|Grade span:||5 to 12|
|Duration:||Three to four 45-minute sessions|
Description:This lesson is one example of how you can implement the practice of Expressing Yourself Through the Arts. In this activity, students explore and express their identities through a variety of learning activities, including reading, journaling, discussing self-portraits, and creating their own self-portraits through clay sculpture.
- Learn self-reflection through journaling and discussion
- Understand how the visual arts can be used to express the self and communicate meaning
- Learn how to create a self-sculpture from clay
- Copy of Happy to Be Me! by Christine Adams and Robert Butch
- Writing and drawing materials (paper, pens, pencils, markers, crayons, etc.)
- Examples of self-portraits (see Resources for suggested Web sites)
- Newspaper (to line tables and floor)
- Tempera paints and paintbrushes
- Materials to make clay:
- Read Happy to Be Me!
- Prepare self-hardening clay:
- Combine 4 cups of flour and 1 cup of salt in a large bowl.
- Slowly add about 1 cup of water and combine to form a large ball.
- Knead the ball until it is smooth and no longer falls apart, adding water as needed.
- Continue preparing batches until there is enough for each student to have approximately 1 cup of clay.
- Arrange desks or tables into a workspace and line with newspaper.
- Review the use of color and palettes in visual arts. (For example, reds and oranges often symbolize warmth; blues and greens, cool.)
What to Do:Session 1
- Read aloud Happy to Be Me! Begin a discussion about what makes each student special and unique.
- Ask students to pair up. Give students 5 to 10 minutes to make a list of things (characteristics, interests, aspirations) that make them unique. Then give students 5 to 10 minutes to list things that they find unique and interesting about their partner. Have students share their list with their partner.
- Ask students to journal for 15 to 20 minutes, using words, pictures, symbols, and colors to answer the question: "Who am I?" Ask students to consider ambitions, talents, interests, and relationships in answering the question.
- Tell students they will build on their journal work from the previous session to create a sculpture that represents their self-portrait. Share examples of self-portraits, both abstract and representational, if desired.
- Have students work with clay to create a 3-D "self-sculpture." Tell students they may create a representational sculpture, or they may use different aspects of their self-concept to create an abstract sculpture.
- Let the clay figures harden overnight or longer.
- Briefly discuss the use of color in visual art. Discuss the representational as well as symbolic use of color and palette.
- Allow students to paint their self-sculptures, using an additional session if necessary.
- As an extension, create an exhibit of the students' work to share with other classes. Have each student create a gallery-style information card to accompany their work.
Evaluate (Outcomes to look for):
- Student participation and engagement
- An understanding of the use of art to express the self
- Sculptures that reflect individual students' view of self
Click this link to see additional learning goals, grade-level benchmarks, and standards covered in this lesson.