Lesson Plan

Profile Unit

Day One — Gateway Exercise

Instructor Preparation Note: Have the Profile assignment sheet ready to hand out. Students will have read this profile on the events of 9/11 and EA 24 pages 252-272 to prepare for class.


  • Students will be able to list the three key features of a profile.
  • Students will be able to express the meaning/importance of these five features.
  • Students will be able to articulate the differences between a profile and a literacy narrative.

Whole Class Discussion – 10 minutes

The instructor will ask students to turn to pages 270-272 of the text. As a whole class they will discuss the details that are necessary for a suitable profile. The three features outlined on 270-272 are:

  • Firsthand Account
  • Detailed Information about the Subject
  • Interesting Angle (Define both “Interesting” and “Angle,” as these are key terms)

Small Group Discussion of the 9/11 Profile – 15 minutes

The instructor will ask students to get into groups of 3-5 and apply the 3 key features of a profile to the 9/11 piece they read for class.

Answer these questions:

  • How does it follow these guidelines for a profile?
  • Where does it deviate?
  • What is the angle of this piece?
  • What do you like/dislike about this piece?

Whole Class Discussion – 10 minutes

The instructor will ask the groups to share their findings with the class.

Introduction to Profile Assignment – 15 minutes

The instructor will hand out the assignment sheets for the Profile Assignment that is due at the end of this unit, and go over the key features, explaining how it differs from the Literacy Narrative the students have just completed, and answering any questions they may have.

Key things to highlight: they must use interviews in this assignment, they will use many of the same tools and strategies that were laid out for the Literacy Narrative (such as vivid descriptions and a strong sense of purpose/significance (here pushed further as an angle that they will take). Give some suggestions for directions they can take this assignment: the Student Union, the President of OSU, the botanical gardens, all are excellent choices for this assignment. They must simply find a way to incorporate an interview into their piece, whether it is someone who works in the place you selected, the person you selected, or someone who knows the person.


Board traces, quiz results, homework

Homework Assignment

Read EA pages 273-279, the profile titled “Heart and Sole”

While reading, note how this profile does or does not follow the five characteristics we discussed in class today. Write a 500 word response to this profile discussing these observations.

Day Two Outcomes

  • Students will be able to examine a text and explain how it follows the generic conventions discussed in the previous class or not.
  • Students will generate a list of possible topics for their profiles.

Profile Essay

ENGL 1113

What is a Profile?

A profile is a written portrait of a subject. This can be a person, a place, or an object. In a profile essay, observations, interviews, and facts are selected and arranged to reveal an interesting topic, present a particular angle, and define the topic’s significance. For this profile essay, you will explore something you want to know more about. Using a person, place, or object that can be found in Stillwater is strongly encouraged. For this essay, no matter the main subject, you must interview at least one person.


Peer review: Friday September 13

Conferences: Sign up in class

Final Draft: Friday September 20

Key Terms

Angle, Profile, Interesting

What Will this Essay Need?

    • A clear topic to profile. Do not profile multiple people, places, or things. Do not pick something you are already intimately familiar with.
    • An interesting angle and arrangement of the information. What do you want to convey about your subject and why?
    • The ability to experience your profile. Don’t pick a place you cannot visit or a person you cannot interview/interview someone who knows them. Something or someone in the Stillwater area is strongly encouraged.
    • An interview with someone related to your topic, e.g., someone who knows the person; someone who is in the place when you observe it; someone who has experience with the object.
    • Interesting and vivid details. Strong verbs. Characterize this subject so your audience gains a strong understanding of your subject. Awareness of your audience, an understanding of who they are (or may be) and what they want.


  • For this essay, do not profile a group of which you are a member.


  • 4-6 pages, MLA format: 1” margins, no extra spaces between paragraphs, double spaced, 12 pt Times New Roman font.


Primarily your peers and instructor, but remember that your audience for this paper may extend with time, to family, friends, even readers you have never met.


  • This essay can be playful and creative. Do what you can to make your subject feel alive.
  • Pick a person, place, or object that excites and interests you. Something you know a little about, but would like to know more is a safe bet. If you are profiling a person, you may also want to interview someone who knows them to gain another side.
  • Ask yourself “what has my audience not heard about this subject before? What makes this interesting to my audience?”
  • This essay is about your subject. You can inject yourself a little to help add context or understanding — such as how the subject comes across in person — but the focus should remain on the subject.
  • When you interview, ask open-ended questions and don’t be afraid to chase unexpected threads.

One thought on “Lesson Plan

  1. When revising my Gateway Lesson Plan for the Profile Unit, I worked to find something that would be an acceptable gateway exercise. When I first created this lesson plan I did not have a good grasp of what a gateway activity was, but I think that I have solved this. Now students will be reading and discussing a profile on the first day, examining the ways that it fits into the criteria we have laid out to define a profile essay during the first ten minutes of class.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s