Self Portraits with Calvera Masks


I have a combo class of grade 4 and grade 5 students that is just always amazing. Their classroom teacher has taught a combo class for several years. She creates such a great community in her classroom that it makes it easy to teach art to her students. The students are well behaved, polite, flexible and go with the flow.

Most of these students have been in my art classes since preschool or kindergarten so without a lot of directions, they drew a self portrait in oil pastel. I do self portrait almost every year with every grade level. Because I upload all of their art to Artsonia, we can see their progression as an artist.

We looked at some slides about Dia de los Muertos and sugar skulls and they used those as their inspiration for their calavera mask. We have a lot of celebrations in our area and many students attend and paint their faces.

Once they were complete, we put brads in the top so the mask could be spun out of the way or removed completely.

I also did a felt calavera project this week with my 5th graders.  Hopefully that lesson will be in San Diego Family Magazine in November so the directions and my samples will be there.

The best part of this, one of the students brought in a ceramic sugar skull that she had at home. She shared stories of her family’s Dia de los Muertos traditions and I gave her a small Altoids tin so she could create a small nicho similar to the ones I did with fourth grade here. I love when they share things like that with me and want to do more with a project.

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