Earlier in their homeroom classes, the 5th graders addressed the central idea that “conflict affects lives” by looking at how each student manages situations of conflict and interpersonal problems. And so in art class, we were taking this opportunity to create self-portraits that express each person’s understanding or belief about this theme.
Students chose two of three possible approaches — drawing, painting, collage — to communicating their particular belief or understanding about peace and conflict resolution. The students were also required to use text (words or sentences) in addition to imagery in their picture. Early on, students were instructed in ways of observing themselves in mirrors and depicting their faces by drawing, although the amount and type of drawing in this project is entirely up to each student (some chose to represent themselves realistically, others in an abstract manner, and others as a cartoon).
After completing their artworks, the students reflected on their ideas, their process, and their finished self-portraits, addressing the following prompts:
- What are you communicating about peace and/or conflict in your drawing?
- What are your symbols? What do they mean?
- What did you learn by doing this project?
- What could you have done better? What would you do differently if you could?