Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Intriguing Beginnings

Shelley Mann
Santa Rosa District Schools


Students become Doctors of Intrigue as they search for the ever illusive intriguing beginning. Guided practice is provided for developing this writing skill.


The student reads and organizes information (for example, in outlines, timelines, graphic organizers) throughout a single source for a variety of purposes (for example, discovering models for own writing, making a report, conducting interviews, taking a test, performing a task).

The student interacts with peers in a variety of situations to develop and present familiar ideas (for example, conversations, whole group interactions, discussions).

The student prepares for and gives presentations for specific occasions, audiences, and purposes (including but not limited to group discussions, informational or dramatic presentations).


-Overhead projector
-Transparency - -Doctor of Intrigue- pledge (file attachement)
-Class set - -Doctor of Intrigue- certificates (file attachment)
-Camcorder with cassette for recording
-Simple costumes and props from home, as determined by each group
-5 novels per small group of students
-Scoring rubric (file attachement)
-5 novels with exemplary beginnings for teacher examples


1. Copies of file attachments
2. Collect 5 novels per group of students
3. Overhead projector with transparency film
4. Camcorder and cassette for taping
5. Five examples of novels with intriguing beginnings for teacher examples


This lesson is designed to make a dramatic and memorable impression on the students' recognition of, value for, and usage of intriguing beginnings.

Day One
1. Introduction: Review examples of good writing and the essence of a beginnng that -grabs the reader by the shoulders, shakes them up, and throws them back in the chair.- While reading stellar examples of intriguing beginnings from novels, demonstrate you are entranced and must read more - the beginning is so intriguing that you cannot stop yourself. Make and repeat the point that it is an intriguing beginning that sets the tone for the whole piece and either invites the reader to step inside or drives them away.
2. Whole Class: With the overhead projector, lead a class discussion and record ideas for the components of an intriguing beginning.
3. Small Groups: Students create intriguing beginnings for one or both of the -drab scenario-.
a. empty the dishwashher
b. clean your desk
Collect and save responses for Day 2.

Day Two
1. Whole Class: Return classwork from Day One. Ask students to share responses to the scenarios.
2. Whole Class: Review overhead from Day 1 that outlined components of intriguing beginnings.
3. Whole Class: Have students recite the -Doctor of Intrigue- pledge (file attachment). Each student then recieves a scrolled and bow wrapped copy of the -Doctor of Intrigue- certificate (file attachment). Make this a ceremony of deep reverence and import.
3. Independent Practice: Assign as classwork or homework that the -Doctors of Intrigue- search for one intriguing beginning from any print source.

Day Three
1. Whole Class and Small Group: Address the -Doctors of Intrigue- as your -distinguished colleagues-. Inform them that they've been hired to conduct research for the -University of Writing Extraordinaire-. Your colleagues must select the most intriguing beginning from the five novels before them. They are to work with their -research team- - a.k.a., small group - and select the best intriguing beginning.
2. Small Groups: Small groups then plan a video production (skit) for presenting their findings on the best intriguing beginning to colleagues at an international consortium in Tokyo.
3. Students bring props and simple costumes from home for tomorrow's taping.

Day Four
1. Teacher records group skits.

Day Five
1. Show skits.
2. Final Individual Assessment: Today students become the -distinguished colleagues from Tokyo-. First, they write a letter - as a -Doctor of Intrigue- from Tokyo - explaining all they have learned about intriguing beginnings. Second, students add a one paragraph intriguing beginning addressing the prompt, -Tokyo consortium falls victim to mysterious plague.- Score with rubric (file attachment).


1. Letter and prompt response from Day 5. Score with rubric (file attachment).
2. Could also use responses to -drab scenarios- from Day 1. This could be a pretest response since it was done on the first day of the lesson.


1. Rewrite -Not So Intriguing Beginnings- from sample novels or other student responses.
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