Sunday, November 16, 2014


The Art of Ed is a wonderful website for teachers. They have articles, lesson plans, online classes and  winter and summer online conferences. This past summer a Blick representative was part of the conference and did a lesson on "selfies". This required those transparent sheets we all used with our overheads. Anyway, those being obsolete, I have boxes of the stuff from teachers that no longer needed them. PERFECT!!! Getting really excited about this, I started taking all these selfies, of myself (I know redundant). Went to some really great museums in Washington DC over the summer. Took a picture of myself learning to navigate the bus system along with more interesting backgrounds.

Had it in my head to share these photos with my students, but, then came across this poster (in the closet) of Henri Rousseau's Self Portrait with Palette.

And that just worked out so much better! After all today's selfies are yesterday's self portraits. The painting is a treasure trove of information to learn from, especially after having attended The Summer Teacher Institute with the National Gallery of Art. Where I learned about  French art and culture and the changes in the art world due to the impressionists. In fact, as I started to really look at this painting with my students, I noticed the sun in the upper left hand corner. And a little light went on! Check out the sun in Claude Monet's Impression, Sunrise. Wow! Talk about artists inspiring other artists. I did a little research and sure enough Rousseau would copy things he liked from other artists.
In Rousseau's self portrait there are many things that give a sense of when and where this was painted and some clues about the artist. I am starting to get SO good at all this art history stuff!!

Soooo in doing this lesson with my students first we explored what was happening in the painting. "What can we learn from looking at this?" "What do you see?" And so on.  I also had a small photo of Impression, Sunrise that I shared with them. Then I played the video for them, which can be found on Blick's website or here (providing I have figured out how to link)  I had students take selfies with the iPads (from the grant). I had the photos developed when Walgreen's was having a sale. Students were also encouraged to use the available technology to research where they would like to put them self.

And I believe they did a super job!!

I did this with with my 4th and 5th grade students. And I know they really enjoyed this!
Have you tried a different way of doing self portraits? Do you have your students do them every year? Or with a certain grade level?

Thanks for reading!

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