Sunday, March 2, 2014

Kindergarten Self Portraits

Tis the season for Self Portraits?  It just so happens that almost every class is/will be starting on a self portrait project.  In my personal work I enjoy creating portraits and I find it fun to teach students to make their own.  I will have to say I love the way the kindergarten self portraits turn out. They are so fun and funny and it amazes me how some of them actually look like the students and their character starts to show through.  I did the same lesson last year with a few changes.  Click here to see those changes.

In kindergarten I give them an oval face shape to trace otherwise all of the drawings end up teeny tiny.  On the first day of the lesson we trace the face shape and draw all of the features on the face, hair, and clothing.  We finish the first day by tracing with sharpie.

On the second day students first colored with crayon the eyes, mouth, hair, eyebrows, and tshirt. Then we paint the skin color using the Crayola Multicultural paints.  This is really the most difficult part, choosing the paint color.  I have a chart with the skin colors correlated with numbers.  I like the students to think about the paints as numbers rather than colors.  It's very interesting to see the students struggle to pick out their "number." We talk about how I might not have the same number as my neighbor and that's okay because we are all special and different.  I try to help the students pick their number if they are having a difficult time doing so, but I always have students that pick the number they like the "best" or what they think they should be.  It's an interesting eye opener to see the awareness students have at such a young age. 
 I'd love to hear ways you go about discussing skin color when dealing with portraits  especially with the younger students.

To finish the backgrounds I give each table a "mystery color" and they fill in the rest of the white spaces.

I always love the results, they certainly make me smile.


  1. I love these! You can learn so much about how students view themselves with self portraits.
    During summer school with a third grade class, I did portrait of their dads for father's day, and they turned out so precious.( It was a great opportunity to discuss how skin color makes us different and unique. I like your idea of using numbered colors instead of names. I think this will help alleviate their preconceived ideas of their skin color, and maybe get a more realistic outcome.

  2. I really enjoyed viewing the self portraits!! The kids did a wonderful job!
    I'd love to see your skin color chart, and was wondering if you might have a picture of it?