OER Administrator
English Language Arts
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
High School
  • Grade 12 ELA
  • Media
  • Self-portrait
  • Websites
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial

    Self-Portrait Qualities

    Self-Portrait Qualities


    What are your students’ strongest personal character strengths at this point in their lives? As students mine the interviews they conducted, they’ll look for character strengths others see in them. Do they see these strengths in themselves? Are they qualities that your students want to portray in their self-portrait?


    • Read the lesson and student content.
    • Anticipate student difficulties and identify the differentiation options you will choose for working with your students.
    • Decide what, if any, adaptations you want to make to the partner activity for your students.

    Through Others' Eyes

    • Students will be sharing these stories with a partner. However, use your judgment and adapt the activity accordingly if you feel that some students would benefit from being allowed to complete this activity individually instead of in a pair.
    • ELL: In forming pairs or small groups, ensure that ELLs have a learning environment where they can be productive. Sometimes this means grouping them with native English-language speakers so ELLs can learn from those students’ language skills. Other times it means grouping ELLs with students who are at the same level of language skills so they can take a more active role and work things out together. Yet other times it means grouping ELLs with students whose proficiency level is lower so ELLs get to play the supportive role.


    Look through the anecdotes your friends, relatives, and others provided you for the Through Others’ Eyes homework activity.

    • Identify the parts that particularly resonate with you or parts that you remember well.

    Character Strengths

    • You may want to have a timer visible to remind students when it’s time for Partners A and B to switch roles.
    • ELL: Monitor that all students are able to engage in this activity productively.

    Work Time

    With a partner, examine the Character Strengths document. Make sure you agree on the definition of each strength in the list.

    Then follow these steps.

    • When your teacher instructs, Partner A shares with Partner B the stories he or she collected in the Through Others’ Eyes activity. Partner B listens carefully and takes notes on any character strengths described in the story.
    • Switch roles with your partner. Partner B shares while Partner A listens carefully and takes notes on the character strengths that emerge through the telling of the story.
    • Discuss your findings with your partner: what strengths emerged as the stories were shared? Were there any surprises? What other patterns did you notice about your partner’s stories?

    Open Notebook

    Journal Entry 5

    • Students may not be able to address all these questions in their journal entries. Encourage them to start with the questions they have the most to say in response to, and to keep writing for the entire allotted time—but not to worry if they are unable to answer every question. It is more important that students develop each train of thought as fully as possible.
    • SWD: Be sure that students are able to write the journal entries appropriately. If you find that some students need support, consider grouping those who need extra help and working with them as a way of providing support.

    Work Time

    Complete a journal entry and respond to these questions about the Character Strengths activity.

    • Do you agree with the findings of the activity?
    • Do you see the character strengths in yourself that the stories showed? Do you value the strengths that emerged or are there others you would rather have?
    • How have your character strengths helped you face challenges in your past? How can they help you face the challenges that are coming in this changing world?
    • Are there moments in your life that were not captured in the stories, but in which you experienced these strengths in yourself?

    Open Notebook

    Your Character Strengths

    • Encourage students to look at the list of strengths to see if there are other strengths they feel they have exhibited at different points in their lives.


    Complete a Quick Write.

    • Brainstorm additional moments of your life when you recognized your character strengths—moments that you might want to include as chapters in your self-portrait.

    Open Notebook

    Journal Entry 6

    • You may want to briefly review some of the possibilities for using multimedia.


    Complete a journal entry.

    • How could you use multimedia to portray one of the moments you explored in this lesson?
    • If you are able, start collecting possible artifacts to include with one of your self-portrait chapters: photographs, video clips, artwork, audio files, poetry, and so forth.

    Open Notebook