English Language Arts, Composition and Rhetoric
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
High School
  • Creating
  • Grade 12 ELA
  • Images
  • Poetry
  • Writing
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial

    Self-Potrait Written Chapter (Draft)

    Self-Potrait Written Chapter (Draft)


    Time to write! Students will get started on the first draft of the written chapter of their self-portrait. They’ll spend time focusing on ways to create a strong and memorable opening to draw their readers in.


    • Read the lesson and student content.
    • Anticipate student difficulties and identify the differentiation options you will choose for working with your students.
    • Consider your own favorite opening lines and scenes to help students with the discussion.

    Memorable Openings

    • Today, students will be writing their drafts; they will focus on strong opening lines.
    • SWD: For some students, creating a strong opening may be more challenging (abstract) if it is done before they have finished building out their claim and talking points. Consider allowing students to work on writing tasks in the order that best meets their learning needs.


    What is the most memorable opening line of a book or short story that you have ever read? What about the most engaging opening scene of a movie?

    • Describe these most memorable openings. Don’t worry if you can’t remember exact details: just give the title, a general overview of the opening, and an explanation of why it stood out to you.

    Open Notebook

    Share your response with your teacher and classmates.

    Features of a Strong Opening

    Students will be able to use this chart to review their own work as well as peers’ work.

    Work Time

    Based on your class discussion, what do you and your classmates feel makes a strong opening to a written piece or movie?

    • With your classmates, create a class chart titled Features of a Strong Opening.

    Open Notebook

    A Strong Opening for Your Written Chapter

    • This writing task should be a focused Work Time. Remind students of your expectations for independent writing time.
    • ELL: Allow some additional time for ELLs to discuss with a partner before writing to help them organize their thoughts. Allow ELLs who share the same primary language to discuss in that language if they wish, and to use a dictionary (or dictionaries).

    Work Time

    To help you get a strong start on the draft of your written chapter, review the message for your chapter that you came up with in the previous lesson’s Closing. Also, review the written chapter planning forms that you completed for homework: Anecdote and Details, Timeline, and Characters.

    • Start writing your draft. Try to include a strong opening that incorporates features you just discussed with your classmates. Don’t worry if you can’t think of an opening right away—sometimes writers find that the first lines of their work are the last ones that they write!

    Open Notebook

    Your Written Chapter Draft

    • What do you still have to accomplish to finish your draft?
    • Make sure students are aware that their draft should be complete before the next lesson.


    Answer the following based on the writing you did for your draft.

    • How do you feel the work you did on your opening went?
    • What do you still have to accomplish to finish your draft?

    Open Notebook

    Your Written Chapter Draft

    • Remind students to check their Planning Calendars to make sure they are on track.


    Keep working on your self-portrait.

    • Finish writing the draft of your written chapter.
    • Continue collecting artifacts for the various chapters of your self-portrait, checking off items on your Self-Portrait Checklist as you go.
    • Log your progress in your Planning Calendar.

    Open Notebook