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Self Portraits: Multiple Drafts

School: Evergreen Community Charter School

City/State: Asheville, NC

Grade(s): K

Format(s): Visual arts

Subject(s): Visual Arts

Project Overview

This three-part series of self portraits was done by three kindergarten students from the Evergreen Charter School in Asheville, North Carolina, and show the evolution of both their drawing skills and their images of self.

With critique and feedback, students created self-portraits in September, October and then in December. The series is useful in documenting remarkable growth in four domains for each student – growth in self-image as an adjusted, calm member of a school community; growth in fine motor skills; growth in observation skills; and growth in drawing technique. While it is not possible to tease apart exactly which growth in which area contributed to each of the changes in image, the combined growth is strikingly documented.

Each student’s self-portraits change dramatically across time. For example, Sam’s drawings start with huge eyes, an undeveloped nose and crazy hair. In his second drawing, Sam pays more attention to facial details, beginning to add realistic features. In his final portrait, Sam includes an amazing level of detail, including eyebrows and eyelashes, carefully detailed hair, and, most impressively, not just teeth but a smile with missing teeth!

How This Project Can Be Useful

  • Shows the power of multiple drafts of the same assignment, and of critique
  • Shows the power of the same assignment at different points in the year, demonstrating growth
  • This particular series of images is so striking that students of different ages enjoy looking closely to notice and consider changes, and hypothesize about growth
  • A means for showing artistic progress as well as a window into how students view themselves
  • Self-portraits are particularly powerful, combining social/emotional self-image with fine motor skills with understanding of artistic concepts learned through critique and support; this suggests that a lot of classes might want to do this on a regular basis
  • Shows how important it is to keep track of skill development over time and that drawing is equally as important as writing
  • In these three examples one can see a progression toward control and accuracy
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