Self-Portraits on a Box in Grade 3

As many of you know, I love starting off the school year with a few lessons exploring and creating self-portraits. It’s a great way to re-connect with students, get to know new ones and teach or review face proportions.

I wanted to share with you a lesson I did with my grade 3 students three years ago. Being the queen of recycling, I saved some packaging boxes that reminded me of pizza boxes. If you can’t get your hands on some just start eating a lot of pizza (!!) or better still, tell your students to save some pizza boxes that are relatively clean :) then you are set to go. These pizza boxes will become a sturdy frame for the self-portraits.

I present to you: Self-Portraits on a Box…

The stand up mirrors are so handy and great!

Practice makes perfect :)

Review face proportions, have your students practice drawing their face using a stand-up mirror  and do a final drawing on a piece of paper no bigger than the surface size of your box.

I had my students leave their self-portraits in pencil and use markers for the clothing. If you do this project with older kids, try having your students paint their portraits with watercolors. The effect is quite nice and soft and older students can control the watercolor better. The pizza box should have contrasting colors and designs so the self-portraits stand out. Another thing my students did was glue pieces of recycled cardboard to the back of the self-portraits and glue these onto the finished boxes to create a 3D effect!

My students wrote a bio of themselves and glued these inside the decorated boxes. Instead of a bio why not have your students write poems, goals for the year, hopes and dreams, a story about their holidays, etc. Go crazy people and take advantage of that back to school high everyone is on now.

What I love about this project is that you can display the self-portraits anywhere! I placed these around the room for open house. When my parents came to visit the art room, I challenged them to find and recognize their child by their self-portrait drawing. These were a hit!

For more ideas for self-portrait lessons read this post I wrote last year. Still want more ideas? Check out my best selling PDF e-books I have made for you with loads of ideas. For only 5 $ each it will save you lots of planning time! You can find them here , above on the lesson plan tab or on the side bar —>.

Have fun!

PS: Did you know Art Lessons for Kids has a Facebook page and you can follow my adventures on Twitter (@Ms_Alejandra)? Click on over!

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One thought on “Self-Portraits on a Box in Grade 3

  1. I love your posts. I used your Chagall day dreaming idea (mixing salt with water downed paint and I also added glitter) in a 4th grade Meet the Masters class and the kids loved it. One girl said it was the best project she had ever done. Thanks!

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