Lesson Preparer : Don McVicker, Phase I - Student Teacher
Grade Level : 4 - 6 (Adaptable through Adult)
Time Frame : 2.5 - 3 hours over 2 days
Reference : Claire Clyde, Teacher, McKinley Primary School,
Gridley, CA.
Visual arts lesson featuring a student self-portrait that is created by individual
student drawings. The drawings emphasize line, shape, color and possibly
texture depending upon the student's selection of materials.
Artistic Perception: Each student will identify the lines, shapes and colors
unique to his/her drawings.
Creative Expression: Each student will create a unique representation of
themselves using crayons, markers, tempura paints and/or torn paper.
Historical and Cultural Context: Through direct lecture and film review, the
students will be introduced to historic and cultural self-portraiture. They will
identify particular styles which influence their artistic creation.
Aesthetic Valuing: In groups of four and within the class as a whole, students
will discuss their self-portrait and how it does or doesn't relate to other
portraits. In addition, students will discuss their use of color and texture.
The visual arts offer creative, historic, perceptual and aesthetic intellectual
opportunities. Creating this self-portrait will give students the chance to
explore their creativity while valuing the historic implications of self-
portraiture as an art form. Through small group and whole class critiquing,
students will learn to compare and contrast abstract visual representations.
Appreciation of the shapes and colors demonstrated within the visual art
imagery will enhance students abstract thinking skills, a necessary life-long
A combination of guided discovery and direct instruction will be used.
VOCABULARY: Self-Portrait, Outline, Color, Paint
Self-Portrait: A representation of an artist made by that artist
Outline: The outer most boundaries of a figure
Color: Paint that imparts a hue
Paint: The action of applying color

To open the lesson, I will ask the students if they have ever drawn a picture of
themselves or if they have ever looked in a mirror? After the initial
discussion, I will show the students several examples of how other people have
drawn their own portraits. On the overhead projector, on an easel chart or
possibly using a paint program on a computer, I will demonstrate 2-3 examples
of self-portraiture. I will stress the importance of the creation and not the
product. I will do this by emphasizing cave drawings as important a work or
art as the most valuable Van Gogh rendering. The most important elements to
be addressed are: outlines and color. Prior to passing out the materials to the
students, the teacher will describe and model a self-portrait. Each student must
produce his/her own original creation.
Student Activity Sequence:
1.) Using a sheet of butcher paper at least as tall as the student, the student
must lie on his/her back. Using a pencil or felt-tip marker, the student
will trace a crude outline of his/her body shape.
2.) Using his/her choice of crayon, felt-tip markers, tempura paint the
student will paint or color the portrait. Any combination of colors may be
used with free expression emphasized.
3.) If desired, students may use torn construction paper to add texture to the
4.) Students should identify their portraits by writing their names on the
back in pencil.
5.) Students should be encouraged to take their portraits home as a door
Once the portrait is dry, the students should work in groups of four to discuss
their portrait. They should discuss their choices of color and texture. In
addition, students should compare and contrast their portraits with the works
shown or described in the introduction. As an entire class, students should
compare the similarities and dissimilarities of their paintings. The teacher
will listen to the students reviews and encourage the students to look for the
feelings within the portraits. The teacher will ask the students if they believe
the cave drawings may have been created during an art lesson in pre-historic
The evaluation will occur once the portraits are dry. The teacher and the
student pairs will check to see that each portrait was first outlined and then
painted. The teacher will listen to each critique for signs of understanding of
outlines and color. Additionally, the group will discuss the concept of self-
portraiture for understanding of artists' rationale. Students will relate their
creations to historical and cultural works introduce in opening activities.
Copies, pictures or videos of many types of self-portraits
20-35 Sheets of butcher paper, approximately six feet in length
20-35 sharpened pencils or markers
Various Crayons
Various Felt-tip Markers
Various Tempura Paint Colors
Paint Brushes

Various Colors of Construction Paper (Optional)
Lots of room
Students will be responsible to clean their own area including washing of
brushes, tables and desks.
This lesson can be adapted from K-adult. It can be integrated into mathematics
by asking students to measure the portrait height, limb length, finger length,
head width, chest width. This can be done with a ruler or even using simple
block. Records can then be made of tallest, shortest and so on. The portraits
can also be arranged from smallest to largest or boys versus girls to
demonstrate their interrelation.