October 15, 2015
By Wendy Watts

Lesson plan

Romare Bearden Self Portraits

(3 ratings )
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Students will be able to identify symbolism within an art piece.

(10 minutes)
  • Explain to students that one's personal identity is built upon layers of life experiences and different heritages.
  • Let students know that Romare Bearden expressed himself through collages.
  • Tell students that creating the cohesiveness of one's life can be done through the arrangement of shapes through repetition, contrast, and balance.
  • Tell students that a CollageIs a piece of art made by sticking various different materials such as photographs, pieces of paper, and fabric onto the same backing.
(20 minutes)
  • Display and discuss some of Romare Bearden's pictures. Ask students what they see and what they think these images might mean.
  • Explain to the class that they will be doing investigations into themselves. Tell students that they will need to cut out or draw pictures that they can identify with.
  • Demonstrate how students can cut out an oval shape for the head, a rectangle for the neck, and a semicircle for the shoulders using different colored construction paper. Arrange these shapes on a heavier stock paper.
  • Cut out a picture from a magazine that you identify with. Place this picture within the colored construction paper body. Explain to students why you placed the object where you did. For example, you could place the rose where an eye would to say that you see things through rose-colored glasses.
  • Add more images, explaining what they mean as you go.
  • Tell students to start thinking about their objects, as they will be evaluated on a written summary they create about their picture.
(10 minutes)
  • Ask students to start looking through magazines to help them think about what pictures they may use.
  • Have students volunteer to share a couple of their chosen pictures to help struggling students understand the task.
(30 minutes)
  • Have students start to cut out pictures and shapes to create their self portrait.
  • Circulate around the classroom to assist students and ask questions as needed.
  • Enrichment:Have advanced students write a paragraph about their image instead of just a short explanation. These students could also do research about Bearden and tie it to the images used in his artwork.
  • Support:Struggling students may work in groups or have help finding pictures to represent themselves. These students could also be given more literal pictures to use, such as a soccer ball if the student likes sports or a pencil if the student likes to draw.
(10 minutes)
  • Check the art work for an understanding of the concept of unity in the composition.
  • Check the written work for relationships between the images and the ideas of the student.
(10 minutes)
  • Have students share their self portraits and give a short explanation of what photos they chose and why.
  • Display the self portraits in your room or in the hallway.

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