Self Portrait Lesson Plans

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1 Self Portrait Lesson Plans This lesson on self-portrait is prepared for 4 age groups: ages 5 to 7; 8 to 11; 12 to 14; 15 to 18. You can use any elements from any of the lessons for your group. You do not have to use the suggestions at all, if you have a different way you would like to present your lesson. Remember to consider the different modes of presentation students might need to access the information contained in the introduction. We have offered some suggestions for your presentation so that all students are included regardless of abilities. Self-portraits above, from left to right: Rembrandt ( ), Vincent Van Gogh (1889), Mary Cassatt (1878), Frida Khalo (1941), Pablo Picasso (1938)

2 The Self-Portrait for Ages 5 to 7 Discuss the following: What is a self-portrait? A self-portrait is a work of art that shows an image of an artist, made by the artist. When you make a self-portrait, you are showing people what you look like and something about you, too. Show students images of various self-portraits created throughout history and today, such as those by Rembrandt, Vincent Van Gogh, Mary Cassatt, Frida Kahlo, and Chuck Close. Show selfportraits by artists of the students cultures, if available. Discuss the elements in the portraits. Point out that some portraits will be of just the face of the subject, and other portraits will be of the whole body. The artist decides how he wants to look in his portrait. How does an artist know what she looks like? What can an artist use to help her see what she looks like? Answer: a mirror, photographs The teacher can decide whether to focus on portraits of bodies or faces. Suggested materials: Smooth white drawing paper or Bristol board Colored markers Oil pastels Crayons Handheld mirrors Activity 1: Preparation For portraits using whole bodies: Begin by leading some simple kinesthetic activities that focus on the body. First, have students stand with their arms and legs stretched out as wide as possible. Point out the area that their body takes up and where the various parts of their bodies are in relation to each other. Then, have them walk in slow motion and point out where the various parts of their bodies are in relation to each other and to the space around them. Last, have students sit cross legged on the floor and point out that now their bodies are folded in a smaller space, and different parts are touching each other. Tell them to look at their hands and feet and talk about where they are now as compared to when they were standing and walking. Students with mobility limitations can be encouraged to move in the ways that they are able and notice their bodies in space. For portraits using just the face: Have students look in the mirror and talk about their characteristics. What color are their eyes and hair? Is their hair long or short, curly or straight? What is the shape of their nose and their mouth?

3 Activity 2: Reflection Have students think about themselves: What they like, what they don t like, where they like to be, what are their favorite colors, anything else they might want to depict about themselves. They can brainstorm ideas as a group. Some students with communication differences might need picture cues to indicate their likes and dislikes and favorite colors. Activity 3: Creating the self-portrait Allow students to draw themselves in the way that works best for them. Most students at this age are not inhibited by the process and feel free to share things about themselves in drawings. Encourage the freedom and don t worry about proportions. Exaggerated features might enhance the message the students are trying to convey about themselves.

4 The Self-Portrait for Ages 8 to 11 Discuss the following, presented orally and in written text on the board and/or handouts (words in italics can be used as vocabulary): What is a self-portrait? A self-portrait is a work of art that depicts an image of an artist, made by the artist. When you create a self-portrait, you are creating a likeness of yourself and conveying a message to people about yourself. Show students images of various self-portraits created throughout history and today, such as those by Rembrandt, Vincent Van Gogh, Mary Cassatt, Frida Kahlo, and Chuck Close. Show selfportraits by artists of the students cultures, if available. Discuss the elements in the portraits. Some portraits will be of just the face of the artist, and other portraits will be of the whole body. The artist decides how he wants to portray himself. How does an artist know what she looks like? What can an artist use to help her see what she looks like? Answer: a mirror, photographs Activity 1: Reflection Have students think about what their self-portrait will say about them. Tell them it is not about what their parents or teacher or friends think about them, it is about who they think they are. Have them think about things that are particular to them, using a handout with questions and spaces to write answers. Present the material on the board, and with picture cue cards for students who are not reading. Some of the questions might be: What are the clothes you wear? What music do you like? Where do you live? What makes you laugh, and cry? Have students think of more questions. Once they have answered the questions, they can use some of the answers to help them think about what is important to them. Tell them in your self-portrait you need to be the real you. Activity 2: Creating the Self-portrait Have students choose the materials they want to use to express themselves in a self-portrait. For example, they can use various kinds of paints, collage, drawing, markers, and crayons. By allowing choice students will use the media that work best for them. Be sure that each has a handheld mirror. Allow students time to create a preliminary image or sketch if they choose, using newsprint or other drawing paper. Depending on the maturity of your group, you might want all students to complete preliminary images. When they are creating the self-portraits, refrain from suggestive comments about the images, but focus on what they are thinking and what they want to convey about themselves.

