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TeachNet NYC  |  Lesson Plans  |  Teachnet

A Self-Portrait Collage                                  


Project URL:  http://teachersnetwork.org/teachnet-lab/IS24/selfportraitcollage.html 

This wonderful “beginning of the year” interdisciplinary project may be used as the cover of student portfolios.


Academic Objectives:

To engage in a self-reflective creation, i.e. the collage. [art, guidance]

To transpose the artwork to prose. [literacy]


Art & Technology Skills Targeted:

To learn how to create an artistic collage using both words and pictures.

To develop word processing skills by utilizing the size, style and font menus to depict words artistically and meaningfully.


Student Aim: To create a collage self-portrait.



Write on the board: “A picture is worth a thousand words.”  Discuss the meaning of this famous saying.   Ask: How much do you know about these artists by looking at their self-portraits?  Discuss.  Elicit: Not very much about their lives or personalities, etc. Distribute the attached “word collage.”  Ask students to describe the person who designed it.  How many would like to be friends with this person? Why.  How might we successfully create a self-portrait so that others can really get to know us?




1. Display self-portraits of several artists/photographers.  How are these pictures similar?   Discuss use of a camera’s timer to allow the photographer to enter the picture.

Demonstrate use of word processor to rotating groups.

Teacher advises as students search pictures and prepare words to help describe themselves holistically. They should be advised to include hobbies, favorites, personality trait, and other symbols self-specific.

When students finish their cutting, gather all materials and demonstrate collage techniques--successful use of color and space, shape variations and effect dramatized by layout .  Pictures of non-self portrait related collages should be hung around the room for students to model and/or glean ideas from.

Final presentation collages upon completion - hang on wall for all to see.


Tips for teachers:


A. It is recommended that the teacher work interdisciplinarily with the Language Arts teacher to produce self-portraits and autobiographical pieces in writing workshop. 

B. The collages and compositions might also be published in a Hyperstudio program to introduce members of the class.


Pat Shea-Bischoff is a teacher at I.S. 24 in Staten Island, New York.  Pat is also the International Reading Association Coordinator for New York State and former President of the New York State Reading Association.

Grade level: 7

Subject Area: Language Arts

e-mail: patsb@aol.com 

What do you think of my project?  I'd really like to hear your opinion - 
Click here
for a very brief survey.


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