NWMS Collaborative Portraits

Here is one of my FAVORITE projects to do with students!  6th grade students created these fantastic collaborative portraits.

Here is the gist of the lesson…

Day 1:

Students are introduced to the concepts of ratio and proportion.  We discuss what those words mean in other classes and how they can be used in art.  From there, I give each student a 1″ by 1″ square with lines on one side and a number on the other (the number is so I can keep track of where the squares go when we display the work).  I do not tell the students what they are creating, but ask them to transfer the lines from the small square onto the larger one using ratio and proportion.  Students work with pencil first, and after having their pencil lines checked by me, they go over their lines with Sharpie or black crayon.

Day 2:

I pass the squares back to students and allow a bit of time for students to complete any last minute details or make some minor changes. From there, I call students up by number and we begin to assemble the image.  Keep in mind… students still don’t know what they are creating!  During this time there are many guesses as to who or what they have created but in the end, classes are always impressed with the results.  I typically end the class by telling the students a bit more about the artist in the portrait they created and show them some of the artist’s work.

This is a great lesson to build community in a classroom and an awesome way to introduce students to a variety of different topics. You can connect this to “gridded drawing” techniques, portraiture, and it even makes some cross-curricular connections with Math (especially in 6th and 7th grade!).


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