Kindergarten students are busily exploring colours and shapes and more in their latest hands-on activity – self-portraits! Drawn at both the beginning and end of the year, the self-portraits help students tell a story about who they are and, by year’s end, who they’ve become.
With spelling, sketching, colouring, and classroom conversations about community, the activity is as diverse as the portraits themselves.
The project begins with a word jumble. Students receive envelopes filled with the letters they need to spell their names. After students organize the pieces, spell their names, and glue their tiles in a row, the pages are ready for the next step. Kindergarten teachers Ms. Courtney Higginson, Ms. Jennifer Maynes, and Ms. Tamara Warner share with students some things to think about and look for before they get started: they talk about the shapes of their smiles and faces, the colour of their eyes and hair, and the little things unique to each student. The classes eagerly share their ideas: glasses! noses! hairstyles! Excited and inspired, and supplied with mirrors and multiethnic crayons, students get to drawing.
“We are a family,” the Kindergarten teachers smile, “and just like at home, we hang up our family pictures around the classroom.”
The self-portrait activity is fun and teaches practical skills, but it also sets students up for the unit ahead. Hung up on the wall, these portraits make the Kindergarten classes feel like home; they establish the Kindergarten community and create a sense of belonging for every student. “We are a family,” the Kindergarten teachers smile, “and just like at home, we hang up our family pictures around the classroom.”