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Art & Writing Projects from WritingFix: "I Come From..." poems and Self-Portraits

A Writing and Art Project from WritingFix
Writing Project: I Come From... Poems Art Project: Self-Portraits

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The Art Lesson:

This writing and art project was authored by Northern Nevada teacher Sandra Young. This page contains the lesson plan for the writing portion of this lesson. Click here to view the accompanying writing lesson plan.

Here is what the final student product might look like:

(First-grader Joanna shows off his self-portrait.)

Sandra's Lesson Overview:

This art project provides the student with an opportunity to examine self, discover proportions, and identify warm and cool color groups.

Lesson Materials:

Art Lesson Instructions:


  1. Begin art project by discussing warm (red, yellow, orange), and cool (blue, purple, green) color families. Samples of just the tissue paper background might enhance discussion.

  2. Model creating background on oak tag. Choose a warm palette or cool palette of colors. Cut tissue strips into squares. Paint a portion of paper with white glue/water solution. Place colored tissue squares on glue solution overlapping the colors. Cover tissue with glue solution making certain all surfaces are moist. Cover entire paper with tissue squares. Let project dry then press to flatten. Trim edges to desired size.

  3. Proceed to the portrait. It is wise to have a practice session. Begin by first observing head shapes by looking into hand mirrors. Conclude that heads resemble eggs. Model and have students draw the shape in the middle of their white construction paper (make sure the head shape is not too small). Here are visual step by step instructions for steps 3-11 for your overhead projector or document camera.

  4. With very light pencil pressure, have students draw a dotted line dividing the head in half vertically and horizontally. Next, divide the lower quadrant in half again using dotted lines. (These lines will be erased later.)

  5. Eyes are located and drawn on first horizontal division line (frown above the line, smile under the line) Add eyelid, iris, and eyebrows.

  6. Have students touch their eyes and move straight to the side of their heads. They will find their ears. Follow first horizontal line out on portrait and draw the ears (forward C and backward C).

  7. The nose will be positioned along the center vertical line to the second horizontal line. (To lines will indicate side of nose with flares at the end.)

  8. Touch the small division line below nose to upper lip. Note that a small “v” is formed. Draw upper lip using small “v” a starting point. Add a fuller lower lip.

  9. Draw the neck discussing proper size to support head. Add shoulders coming out from the neck. Add collar line for shirt/blouse.

  10. Erase the pencil line indicating the top of the head. This will help the children when they color hair on the portrait. Do not forget to erase all dividing lines.

  11. Students select crayons the color of their hair. Study hair, location, and how it grows. Use color strokes that indicate direction of hair growth. Color eyebrows with the same color.

  12. Select skin color matching as closely as possible. Add darker coloring to cheeks and lips.

  13. Color iris of eye leaving rest of eye white.

  14. Color shirt/blouse staying in the cool or warm color family.

  15. Carefully cut out portrait and glue onto tissue paper background. Teacher assistance may be needed for younger children.

Some Teaching "Hints" from this Lesson's Author:

  • When choosing tissue paper colors avoid black and other dark intense colors.

  • When drawing portrait make sure student leaves room at top, bottom and sides so that all parts can be drawn.

  • Press portraits after gluing to background.


Revised and Edited Student Samples:

We're Seeking Additional Student Samples:

WritingFix Safely Publishes Students from Around the World! In 2008, we first began accepting students samples from teachers anywhere who use this lesson. Hundreds of new published students now go up at our site annually!

If you adapt this page's lesson and want to post samples, we have set up a posting page for you to independently share up to three of your samples. Click to post; you must already be a member of the blog/ning in order to post.


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