SELF-PORTRAIT – Seven Grandfather Teachings

Students create a self-portrait  based on the students' understanding and life experiences with one of the 7 Grandfather teachings.

Required Time

120 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 3 to Grade 8

Subject

Language Arts
Visual Arts
First Nations, Metis, Inuit

Vocabulary

contrast cool colours emphasis self-portrait shape space warm colours

Materials

Crayola Oil Pastels - 16 Colours Crayola Marker & Watercolour Paper - 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm (9" x 12") Crayola Fine Line Markers Pencils Erasers

Shop Crayola Products

Steps

SELF-PORTRAIT – Seven Grandfather Teachings - Step One

Step One

  1. Make a mind map.
  2. Begin with the 7 Grandfather teachings in the centre of your mind map.
  3. Brainstorm the Grandfather teachings using words, and drawings of the animals connected to each of the teachings.
  4. Reflect on personal life experiences that are connected to and exemplify the Grandfather teachings.
  5. Choose one life experience and use words/images to describe it.
    - What did you say?
    - How did you feel?
    - What did you do?
  6. Reflect on how your life is connected to the Grandfather teaching you chose.
  7. Share your reflections with a partner.
SELF-PORTRAIT – Seven Grandfather Teachings - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Begin your self-portrait by drawing a large oval about the size of your head on drawing paper.
    - lightly draw a vertical line dividing the oval in half 
    - then draw a horizontal line dividing the oval into 4 equal quarters

 

SELF-PORTRAIT – Seven Grandfather Teachings - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Draw the eyes on the horizontal line.
  2. Use the eye as a unit of measurement, imagining the length of 5 eyes fitting across the face.
    - begin the eye by drawing an almond shape, then a small black pupil inside, and a circular iris surrounding the pupil inside the eye
    - the line forming the top of the eye is echoed by another line which creates an eyelid
    - leave a space that is the length of an eye, and draw the second eye
    - the eyebrows form a frame around the eye and echo the line of the eyelid above the eyes

 

SELF-PORTRAIT – Seven Grandfather Teachings - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Lightly draw a small horizontal line halfway between the eyes and the chin.
  2. This line crosses the vertical line marking the location for the nose.
  3. Draw a second horizontal line about halfway between the nose and the chin for the mouth.
  4. Create the nose by drawing a triangle shape with a ball at the end.
  5. The nostrils are made by drawing 2 brackets, one on each side of the nose.
  6. Keep your pencil lines light.
SELF-PORTRAIT – Seven Grandfather Teachings - Step Five

Step Five

  1. Draw the mouth on the horizontal line between the nose and the chin.
  2. Begin the mouth by drawing a bow-shaped line where the lips meet.
  3. Next draw 2 small circles below the line, and 3 small circles above the line.
  4. Lightly outline the outer edges of the circles forming the top and bottom lips. 
SELF-PORTRAIT – Seven Grandfather Teachings - Step Six

Step Six

  1. Draw the top of the ear at the same height as the eyebrow.
  2. Draw the bottom of the ear at the same height as the bottom of the nose.
  3. Draw the neck from the ears down.
SELF-PORTRAIT – Seven Grandfather Teachings - Step Seven

Step Seven

  1. Choose a variety of cool colours to draw the background of your self portrait.
  2. Bring some of your cool colours into your face to integrate your self portrait with your background.
SELF-PORTRAIT – Seven Grandfather Teachings - Step Eight

Step Eight

  1. Cut a strip of drawing paper that is the same width as your self-portrait.
  2. Write about your life experience connected to the Grandfather teaching you chose.
  3. Use markers that are similar colours to the oil pastels to write with.
  4. Make sure your writing clearly reflects your life experience, and connects to the Grandfather teaching you chose in a meaningful way.
  5. Add drawings connected to the Grandfather teaching.
  6. Glue the strip of paper to the bottom of your self portrait.
SELF-PORTRAIT – Seven Grandfather Teachings - Step Nine

Step Nine

  1. Add an animal image to your background that is connected to the Grandfather teaching you chose.
  2. Make sure the colour you use to draw the animal shapes contrast with the background colours.
  3. Stand back from your artwork and view it with fresh eyes.
  4. Does your self-portrait reflect who you are?
  5. Decide whether you need to add more colour or detail to connect your artwork to yourself.
  6. Remember warm colours will come forward, and cooler colours will recede.

