Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Self Portrait Class - Middle School Lesson

This is a repeated lesson but I changed it up a bit, so I thought I'd share it with you guys. It went really, really well. I did it with my after school program with my middle school class.

First, we started with my Who is it? PowerPoint game that I used at my elementary school - but it's a great way to warm up this class. I gave them each some crayons and scrap paper and encouraged them to draw. They really enjoyed the guessing and drawing element especially.

Next, we did my Self Portraits PPT that I updated a bit. The first few slides show famous artists and their own self portraits. Some artists the kids may know. The slides after use some new vocabulary for them to think about for the lesson and later drawing activity. Then there are multiple slides with creative self portraits. I found these online via Google image search. All you do is show these creative portraits and discuss. What do you think? What do they like? What are their dreams?

There aren't any wrong answers, it's just getting them to look at the portraits and make sentence. Now, in the final slides I show MY OWN personal portrait and I explain it, you can delete these slides... and replace them with your own drawing OR draw your own as a class and use the sample creative portraits as a guide. Basically, they must draw themselves , their face , using symbols and illustrations that represent themselves.

Here's mine:

Some things you can gather...

  • I'm a teacher (black board)
  • I like to travel (airplane)
  • New Zealand outline in one eye, Canadian flag on other eyelid... my nationalities.
  • My first name is written in Japanese and my last name in Korean - I've lived in both countries.
etc, etc... It is a great idea to do a demo like I did as this can show them a good example of what you want to see as well as give them a demonstration of how to present their portraits to the class in the sharing portion of the class, which will come later.

here's a few of my student's portraits that we're great:

Above, my student wants to travel to London, New York, etc... she is christian, she plays the violin... etc.

Student above, she plays piano, likes art, is from Korea, wants to be a doctor, plays badminton... etc.

I hope this lesson works for you, it's not an original idea of mine, as you can see from the many samples I got online it's a typical activity to help students with self expression and identity discussion and I think perfect for any ESL lesson! 

Happy teaching!


  1. I like your post & I will always be coming frequently to read more of your post. Thank you very much for your post once more.
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  2. Thank you for sharing your experiences teaching in Korea!