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Monday, February 6, 2017

Revolutionary Portraits


I wrote this post for another blog last year. But I just did this art project with my fifth graders this year and they came out so amazing that I thought I would share my post here at The Research Based Classroom too.

I'm sure your day is just as packed as mine is. There's so much to teach and so little time to teach. That's why anything that can be integrated just makes sense. I have to admit that integrating has actually been a little more difficult for me this year. Maybe integration in education is a higher level planning skill. Right now I am so focused on what I have to teach, that I'm not spending enough time on how I can teach it. But I was forced into thinking about this a little more this past week. Our district visual arts specialist was coming around to observe an integrated art lesson. As a grade level team we had already come up with some ideas for integrating the arts into our curriculum, but none of those ideas fit into what I'm teaching right now. So I started trying to find something that would. I'm pretty much on the road to rebellion in social studies and I just bought this really great book. I have been really excited about this book and it hit me while I thumbing through it the other day that we could do something with portraits and quotes from the Revolutionary War figures we were learning about.

Click on the book cover to go to Amazon.

Once I had decided on portraits for the art lesson, I went looking for some tutorials on drawing portraits. I was thinking that some face proportion help was what I needed, But then I found this portrait lesson on Deep Space Sparkle. I loved the way her student's Modigliani inspired portraits came out. So I decided to try oil pastel portraits of Revolutionary War heroes and heroines. I created a PowerPoint to help us get started. On the first page I put a handful of Modigliani portraits that we looked at together and started creating a list of characteristics of his work. Then we picked a hero or heroine from the Revolutionary War to draw. Everyone had a picture of the person they chose and we went to work. We drew with black oil pastels on black construction paper. After we finished coloring in everything, we went back and traced over all of the black lines once again to make everything stand out. I absolutely love how these came out.


Right now the pictures are all hanging in the hallway and my students have made name tags for each one. My next stop on this road to rebellion will be adding short biographies telling about the extraordinary things each of these heroes and heroines did during the war and maybe we will even add some quotes among the artwork. 

2017 Update: This year I had my students pick anyone they wanted to draw. I created a list of about 30 people from the revolution that they could choose from, but I didn't limit it to just them.  Then everyone was required to email a picture of their person to me. I put the pictures into a PowerPoint so that my students would have access to the pictures while they were drawing. You could also print out the pictures if you don't have a class set of devices. I also assigned them to research their person. They looked for information about their person before the Revolutionary War, during the war, and after the war. They then used their research to write a paragraph, which is hanging by their portrait. I liked this better than last year because it gave us a chance to learn about more people.


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