English Language Arts
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
High School
  • Character
  • Grade 12 ELA
  • Self-portrait
  • Strengths
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial

    Changes Portrayed In Fiction

    Changes Portrayed In Fiction


    What kinds of changes—internal and external—are in literary self-portraits? Students will explore the types of changes portrayed in fiction. They’ll examine literary techniques writers use to portray self-portraits and change, and consider which techniques they find most useful.


    • Read the lesson and student content.
    • Anticipate student difficulties and identify the differentiation options you will choose for working with your students.

    Self-Portraits in Literature

    • You may want to allow students to include literature that they have read outside of high school.
    • Learn which titles students may have read in grades 9–11 in order to help facilitate the discussion.
    • Try to compile a list with quite a few examples. Spend a little time discussing how at least several can be called “self-portraits in a moment of change.”
    • As students discuss their favorite examples, push them to think about what techniques writers used to create successful self-portraits. Did they use vivid descriptions? Foreshadowing? Multiple narrators? Flashback? What else? Encourage students to think about the literary techniques they can use in their own self-portraits.
    • SWD: Consider how you will support students with disabilities. Whenever possible, provide scaffolding supports, such as checklists.


    Think back over the literature you have read in high school. What books or stories contain parts that could be considered examples of self-portrait in a moment of change?

    Complete a Quick Write.

    • Brainstorm as many titles as you can. You can include works of fiction.

    Open Notebook

    Share your Quick Write responses with your classmates.

    • Which writers do you think were most effective at creating interesting and vivid self-portraits?
    • What literary techniques did these writers use to fully engage their readers? Give specific examples from the texts you remember to support your thinking.

    Moments of Change in Literary Self-Portraits

    • Provide a brief summary of each story. Allow students to choose the text they read based on interest, or assign texts to students.
    • ELL: Allow all students to use a dictionary if they wish.
    • Circulate as students work to make sure that they are considering the literary techniques used by the writers.
    • Annotations are available for both “Rules of the Game” and “The Three Sisters.”

    Work Time

    Read and analyze “Rules of the Game” by Amy Tan or “The Three Sisters” by Sandra Cisneros. As you read, note the moments of change the narrator goes through, which of the five lenses from Lesson 1 reflect these moments of change, and which techniques the writer uses to portray these moments of change.

    • Then, record your findings in the Literary Self-Portraits Organizer.

    You Have a Choice
    You can choose to work independently, with a partner, or in a small group. Let your teacher know what you choose.

    Literary Techniques

    • Be sure that the class discusses both stories.
    • ELL: If necessary, rephrase the questions using words you know students can understand to allow ELLs to fully participate and have a fair chance to answer the questions.
    • Ask students if they feel whether the kinds of experiences the narrators go through are relevant to modern teenagers. If so, ask students to describe how those experiences are relevant.

    Work Time

    Share and discuss your notes with your classmates.

    • What literary techniques are useful for portraying external (circumstantial) and internal (personal) changes? What literary techniques are useful for portraying concrete changes? Abstract changes?
    • What kinds of changes do you find most interesting to read about?

    Literary Techniques for Your Self-Portrait

    • Have students think about any of the writers mentioned in the beginning of class in addition to Amy Tan and Sandra Cisneros.


    Consider the literary techniques you explored for portraying moments of change and complete a Quick Write.

    • Which writer discussed today do you think has the most to teach you as you prepare to create your own self-portrait? Explain.

    Open Notebook

    Share your response with your classmates.

    Journal Entry 3

    • Have students choose to focus on a few changes that they describe in detail, or on trends or a series of changes that have occurred over the past few years.
    • Remind students that the time they spend on journal entries will pay off as they start to plan their self-portrait chapters SWD: You may shorten and simplify this assignment for your struggling writers, such as having them write about one change that has happened recently.


    Complete a journal entry.

    • What are some external and internal changes that have occurred in your life over the past few years? What are some concrete and abstract changes that have occurred?
    • Which changes feel the most significant to you, and why?

    Open Notebook