The fifth graders in room 109 are reading and exploring the novel Esperanza Rising. Students are concentrating on the big idea of Change and how this concept is portrayed in the life of the main character, Esperanza. As they are reading the novel, the students are also being asked to connect this concept change to their own lives.
For one of the first assignments of the integrated arts work, the fifth graders wrote bio-poems in the classroom. These poems consist of 10 lines that express personal factors used to label themselves or describe their identity. After writing these works, added a small self-portrait to accompany the poem.
The picture above is Jeremiah’s bio poem written in Ms. Terry’s class. The background and mini self-portrait were done in the art room. The poems were a basis for the beginning of the fifth grader’s self-portraiture. Over the course of several art sessions, Mrs. Skylas and Ms. T taught the students how to draw self-portraits. Students used mirrors to help them view themselves and they also had paper guides that showed the correct placement of certain facial features such as eyes, ears, nose and mouth and where the hairline would begin on the human head.
The bio poems were the driving force behind the idea of incorporating the literal imagery of the poems into the visual imagery on the frame of the students self-portraits. Ms. T. presented the work of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo as a reference for the students to see how a well-known artist used symbolic imagery in her own self-portraiture.
Once students completed their self-portraits, they referenced their bio poems for the visual imagery that would surround their frame. They first drew sketched in their journals.