Tag Archives: self portrait

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.


Cats as a Hat or Chat-peau



I love to do yearly self portraits with students. I used to do the same self-portrait year after year with my students. I have found that it is much more fun to do them with a twist.

This lesson was created for my 1/2 combo class. It is based on a french cartoon I saw years ago that was a person wearing a “chat-peau”-a pun on the french word chat meaning cat combined with chapeau meaning hat. (Les chats que de la chapeaux.)


Students first drew a self portrait. We talked about facial features and proportion. They looked at images of cats. I showed them pictures of napping cats as well as cat breeds. We used oil pastel. We discussed blending and how to layer colors.

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Hats full of Life



I have been doing this lesson a very long time. I probably saw something similar somewhere and have just made it my own.

In this lesson, students drew a giant top hat shape in marker then they add their eyes and hair. They fill in the hat with images of their favorite things. When complete, they painted with watercolor.

I typically brainstorm a list on the board with the students. images to include would be things like family, sports, food, vacations, favorite foods, etc. 

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