5 The Self-Portrait for Ages 12 to 14 Most students at this age will be familiar with self-portraits. You can review with a discussion of the purpose of a self-portrait. A self-portrait is a work of art that depicts an image of an artist, made by the artist. When you create a self-portrait, you are creating a likeness of yourself and conveying a message to people about yourself. A self-portrait is an expression of your identity. Show students images of various self-portraits created throughout history and today, such as those by Rembrandt, Vincent Van Gogh, Mary Cassatt, Frida Kahlo, and Chuck Close. Show selfportraits by artists of the students cultures, if available. Discuss the elements in the portraits, and, if you want to extend the lesson, the lives and times of the artists and how those are reflected in the portraits. Some portraits will be of just the face of the artist, and other portraits will be of the whole body. The artist decides how he wants to portray himself. Activity 1: Reflection Have students think about what their self-portrait will say about them. Have them think of the things that express their identity, using a handout with questions and spaces to write answers. Present the material on the board, and with picture cue cards for students who are not reading. Some of the questions might be: What are the clothes you wear? What music do you listen to? What words do you write and images you create? What have you been through and what feelings do you have? What are the things you love and the things you hate? What are the places you like? Have students think of more questions. Once they have answered the questions, they can use some of the answers to help them think about what is important to them. Tell them in your self-portrait you need to be the real you. Activity 2: Creating the self-portrait Have students choose the materials they want to use to express themselves in a self-portrait. For example, they can use various kinds of paints, collage, drawing, markers. By allowing choice students will use the media that work best for them. Be sure that each has a handheld mirror. Have students create a preliminary image or sketch of their composition, using newsprint or other drawing paper, and discuss their plans with you. When they are creating the selfportraits, refrain from suggestive comments about the images, but focus on what they are thinking and what they want to convey about themselves.

6 The Self-Portrait for Ages 15 to 18 Most students will be familiar with self-portraits. Lead a discussion about self-portraits throughout art history, and what they convey about the artist and the times in which the artist lived. Show images of various self-portraits, such as those by Rembrandt, Vincent Van Gogh, Mary Cassatt, Frida Kahlo, and Chuck Close. Show self-portraits by artists of the students cultures, if available. Discuss the elements in the portraits, and reflect on what the artists might have been feeling or thinking. Discuss the media that were used and the possible media that can be used to create a self-portrait. Activity 1: Reflection Use reflections from the age 12 to 14 lesson, with focus on questions expressing feelings and reflections about their lives. Activity 2: Preliminary images* Direct the students to create several observational portrait sketches from mirrors on newsprint or drawing paper. Direct each student to pick a favorite drawing and photo copy it 5 times. Then, have each student make 5 different manipulations on the photo copied images. Students can manipulate the images using whatever materials they choose. Encourage manipulation as opposed to decoration. Encourage expressions of their thoughts and feelings and adding objects of personal interest. Again, have each student make 5 copies of each of the manipulations, and have them manipulate each of those copies. Have each student place all of the images in a grid for a group critique session. The session should focus on whether the images focus on what students are thinking and want to convey about themselves. Have each student then choose 1 to 3 images from the critique. Activity 3: Final work Direct the students to use their best image to manipulate some more. They can work directly on the manipulated image, or create a new work from the manipulated image for their final piece. * Ideas for this lesson are from Patty Knott, 3/19/2012.

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