ALL ABOUT ME – Balance, Symbolism, Movement

Students use marker and coloured pencils to create a silhouette filled with symbols representing themselves.

Required Time

70 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 4 to Grade 9

Subject

Language Arts
Mathematics
Visual Arts

Vocabulary

balance biography colourful movement silhouette space

Materials

Black Fine Line Marker Pencil Black Construction Paper 30 cm X 45 cm (12” x 18”) Glue Sticks Coloured Pencils

Steps

ALL ABOUT ME – Balance, Symbolism, Movement - Step One

Step One

  1. Brainstorm 10-15 points about yourself.
ALL ABOUT ME – Balance, Symbolism, Movement - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Trace a silhouette of your profile on Crayola Marker and Watercolour paper. 
  2. Use an overhead projector (if one is available) to cast a shadow of your profile.
  3. Work with a partner to trace each other's profile.
ALL ABOUT ME – Balance, Symbolism, Movement - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Fill your silhouette with drawings that represent the ideas on your brainstorming list.
  2. Each picture is a symbol of something that is important to you.
  3. Use a pencil to do your drawings.
  4. As you draw the objects think about balance and space.
  5. Make sure the images lead your eye through the silhouette.
ALL ABOUT ME – Balance, Symbolism, Movement - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Use a black fine tip marker to outline all the drawings. 
  2. Colour the drawings with coloured pencils.
ALL ABOUT ME – Balance, Symbolism, Movement - Step Five

Step Five

  1. Colour in all the white, negative space with one or a variety of colours. 
ALL ABOUT ME – Balance, Symbolism, Movement - Step Six

Step Six

  1. Cut out the silhouette and glue it onto a piece of black construction paper. 

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  1. Create a symbolic self-portrait using markers and coloured pencils;
  2. Use contrast to create emphasis;
  3. Use balance and space to move the viewer's eye through the composition;
  4. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity; and
  5. Support their ideas with evidence found in the works.

Extensions

  1. Introduce or review the genre and purpose of biography. Then have students research a variety of biographies on the Internet, for example,
    - Terry Fox
    - Wayne Gretzky
    ​- Roberta Bondar
  2. Have students write a biography of someone they admire.

Prepare

  1. Prior to this lesson introduce the idea of symbolism and how certain shapes may have some universal meanings, for example,
    - Heart – love, togetherness, charity, compassion
    - Circle – eternity, it has no beginning or end, wholeness, perfection, heaven or sky
    - Rainbow – hope, peace, unity of all life, coming together of all people, bridge to heaven
    - Spiral – creation, growth, immortality, inner power
    - Star – gods and goddesses, hope, military rank and honour, goodness
    - Sun – masculine in some cultures (Asian), feminine in others (First Nations), power, divine, health
    - Beehive (Bees) - hard work, wisdom, obedience, working for pleasure
    - Butterfly – fire, joy, long life, transformation, summer
    - Palette – art, painter
    - Key – wealth, freedom, knowledge
    - Square – earth, stability, honesty, goodness
  2. Discuss sports team logos and the school symbols. 
  3. Gather and make available books about symbolism, for example, The Memory String, by Eve Bunting; The Wretched Stone, by Chris Van Allsburg; The Other Side, by Jacqueline Woodson; Those Shoes, by Maribeth Boelts; The Name Jar, by Yangsook Choi.

Introduction

  1. Read a picture book about identity such as The Name Jar and discuss the things that make each person special and unique.
  2. Introduce the challenge.

Activities

The Challenge

  1. Create a symbolic self-portrait using markers and coloured pencils.
  2. Use contrast to create emphasis.
  3. Use balance and space to move the viewer's eye through the composition.
  4. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.
  5. Support your ideas with evidence found in the works.

The Process

  1. Make sure everyone understands the challenge.
  2. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
  3. Demonstrate how to trace a silhouette using an overhead projector.
  4. Have each student pair up and trace one another using the overhead projector.
  5. Observe students as they work. 
  6. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.

Sharing

  1. Once all the drawings are complete display them for a group discussion. Ask students to:
    Look closely at the drawings.
    - Choose one and guess who it represents. 
    - What do you see that makes you say that?
  2. Once a student has guessed the name of the person who created the silhouette and discussed it, ask the student who made the drawing to speak about his/her work.
  3. During the discussion include references to:
    symbolism – What do the images tell us about the person?
    - movement – How does the placement of objects move the viewer's eye through the design? 
    - balance – How does the placement of objects balance the design?

Assessment

  1. Observe students as they work – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting
  2. Observe students as they discuss the art works – active listening, insightful contributions, supporting ideas with evidence found in the artwork and from personal experience.
  3. Use a checklist to track progress. (Downloads - Silhouette_tracking.pdf)
  4. Have students use the self-assessment form to evaluate their work. (Downloads - Silhouette_self-assessment.pdf)