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The Art of Me



  • Arts & Humanities
    -Visual Arts


  • 3-5
  • 6-8
  • 9-12


Brief Description

Students create a work of art that expresses the most important things they want others to know about them.


Students will

  • learn about symbols.
  • reflect on the important things in their lives.
  • choose symbols to represent some of the things that are most important to them.
  • follow directions to create their works of art.
  • think critically, and speak positively, about their classmates' art.


positive, negative, symbol, self-esteem, back to school, art

Materials Needed

  • white drawing paper trimmed to exactly 8- x 10-inches (one sheet per student)
  • rulers
  • crayons, markers

Lesson Plan

In this lesson, students create a unique work of art that illustrates a handful of facets of their personality.

You might begin the lesson by sharing with students some of the things that are important to you (for example, teaching, reading, your dog, your garden).

Then give students about five minutes to think about and list the 10 things that are most important to them.

Next, discuss symbols that might be used to represent those important things. As an example, ask students to suggest symbols that would be appropriate for the things that are important to you. For example, a symbol for your love of teaching might be an apple, a blackboard, and chalk; a symbol for your love of reading might be a book or a library card; a symbol for your dog might be a bone or a leash; a symbol for your garden might be a rose or a watering can.

Challenge students to think of symbols that might represent the things on their lists. Give them about 10 minutes to write next to each item an appropriate symbol or two.

Provide students with a sheet of white drawing paper trimmed to a precise measurement of 8 x 10 inches. Have them write their names in block or bubble letters in the center of the page; the name should fill about one-fourth of the page. Around their names, have students draw symbols representing at least five of the important items on their lists; the symbols should be large enough to fill up the space. Tell students they are not to color in their symbols yet. Demonstrate by roughing out your own page as they watch; leaving very little white space on the page.

You will need to demonstrate the next step to younger students. Have them use their rulers to measure all four sides of the paper. Tell them to put a small mark every two inches. Then have them draw lines between the parallel marks on opposite sides of the paper. The end result should be a grid of squares—similar to a checkerboard—with four rows of boxes along the 8-inch side of the paper and five rows along the 10-inch side, for a total of 20 squares.

Finally, have students color their illustrations starting with the first square. In that square, they will color their symbols (the "positive" areas on their paper); but in the second square going across and down, they will color only the negative area (the areas outside the symbols). In the end, an alternating pattern of colored negative and positive areas should appear. Demonstrate that by coloring several adjacent squares on your own paper.

Display students' completed works of art for a very colorful and interesting classroom or hallway decoration.

Extension Activity
Give students an opportunity to share their completed art and to use it to introduce themselves and their interests to their peers. Have others tell what they especially like about each work of art.


Did students choose appropriate/good symbols to represent the most important things about themselves? Did they follow directions? They will be successful in this assignment if they accomplished both those goals.

Lesson Plan Source

Education World

Submitted By

Gary Hopkins