Thursday, January 26, 2012

Wear your best smile; it's school picture day!

The inspiration for this fun lesson came directly from a series of posts by Mr. E. I used different materials, but otherwise did not deviate much from his lesson idea.

My 3rd graders had done portraits of each other in 1st grade, so were familiar with the concept of portraits. Last year my 3rd graders did self-portraits with mirrors, but I didn't have enough mirrors for this year's 3rd grades and frankly, they lack the attention span. So I did a different portrait lesson.

Just like Mr. E, we began this year's portrait lesson by looking at the Mona Lisa. My students were fascinated with her and with the life of Leonardo da Vinci. We discussed how formal portraits are posed, and we then talked about school picture day, and how mom makes you dress nicely and comb your hair! The photographer insists that everyone should smile. We discussed how we were creating school photos for students from another school - a school of aliens from other planets! It was so funny, in the space of 40 minutes to segue from Leonardo to silly aliens.

We used black Sharpies and construction paper crayons. Everyone used a second sheet of construction paper to make a frame for their portrait. Here are some samples of the student work.

The artists for these two funky aliens are twin boys, but their aliens are nothing alike.

These aliens put on their best dress-up shirts.

The girl aliens all combed their hair nicely.

The aliens all tried to smile, even if they were having a bad day.

But it's not easy to smile for pictures when you have 2 heads!

Folding your hands is hard when you have so many of them!

This alien looks straight out of the Toy Story movies.

And then there's always one kid who pushes the boundaries of the assignment. I'm not too happy about the message on his alien's shirt. Would mom really have let him go to school dressed like this on Picture Day?

And here's the whole batch of them all at once on 2 bulletin boards:

At the suggestion of one of the classroom teachers, there's a couple of pieces left to show you, hopefully tomorrow when they have been completed. Each 3rd grade class is creating a "class photo", with all the students in a group "photo" including their teacher. Nice idea from a supportive teacher.