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“Magical Me” 4th grade self portraits

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This is one of my very favorite projects.

Partly because it incorporates so many good things.

Partly because it’s just awesome.

It goes like this:

1.  Students practice drawing realistically proportioned faces by drawing along with Mrs. A while she demonstrates face parts and placement.  They continue to “draw along” using blenders and shading to create realistic value.

2.  Kids look in the mirror and use the skills they learned in #1 to draw a realistic, accurately shaded SELF portrait.   (I saved up for a long time for some two sided acrylic mirrors – expensive, but SO worth it!  I’ve had them for 8 years now)

3.  They  trace their self portrait onto a blank paper – line only, no value.

4.  We analyze masks from a variety of cultures, talk about why cultures use masks, the “hiding” and the “revealing” of the true self and even spiritual or magical elements of many masks.  We talk about how we as humans also tend to “hide” some things and “reveal” others when we interact with each other.  Finally we talked about each student’s inner magic or what their spirit would look like if it was visible?  How would you draw your personal energy?  What colors would it be?  What texture?  Jagged lines or flowing?  Vertical or horizontal?

5.  Now students choose a palate of colored pencils and divide space on their “spirit portrait” into symmetrical areas.  Color, texture, hatching, stippling, color overlay… you can get as intensive as you like on this phase.

That’s it!  I feel like this explores nearly every one of our standards, and invites students to really stretch their thinking.

What do you think?

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