Our beginning of the school year unit, this year, is all about me- who we are, what makes us unique, why we are special. Celebrating difference is a great cornerstone for learning about self-portraits and why artists make pictures about themselves.
For this lesson, I focused wholly on the term self-portrait: how we use it (as artists), why it’s important, what it means. From there we branched off to discuss shapes, lines, sounds, and colors.
Using a mirror, we were able to determine the general shape of many of our features. Eyes are round but are they circles? Are they ovals? Are my eyes the same kind of circle as yours? Check the mirror! How could we draw our noses? Use your hands to feel your ears. Are they long? Tiny? Thin? Wide? Flat? Let’s draw that.
- representational/observational drawing
- recognizing details
- associating shapes in abstract contexts
*I’m kind of obsessed with kids learning to cut- it’s important! This is not a talent either, it’s a fine motor skill that everyone can learn to do well given adequate opportunity to practice.*
- black markers
- oil pastel
- pipe cleaners
Conversations that were happening between myself and the littles:
- I wish I had pink eyes. Why aren’t my eyes pink? Does anyone have pink eyes? What color are Daddy’s eyes- sister, brother, mother?
- How come my hair is the same as yours? Is it really the same?
- I’m making my lips pink. Are our lips really pink? Are they red?
- I’m making my head blue and yellow. That’s funny. I like how you made your head green. What else is green?
- You forgot something on your face! What do you use to smell? A nose? How can we a draw a nose? Triangle! Sure, draw a triangle. How many sides does a triangle have? Look in the mirror at your nose and trace a triangle. Can you do it? Does that work?
- What kind of pictures are we making? (self portraits) What does that mean?
- My self portrait of me has yellow hair! That’s silly! What color is my real hair? I like it yellow better. I’ll have yellow hair today.
- I need more hairs. There are so many hairs on my head.
I try and refrain from doing the work for any child, even when there are little squeaks of, “I can’t do it.” “Mine is wrong.” “I didn’t do it right.” Once you cross the boundary of doing the work for the child they will never be satisfied with their own skills because they’ve seen yours. Clearly teacher and child are at different stages of development- which is great! But help them focus on their own developing skills instead of feeling upset that they can’t yet do things as well as you can.
Here are our results:
I am lucky enough to teach art to preschool and kindergarten aged children at a non-traditional progressive preschool in the suburbs of Pittsburgh. We value project and play based learning and actively promote inquisitive thinking through the use of fine art materials. Testing out a project with your kiddos? Send me a pic or hashtag it up on twitter or instagram #euroacademy #myartroom @sweetersidemom. I’d love to see what you are doing and feature it right here on the blog!
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