Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Picture Me with Words

Leslie Briggs
Santa Rosa District Schools


The students will produce an art and writing project that introduces them to the concept that words define who we are.


The student produces final documents that have been edited for-correct spelling;-correct punctuation, including commas, colons, and semicolons;-correct common usage, including subject/verb agreement, common noun/pronoun agreement, common possessive forms, and with a variety of sentence structures,including parallel structure; and-correct formatting.


-Newspaper (1 per student)
-8 ˝ x 11 construction paper (2 per student)
-Glue Sticks
-Display example of a self-portrait


The teacher will do the following:
1. Collect materials: newspaper, glue sticks, construction paper, and scissors.
2. Prepare an example of a self-portrait of words.
3. Copy or create basic, simple sentences to use on Day 2.


Day 1

1. Teacher introduces activity. “Class, today you are going to use the newspaper to search for words that describe you or what you like.”

2. Each student receives a newspaper, a pair of scissors, and an envelope.

3. Teacher instructs students to search the newspaper and to cut out as many words and phrases of various sizes that describe or interest them.

4. Teacher gives each student a sheet of construction paper.

5. Teacher displays a sample of a self-portrait and gives the students the following instructions: use the cutout words and phrases to shape your own self-portrait; the self-portrait may be a front or side/silhouette view; use the glue stick to secure the words to your construction paper; print your name on the back of your paper; and complete for homework.

Day 2

1. Teacher leads a discussion of students sharing (and maybe showing) the specific words used on the self-portraits. Teacher comments on the words by saying things, such as—“strong action verb,” “good sensory word,” “good adjective,” or “good imagery.” Furthermore, teacher stresses the point that specific and precise word choice makes all the difference in writing.

2. Teacher displays the following sentences on the overhead or chalkboard:

*School is sometimes boring.
*I have a sister.
*I like to read.
*The little girl was sad.
*My room is a mess.

3. Teacher asks, “How can we make these simple, basic, and slightly boring sentences better?” Allow students to respond.

4. Teacher instructs the students to rewrite the sentences, and the teacher calls on students to share the new sentences orally. Example: The boy has a long nose. The boy walked in three feet behind his nose.

5. Teacher gives the students a second assignment. Use your leftover cutout words and your newspaper to create sentences. The students are to create 5 sentences that utilize specific and precise words. Each sentence must be complete, a minimum of 10 words (a, an, the –don’t count), and relate to the student. Each sentence is made up of cutout words glued to a sheet of construction paper. Students may use front and back of paper.

6. Student completes for homework.

Day 3

Teacher assesses all work and displays self-portraits with the sentences.


The self-portrait and the sentences are assessed together. I use the following point system to assign a grade:

Self-Portrait = 25 points
Sentence 1 = 13 points
Sentence 2 = 13 points
Sentence 3 = 13 points
Sentence 4 = 13 points
Sentence 5 = 13 points
= 100 points

-1 point missing punctuation
-5 points incomplete sentence
-2 points not the minimum number of words
-10 points for every day late
-10 points pencil or pen markings on self-portrait


The teacher may want to put students in groups to share supplies and to work together. My students were very anxious to share their artwork.
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