Friday, 25 April 2014

High School ESL Self Portrait Conversation Lesson

This is a fun lesson about analysing self portraits that all my students enjoyed. First you will teach them some vocabulary related to self portraits then the students will have to draw a self portrait that represents themselves. The downside is that a fair amount of time is spent drawing a self portrait of themselves, but you could either ask them to do it as homework or set a specific time limit for drawing the picture.

Lesson aim.
To learn vocabulary related to art.
To be able to talk about paintings.


Activity One
Introduce the lesson vocab and explain how an artists self portrait is not just a picture but a way of representing themselves to the world. Show the three self portraits and ask the students to think about why the artist chose to represent themselves in that way. Show the example so they know what to aim for. As it is quite a hard activity I accepted answers as simple as 'he is smiling so he has a happy life', although some students got the hang of it quickly and where able to produce more complex answers. One class I had really struggled with this so we just had a group discussion about the self portraits.

Activity Two
The students should now think about how they want to represent themselves and draw a self portrait showing this. They should then write a description about why they chose to represent themselves like this. Tell them to use the techniques we discussed and tell them it is ok to keep things simple (for example draw things they like in the background'. Some of the best ideas my students had were: a blurry background with a clear face to represent the stress they felt in their lives, a student who drew themselves as a mnet music award to show that they wanted to be a star and a student who drew themselves using graphs to show that they wanted to become a mathematician.  .

Activity Three
Stick all the pictures on the walls around the classroom, the students should then guess who drew each picture.

Activity Four
If you have time the students can then analyse each others paintings. Ask each student to choose their favourite self portrait and write a paragraph discussing how they think the artist wanted to represent themselves. The students can then see how similar their description is to the artist's own description.

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