can you make about what this project will entail?

    Open Notebook

    Discuss your thoughts with your teacher and classmates.

    Five Lenses

    • Your students will be using these lenses to help them think of a variety of chapters for their project. At this point, facilitate a brief discussion where you touch on each lens and what it might mean in the lives of adolescents. In the next task, students will explore each lens in more depth.
    • ELL: Be sure all students are clear about the topic of the discussion before starting. Monitor that ELLs know what is expected of them in this discussion. Encourage ELLs to share. It is important for ELLs to share out loud so that they can hear their own voice and get used to talking in front of large groups.

    Work Time

    In what ways is late adolescence a moment of change? With your teacher and classmates, discuss the following five lenses through which to view the changes that occur in all our lives:

    • Community: How are the communities you belong to shifting? How are you seeing your place in your communities begin to change?
    • Persons: Who are the important people in your life? Are your relationships with key people changing? Are you changing the person or people you turn to for advice and support? What have you learned from or given to key individuals?
    • Body: How do teenagers feel about their bodies? What capabilities (strength, coordination, athleticism, dexterity) and limitations do our bodies have? What messages do teens absorb about what their bodies should be like? In what ways do people work to change their bodies (think about exercise, diet, plastic surgery, piercings, hairstyle, tattoos, make-up, and so forth) and when do you see people accepting the bodies that they have?
    • Events: What significant events are occurring and shaping teens’ perceptions of themselves and the world around them?
    • Choices: What moments of decision have you come to in recent years? How have these moments affected you and your life?

    Moments of Change

    • Create posters for each of the five lenses. If your classroom space allows, it can be helpful to create a physical record of your students’ thoughts; students can use the posters as a reference point throughout the unit.
    • Remember that students will need to have access to sticky notes.

    Work Time

    There are five posters in the classroom—one poster for each of the five lenses you discussed in the previous task. You should also have five sticky notes.

    • On a sticky note for each lens, write from three to five sentences explaining a change, circumstance, or event related to that lens and experienced by you, someone you know, or teenagers in general.
    • When you are done, place your sticky notes on their corresponding posters and return to your seat.

    Observing Moments of Change

    • To help students navigate the posters in an orderly fashion, you may want to set up a well-structured procedure based on your class size. For example, you could break the students into groups, and give each group 3 minutes to read the responses and take notes on each poster.

    Work Time

    Circulate around the room, following your teacher’s instructions to view all five posters. Read your classmates’ responses, and for each poster take notes on the following questions.

    • What kinds of changes related to this lens do teenagers experience?
    • Are there experiences that seem to be common among teenagers? What trends do you notice?
    • How is this lens important when thinking about the teenage experience?

    Open Notebook

    Adolescence as a Moment of Change

    • In this discussion, try to hear from as many students as possible. The goal is to have them broaden their thinking in ways that will inspire them for their self-portraits. How is adolescence a time of change? Students might think about things going on around them (current events, etc.), transitions that many of their peers are making (graduating high school, becoming adults), changes that are occurring in their lives (family disruptions, etc.), or changes within themselves (what personal qualities are they gaining and losing as they grow up?).
    • ELL: Encourage ELLs to participate as actively as their native English language-speaking counterparts, even if their pace might be slower or they are more reluctant to volunteer due to their weaker command of the language.

    Work Time

    Consider the first Guiding Question of the unit and complete a Quick Write.

    • How is late adolescence a moment of internal and external change?

    Open Notebook

    Share your thoughts with your classmates and teacher.

    Self-Portrait Project

    • Review the project with your students.

    Work Time

    Today’s activity was meant to get you thinking about the project you will be completing in this unit.

    For your Unit Accomplishments, you will:

    • Complete a multimedia self-portrait, capturing important aspects of the essence of you .
    • Contribute one chapter from your multimedia self-portrait to a class anthology.
    • Present one chapter from your multimedia self-portrait to the class.

    Take a few minutes to review the Self-Portrait Project with your teacher.

    Then return to your Notebook entry and answer the second Guiding Question. After thinking about this project, what do you predict will be some ways that you answer Guiding Question 2?

    • What are the most important qualities of your character—past, present, and future?

    Open Notebook

    Sample Story

    • As you go through the sample story, draw students’ attention to the “artifacts” that make the story a multi media story. Discuss what students think goes into creating a story like this.


    Review a sample story to get a sense of the capabilities of a multimedia story. Pay attention to the “artifacts” that make the story a multi media story.

    • What do you think goes into creating a story like this?

    Then return to your Notebook entries and answer the third Guiding Question.

    • How can you portray these key aspects of yourself using multimedia?

    Open Notebook

    Another Sample Story

    • Encourage students to start thinking about the creative possibilities that will come with creating their own multimedia story.
    • SWD: Check in with students to assess their progress. Make certain they have what they need to complete the homework.


    Explore another multimedia story in depth.

    • What are the strengths and possible challenges of this type of story?
    • What questions do you have?

    Open Notebook