Self Portrait Lesson Plan for Elementary School

Instructor: Kristen Goode

Kristen has been an educator for 25+ years - as a classroom teacher, a school administrator, and a university instructor. She holds a doctorate in Education Leadership.

Self portraits are a unique way for artists of any age to express themselves. In this lesson plan, students will learn about self portraits and practice creating a self portrait of their own.

Learning Objectives

By the conclusion of this lesson, students will:

  • Define self portrait
  • Create a self portrait


45 - 60 minutes (or one to two class periods, depending on age and grade)

Curriculum Standards


Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.


Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.


Analyze multiple accounts of the same event or topic, noting important similarities and differences in the point of view they represent.


Draw on information from multiple print or digital sources, demonstrating the ability to locate an answer to a question quickly or to solve a problem efficiently.


  • iPads, polaroid camera, or some method for allowing students to take a selfie picture
  • Drawing paper
  • Colored pencils
  • Writing paper
  • Pencils/pens
  • Examples of self portraits (by famous artists or even of other students, etc.)


  • Begin with a discussion about what a self portrait is:
    • A self portrait is a painting (or art of some other type of medium) that portrays a picture of the face of the artist creating it.
    • Most self portraits are done using paint, but other mediums can be used (pencil, crayon, chalk, etc.).
    • In some cases, artists use a mirror to reflect their image for creating a self portrait. In others, a picture might be used.
  • Show some examples of self portraits.
    • Talk about the features of each self portrait.
    • Discuss the expressions that are portrayed.
    • Talk about how each artist most likely created their self portrait.
      • Mediums used?
      • Do you think they used a mirror or a selfie picture?
      • Why do you think they chose to create a self portrait?
  • Finally, explain that for practice, students are going to get to create their own self portraits.

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