Patriot Portraits


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A tri-fold project done by a student is where I got the idea for this lesson. In the hallway of our school is a tri-fold board with the word “patriot” on it. I see it every day as I leave the staff room.

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For this lesson, students drew a self-portrait in chalk pastel as if they were an early American patriot or colonist.


Students in grade 5 learned about John Copley and Charles Peale both portrait artist during our country’s early years. The students looked at portraits by these artists as well as pictures of colonial clothing, hats and wigs.


We talked about the basics of facial proportion, eye shape, drawing hair, etc. Many of them have done self portraits with me in the past so it was review. For those who have not had me for art, I spent time as I could with them individually.


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