First Year Writing, Creativity
Lesson Plan on Profile Writing
Lesson objective(s): An understanding of the difference between biography (generally chronologically organized) and profile (organized by narrative); ability to sift through and evaluate evidence based on its relevance to the overall project
Total estimated time: 70 minutes
Course work or assignment underway: Final research project, in which students will profile an individual focused around his/her creative process and achievements.
Work and/or reading completed before class: Students will have read and discussed Harold Bloom’s profile of Emily Dickinson and Dmitri Ehrlich’s profiles of Philip Glass and Jeff Buckley. We will have discussed how those pieces are profiles rather than biographies.
Sequence of Classroom Activities
1. Instructions: Put students into pairs. Their assignment is to interview their partners and then create a one-paragraph profile of their partners. It is the profiler’s job to determine the narrative focus of the paragraph based upon the evidence he/she encounters. Also, they will need to include at least one direct quotation from the interview. (5 minutes)
2. Students will first write a list of questions they plan to ask. (5 minutes)
3. Each student gets 10 minutes to conduct the interview. Students are free to stick with their scripted questions or ask new questions. (20 minutes)
4. Students review and process data and prewrite. (10 minutes)
5. Students write their paragraphs. (10-20 minutes)
6. Students share their paragraphs with their partners and discuss. (5-10 minutes)
7. If both students in a pair agree, some students may share their paragraphs. The class as a whole can then discuss the challenges of asking the right questions, sifting through the answers, and choosing what to include and what not to include. Ask students how they can apply what they learned in this exercise to their current research and profile. (10-20 minutes)
Download: Creativity Pre-Draft Activity-Profile Writing (PDF)