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • follow steps to draw the human face;
  • connect their personal life experiences to one of the 7 Grandfather teachings;
  • communicate one of the 7 Grandfather teachings through writing and drawing;
  • demonstrate an understanding of space using warm and cool colours;
  • draw a self-portrait using contrasting colours, and emphasizing one of the 7 Grandfather teachings.

 

Extensions

Have students:

  • create a second self-portrait using a different Grandfather teaching and a variety of paints;
  • share their self-portraits and life stories with an audience;
  • work in small groups to create role plays of the life stories exemplifying the 7 Grandfather teachings that students have shared.

Prepare

  1. Prior to this lesson download images from the internet, or find images in books or magazines of animals connected to the 7 Grandfather teachings. For example,
    Bear
    Eagle
    Beaver
    Buffalo
    Turtle
  2. Download images from the internet, or find images in books or magazines of Arthur Shilling's portraits. The Ojibway Dream, by Arthur Shilling, 1999, is a beautiful book containing portrait paintings created by the artist.
  3. View the Shilling Video.
  4. Download the following pdf and read about the Seven Sacred Teachings, Niizhwaaswi gagiikwewin, by David Bouchard & Dr. Joseph Martin, paintings by Kristy Cameron, 
    - This pdf will give you background knowledge about the 7 Grandfather teachings from the perspective of the writers. The paintings and writings about the 'Seven Sacred Teachings' can be shared with the students. Make sure students understand who wrote the teachings and where they are from. First Nations Peoples from different communities will have different understandings and perspectives on the 7 Grandfather teachings.
  5. Download, Seven Grandfather Teachings, by Rabbit and Bear Paws,
    - The Seven Grandfather Teachings, by Rabbit and Bear Paws can be shared and reflected on daily (one teaching each day) with the students.

Introduction

  1. Introduce students to the artist, Arthur Shilling, from Rama First Nation.
    - Have students look at a variety of Arthur Shilling's paintings, focusing on his self-portraits.
    - Explore his use of colour, especially paintings where he has used warm colours on faces and cooler colours in the background.
  2. Review the 7 Grandfather teachings and the meaning of each human quality.
  3. Have a class discussion about how the 7 Grandfather teachings are connected to life experiences.
    - Ask students to share an example from their own life in which they have made connections to one of the Grandfather teachings.

Activities

The Challenge

  1. Choose one of the 7 Grandfather teachings that connects to a personal life experience and write about it.
  2. Follow the steps involved in drawing the human face to draw a self-portrait.
  3. Draw with oil pastels using warm colours on your face, and cooler colours in the background.
  4. Use contrasting colours to bring out your facial features.
  5. Use the element of line to draw the image of an animal connected to the Grandfather teaching your self-portrait exemplifies.
  6. Combine the drawing of your face with the writing of your life experience to create a mixed media artwork.

The Process

  1. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson.
  2. Ask students to brainstorm the 7 Grandfather teachings connecting one or more teaching to an experience they have had in their lives.
  3. Discuss the meaning of self-portrait.
  4. Explain to the students that they will be creating a self-portrait (a drawing of their face).
  5. Make sure everyone understands the challenge.
  6. Establish success criteria with your students, for example,
    I know I am successful when I have:
    - created a mind map to brainstorm ideas
    - written about my life experience that exemplifies a Grandfather teaching
    - followed steps to draw the human face
    - created a self-portrait that exemplifies one of the 7 Grandfather teachings
    - used warm and cool colours to express my feelings
    - used line to draw an animal connected to my Grandfather teaching
    - created a mixed media artwork
    - kept the paper in good condition
  7. Observe students as they work.
  8. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.

Sharing

  1. Once all the artworks are complete ask students to bring their artworks into a large circle. Invite each student to share his/her self portrait.
  2. During the circle discussion include references to warm and cool colours, contrast, emphasis, and space.
  3. Share life stories connected to the 7 Grandfather teachings.

Assessment

  1. Observe students as they work – exploring, experimenting, adding detail, thoughtful focus.
  2. Listen to and observe students as they discuss the artworks – attentive listening, insightful contributions.
  3. Use a checklist to track progress. (Downloads - Portrait_tracking.pdf)
  4. Have students reflect on their own artworks in their sketchbooks. 
    Ask students:
    - What worked well in your artwork? Why                                             
    - What would you change or do differently next time?                          
    - What does the Grandfather teaching you chose mean to you?
  5. Have students use the self-assessment form to evaluate their work. (Downloads - Portrait_self-assessment.pdf)