Portrait of a Friend
Students get to know themselves and their classmates by filling in the blanks to create mini-biographies.
- Grades: PreK–K, 1–2
- Unit Plan:
Students will see themselves as individuals in a classroom community. They will share special characteristics about themselves with their classmates, and begin to understand the likenesses and differences in a classroom community.
- Complete a Mini Biography of themselves.
- Draw a portrait of a classmate based on their Mini Biographies.
- White construction paper for each student
- Sharpened pencils
- Sharpened colored pencils
- Thin black marker for each student group
- Yarn to represent a variety of different hair color
- Glue sticks
- Chart paper and markers for student responses
- Mini Biography Printable (PDF)
- Colored printer paper
Set Up and Prepare
- Depending on your classroom set up, make available a variety of crayons, pencils, colored pencils, glue, glue sticks, scissors, yarn, and a thin black marker for each group of students.
- Make one colored-paper copy of the Mini Biography for each student (printable displays 2 per page).
- Write the Mini Biography on a piece of chart paper for all to see or make a transparency for modeling purposes.
- If you wish to assign each student their own partner as opposed to letting them choose their own, do this ahead of time.
- Gather chart paper and markers for student responses.
Step 1: In a whole group setting, ask the students to recall some of the information they wrote about when completing their All About Me pages in Lesson One. Review the meaning of a biography -- a story about someone's life.
Step 2: Inform the students that today they will write a biography of themselves. They will later use the biographies to create a portrait of their partner. First, show the class the Mini Biography you created on chart paper or a transparency. Model how to complete it by filling in each response. Ask for possible responses from the class.
I am (your name).
I am ______ years old.
I am good at __________.
When I grow up, I want to be a(n) __________.
Step 3: Distribute a Mini Biography for each student to complete. Circulate the room for assistance.
Step 4: When students are finished, collect the Mini Biographies. Before the next day, glue the biographies to the bottom of each piece of white construction paper, lengthwise. The colored paper will stand out against the white construction paper. Students will draw their partner's portrait on the other sheet of construction paper when complete.
Step 5: Review the Mini Biographies with each student and show them how you have glued each onto a sheet of white construction paper. Share a few biographies with the students. Discuss how they can include some things in their portrait that represent what the biography says. Ask: "If your partner wrote that he is good at painting, what could you include in the portrait that shows just that?" Continue to review a few more examples.
Step 6: Tell students that today they will begin to draw a portrait or picture of their partner. Generate a discussion about how they might draw a portrait. You might suggest, "Look closely at your friend's face before you start to draw. Notice the shape of your partner's head, eyes, nose and mouth. Look closely at the color of your friend's hair and clothes. Make sure to use that color when drawing your portrait." Show them the variety of yarn they can use to make their partner's hair.
Step 7: Allow each student to choose a partner or assign one for each. Distribute the white construction paper with the partner's biography to the appropriate student. Let the pairs find comfortable places throughout the classroom to draw their portraits of each other. Instruct them to use their pencils first. Once they are happy with their sketch, then they can use their crayons to color in the portrait. Afterwards, instruct them to outline their portrait with a thin black marker.
Step 8: Once students have completed their portraits of their friends, they are now ready for the culminating activity described on the Unit Page.
Supporting All Learners
If students are having difficulty reading/writing, meet with them individually and complete their Mini-Biography as students dictate their responses.
Increase the difficulty of this lesson by brainstorming as a class possible interview questions to help them get to know each other better. Have each pair of students interview each other. Then, have each student incorporate the responses to the questions into the portrait they draw of their partner.
Students can complete a mini-biography for their parents/guardians and siblings.
- Complete Mini-Biography
- Complete a Portrait of a Friend
- Did the students understand how to draw a portrait?
- Which students stood out as accomplished artists?
- Did students notice the similarities and differences within the classroom community?
Teacher Observation: Observe how each student approaches drawing the portrait of their friend.
Written Outcome: Check the Mini-Biographies for understanding. Check the portraits to see if the students incorporated the responses of the Mini-Biographies into their portraits.