Treating Our Kids Like the Artists They Are!

Recently I wrote a post titled Self-Portraits on a Box in Grade 3. I always wonder after sharing my lessons and ideas here on Art lessons For Kids if anyone actually uses them, how did the lesson  turn out, did the students like it, any interesting twists on the lessons, etc.. One thing is to read the post but does anyone actually do the lesson?

My wondering ended last week when I received an email from one of my lovely readers called Enji with photos of the finished projects she did with her two kids Molly and Ethan. You cannot imagine my happiness because out of all the wonderful people who take their time to read my posts, I was actually connecting with one of them beyond the typical comment at the end of a post!!!

I constantly remind my parents to appreciate their children’s art work, show it off and frame it, just like they would any other important artist they admire. My son’s art work greets everyone that comes to our home along the walls leading to the living room. To me, he is as important as Van Gogh or Picasso. Our kids are artists in their own right and if we don’t nurture this from the beginning, they wither away like a flower with no water. I wonder how much talent goes un-noticed at home and even in the classrooms?

I wrote Enji asking if it was ok to publish the finished art work here on the blog and conduct a mini interview with these wonderful two little artists! Ethan, aged 4 and Molly, 9  gave the thumbs up  are are so excited to share their art work here with you today.

Ethan’s self-portrait, 4 years old

Molly, aged 9

Here is what they had to say…

1. What did you like most about this project?

Molly liked to do this project because it was new to her.

Ethan said he liked it because it was fun.

2. Were any parts challenging?

Molly said it was hard to draw hair and the background.

Ethan: Not challenging at all for him.

3. Why do you like art?

Molly said drawing is very entertaining.

Ethan said that he likes drawing because he can make his parents happy.

Thank you Molly and Ethan for trying out the self-portraits on a box project and for sharing what you did here with so many readers from all over the world. You are amazing artists and keep exploring and enjoying yourselves. You also have a really cool mom who loves to do art with you! Thank you Enji :)

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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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E-book Giveaway!

I have spent the last couple of weeks giving my e-books a much needed make-over!

I am giving one lucky reader the chance to win one e-book of their choice. You can see them on my side bar on the right —-> and you can read about each one here, here and here to help you decide which one you want!

To enter, you must Like my Facebook page first and then leave a comment at this Facebook link.

***Make sure you leave a comment at my Facebook e-book photo album to participate in the giveaway. I cannot include the comments you leave here on my blog at the giveaway over on the Facebook page.  Thanks! I will announce the e-book winner on April 4. Good luck! :)

Portraits and Self-Portraits

The Mini Me’s are all finished and soon will be displayed as one big Rainbow Mini Me Mural. I have to say that this has been a great lesson for my students because it challenged them at different levels: 1. Observe themselves and draw an accurate representation of who they see in a mirror, 2. Draw their self-portrait on a 5×5 piece of paper and 3. Color themselves with one color and create different shades of that color. What a great and fun way to make kids think out of the box and think like artists!

I was so impressed by everyone’s efforts especially the younger ones who felt so proud whenever they made a new shade. Sure the kids were all ‘limited’ by one color, after all they were doing their  part in the school wide mural, but were they really being limited?  I saw many many ‘colors’  being made as they each explored how to create shades. These type of art lessons are so important especially since we are living  in a world where kids don’t have to think too hard because everything is ready made and given to them so easily. Look around your art room for a minute. Tempera paint in every color, crayons, markers and pastels in every color and so on.  I am sure I could find a pack of blue pencils , for example that come in all the different  shades of blue! Isn’t it so much nicer to make your own and discover this is possible?

Anyway, the mini Me’s were a great attention grabber and excellent  introduction  into the wonderful world of portraits and self-portraits.  Now every grade will practice and develop their self-portrait skills with mirrors and will each have a final project to complete.  As we finish these up,  I will post them all here so you can see the amazing art work. Check out these self-portrait lesson ideas you can download here.

Challenge your students to think like artists!


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Mini Me Self-Portraits

Grade 3

    I love starting the year with self portrait lessons. It’s a great way to get to know your students, new and old. Sometime ago while searching for ideas on Google, I came across an image where there were … Continue reading

Fun with Self-Portraits II E-book Giveaway!

I love holidays because they give me a chance to do things! I have managed to put together some of the self-portrait lessons I have taught this year and compile them into a new e-book. To purchase a copy please click any of the images below.

One lucky reader will get one copy for free. To enter, leave a comment on this post by midnight next Thursday. Be sure to have a link to Art Lessons for Kids on your blog or website to be eligible. I will announce the winner next Friday. Good luck and Happy New Year! May 2010 be a year filled with many wonderful teaching moments.

Cover page of E-book

Sample page from 'Mosaic Self-Portraits' Lesson