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Frida Kahlo: A Look in the Mirror
(The Art of Self-Portraiture):
Lesson One
Lesson 1
The Research
Lesson 2
Sharing The Knowledge
Lesson 4
Mini Museum


Lesson 1
The Research

Instructional Objectives
The students will:

  • access the Internet to acquire information
  • practice dictionary skills and expand their vocabulary
  • write a journal entry
  • practice taking notes and writing down their researched facts
  • examine examples of artwork and make personal judgments about them
  • make connections between historical people and themselves
Time Required
Two 45 min. to 1 hr. sessions approximately, depending on whether it is done in a computer lab or a classroom with limited computers and Internet access.

Advance Preparation
Have some kind of notebook to be used as an art journal to provide the students with. This can be a simple one made by stapling some paper together and putting a cover on it.

Materials/Resources Needed
The students need to have an art journal (see advance preparation).
Computer with Internet connection.

Self-portrait: a painting, drawing, etc. of oneself, done by oneself.


Day One:

  • Ask the students if they know what self-portrait means.
  • Let them guess if they don't know.
  • Have them write in a journal/notebook/paper what they think it means.
  • Have the students look up the word in a dictionary and write the correct definition. Discuss.
  • Tell the students that they are going to learn about a woman that is very famous for her self-portraits.
  • Go to http://teacher.scholastic.com/authorsandbooks/events/frida/ read the information and explore the site with the students. This site has information on who Frida Kahlo was, examples of some of her paintings, illustrations from the children's storybook being promoted by this site, and information about the author and the illustrator of the storybook (Frida, by Jonah Winter, illustrated by Ana Juan) *WARNING*This site might move so check before trying it with the students.
  • If you have this book or any other children's book about Frida Kahlo read it to the class. (see books listed in resources)
  • Have the students write their thoughts about the book in their journal/notebook/paper.
Day Two:
  • Tell the students that they are going to do some research on Frida Kalho. Give them a hot list of sites that are appropriate. Make a collections of books on Frida Kahlo available (please preview them first as many are not suitable for children. See list of books in resources).
  • Tell the students that they need to find five facts about Frida Kahlo, two things that they find interesting about her or her art, one thing that relates to them (a place that they have been, the same favorite color, a pet that they have, etc.), and their favorite self-portrait. I used a Word document, with a collection of Frida Kahlo's self-portraits, that I created to make it easier for the children to preview the self-portraits without encountering artwork that might be questionable for children.
  • Give the students time to do the research either in books (see resources) or on the Internet. Internet sites that could be used: Encarta http://encarta.msn.com/encnet/refpages/RefMedia.aspx?refid=461557161&artrefid=761579411&sec=-1&pn=1Fact Monster (for children) http://factmonster.com/ce6/people/A0826869.html                                                                             Virtual Museum-in Spanish, but safe and easy to navigate                                 http://biblio.udlap.mx/museo/frida.html
  • Have the students write this information in their journal/notebook/paper
  • Have the students share their information with the class and show their favorite self-portrait and tell why it is their favorite.


  • Find the meaning of self-portrait.
  • Listen to a Story about Frida Kahlo.
  • Research on the Internet and in books.
  • Write findings and share.
Research other artist who have done self-portraits (Van Gogh, Albreict Durer, etc.) (The book Just Like Me has self-portraits by fourteen contemporary artists and is written for children)
Read Jonah Winter's (Author of book called Frida) interview or his biography online.
Read about the illustrator Ana Juan online.

Interview your parents. Ask them if they know about Frida Kalho. Take notes. Share with your parents what you know.

Rubric for Journal (students can self-evaluate)
Does the Journal have the following:

Self-portrait "Definition  Guess"
yes       no
Dictionary Definition
yes       no
Five Facts About Frida Kalho
yes       no
Two Interesting Things
yes       no
One Thing That Relates to Student
yes       no
Name of Favorite Self-portrait by Frida
yes       no

Rubric for Sharing (students can self-evaluate)

Shared All Information 
yes       no
Was Clear
yes       no
Related to Self
yes       no
Showed Favorite Self-portrait
yes       no

The teacher can assign points to the items to record a grade.
           (10 points per item/10 items = 100% = A)

Illustrative Materials
Hot List of sites for the students to do their research.
Ideas for facts about Frida Kahlo.
Frida Kahlo's Self-Portraits Word Document.

Student Work Samples

Journal Pages


Jessica N. Rivera




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