Teachers Network
Translate Translate English to Chinese Translate English to French
  Translate English to German Translate English to Italian Translate English to Japan
  Translate English to Korean Russian Translate English to Spanish
Lesson Plan Search
Our Lesson Plans
TeachNet Curriculum Units
Classroom Specials
Popular Teacher Designed Activities
TeachNet NYC Directory of Lesson Plans TeachNet NYC Dirctory of Lesson Plans

Teachers Network Leadership Institute
How-To Articles
Videos About Teaching
Effective Teachers Website
Lesson Plans
TeachNet Curriculum Units
Classroom Specials
Teacher Research
For NYC Teachers
For New Teachers

TeachNet Grant:
Lesson Plans
TeachNet Grant Winners
TeachNet Grant Winners
Adaptor Grant Winners
TeachNet Grant Winners
Adaptor Grant Winners
TeachNet Grant Winners
Adaptor Grant Winners
Other Grant Winners
Math and Science Learning
Impact II
Grant Resources
Grant How-To's
Free Resources for Teachers
Our Mission
   Press Releases
   Silver Reel
   2002 Educational Publishers Award



Frida Kahlo: A Look in the Mirror
(The Art of Self-Portraiture)
View the Project: Frida Kahlo: A Look in the Mirror (The Art of Self-Portraiture)

How it works:

A Look In The Mirror is a unit that allows the students to express themselves freely while encouraging them to really put some thought into their work. Although it is primarily a visual arts themed unit it develops a lot of skills, social and academic, that transfer to other curricular areas, and are just good "plain old common sense, daily life" skills, such as the Internet safety skills that can be applied almost to anything.

In this unit the students learn about a famous Mexican female artist and her style of painting. They learn what a self-portrait is by making one of themselves, and learn to look at art by criticizing their own work after analyzing it.

One of the most exciting things about this unit is the creation of an online mini museum in the form of a web site. The students feeling of achievement is very intense when they see that they can create web sites on their own, and that they can be experts in different aspects of web creation, such as the preparation of graphics by photographing the artwork, then editing and renaming the files.

Popular with the students during this unit is the use of the chatroom for communicating their knowledge and ideas.


Each lesson has a rubric for scoring the work.

All children will gain different skills and concepts from this unit. The best assessment is teacher observation. Some of the work from this unit can go into portfolios.


LA: fluency, vocabulary development, comprehension, writing.

Visual arts: Respond to works of art. Use art vocabulary to express observations. Apply art processes and skills. Mix and apply tempera paints. Analyze the role of visual arts in cultures. Identify successful and less successful qualities of their works of art and describe what might be done to improve them

Software or Materials Used:

Computer, Internet Connection, E-mail capabilities (optional), digital camera, scanner, Microsoft Office, Netscape Composer or other Web-authoring software.


Frida Kahlo, self-portraits, art

The Students: 

The students that participated in this unit were 22 third graders, mostly second and third generation Hispanics (México - no other countries represented) and four philipino. From 2 to 5 are advanced students (one identified as a GATE [Gifted And Talented Education] student, the others referred only), 2 resource students, 5 students with SSTs (Student Study Team). Half the students are bussed in from other neighborhoods.

For the lessons in this unit the students were group as a whole class or worked with individually (one-on-one). For some of the Internet activities they were in pair or small groups (3-5 students).

One third of my class was very adept at using the computer and the Internet. The rest of the class had some experience with computes and were not afraid to dive right in with the exception of two timid students that needed a peer "expert" to encourage them along.


Overall Value:

This unit can be very introspective, relaxing and fun. The students get to communicate with others through telecommunications and this can be very rewarding and exciting.

The major goals of this unit are:


  • to expose the students to the many uses of the Internet and encourage the use of "Netiquette" for safety and manners
  • to expose the students to other technologies such as scanners and/or digital photography
  • to give the students practice in using tools appropriately (Technology)
  • to teach the students how to create a virtual museum using web-authoring software


Academic areas:

  • to provide the students with practice reading and writing in different genres, for different purposes
  • to help the students learn grade appropriate visual art skills
  • to give the students opportunities to make choices and judgments
  • to encourage students to share their ideas orally and in written form to give the students practice in using tools appropriately (Art)


Subject Area: Language Arts and Social Studies, Fine Arts                                  

 Starting Grade Level: 3

 Ending Grade Level: 8 (with modification)

Tips for the Teacher:

  • Check out the websites before you need them because they are constantly changing.
  • Create a hot list with the sites for the students to go to.
  • Teach students to be "experts" in the different technologies, so that they can relieve the teacher from having to help all students individually

Jessica N. Rivera has been teaching in Santa Barbara County for The Santa Maria-Bonita School District since 1989. Her experience includes teaching kindergarten through third grade.

She earned her first teaching degree in México where she taught for a year before moving to the US. Later she earned an A.A. degree in Bilingual Cross-Cultural Studies at Ventura college, a B.A. in Art Studio at UCSB, a Bilingual Cross-Cultural Multiple Subject credential with emphasis in Spanish at UCSB, and most recently a master's degree in Educational Technology at Pepperdine University.

School: Ida Redmond Taylor Elementary




For Questions or Technical Support... Please Contact:


Journey Back to the Great Before