Shirley Huller White

Grade 1-4: Art Education

All lessons presented here implement project and inquiry based learning strategies, and meet or exceed Massachusetts Arts Curriculum Framework standards.

Artwork presented here may NOT be reproduced in any way.

Self-Portrait Series:
Grade Levels 1-4

Each year my students create some type of self-portrait, it may be an abstract design, a more realistic representation or some combination thereof. Regardless of the style and media, I believe that self-portrait projects provide students with essential opportunities to explore their identities and self-awareness, and various observational, communicative, and creative skills at each stage of childhood development. I encourage my students to save these wonderful works of art and revisit them later in life.

Please see grade 8, lesson 2, to view a digital self-portrait project.

Overarching Enduring Understandings:

  • A self-portrait is a work of art in which an artist portrays him or herself.
  • A self-portrait is a work of art in which an artist may express a feeling or mood.
  • Artists may use close observational skills and drawing techniques to carefully examine and explore a subject.
  • Artists may use Abstract art techniques to change an image in a work of art so that it may not look like a real thing (naturalistic or realistic).

Overarching Essential Questions:

  • How might you create an abstract, or a more realistic self-portrait?
  • How might you create or draw the details of your face?
  • How might you create or draw hair texture and clothing?
  • How might you create a background design that enhances your self-portrait or tells us something about you?

Exemplars and Inspirations:

These self-portraits were inspired by the art of Frida Khalo, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Paul Klee, Romare Bearden, and fellow students.

Grade 1: Explored observational drawing techniques and the variety of human skin colors. Media: Sharpie, oil pastel and watercolor resist. Language Arts Connection: The Colors of Us by Karen Katz.

Grade 2: Expanded their knowledge of, and further explored the concepts of, Abstract art, self expression, and color relationships. Media: paper collage.

Grade 3: Expanded their knowledge of observational drawing techniques and use of expressive color. Explored blind contour drawing and the concepts of proportion and exaggeration in art. Media: Sharpie and chalk pastel.

Grade 4: Expanded their knowledge of observational drawing techniques, blind contour drawing and abstract expression. Explored the use of color value in art. Media: Sharpie and tempera paint.